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Back to School….happy? Sad? Nonplussed?

So the summer holidays are at an end.  What started out as a vast expanse of time, looming ahead of you with the promise of days upon days of juggling, has come to an abrupt end.

Every year it baffles me how 6 weeks can fly past at the speed of light, when you also fear it will last forever.

Here at Not Another Birthday, we’re working mums and share the highs and lows of this time of year with hundreds of thousands of fellow parents across the country.

We’re lucky to be super-close with kids of similar age who are growing up together, so we’ve spent days together in and out, and also a fair amount of ‘non-parenting’ with the kids all in one room while we juggle website admin, marketing and order processing.

As a child, I remember loving the school holidays for so many reasons.  Time to do a lot of nothing at home, time with my parents, lots of time with my grandparents while my mum and dad worked.  I have absolutely no memories of ever feeling disappointed by a lack of outings, money spent or crafting activities completed, so why on earth do I feel the massive pressure to do these things now that I’m a mum?

I’m pretty sure it’s down to social media and the bubble of pressure we place upon ourselves through the Instagram filter we immerse ourselves in every day.

My eldest son is 7 and is a happy, friendly, super active boy with a massive love of football.  Almost every evening in the holidays he has finished the day with “What are we doing tomorrow mum?” and every day without fail, it made my anxiety ping if I didn’t have a fully planned out schedule of fun-filled entertainment to tempt him with.

The reality is that I didn’t have that every day, far from it.  I split my time between entertaining him and his 10-month old brother, trying to keep the house in one piece, working as a freelance PR consultant, building our children’s gift business, spending some time with my husband and trying to get some sleep! 

Did he judge me for it?  No!  He enjoyed days and days on our beautiful beach, surrounded by friends doing the same, plentiful afternoons at the park, day trips in our wonderful county and further afield, but also plenty of the time on the sofa.  He definitely watched too much You Tube and definitely watched ‘Sing’ too many times.

This was the summer ‘holidays’. A time for him to do a bit of nothing, but also a time we’re supposed to enjoy, not pressure ourselves over every day. Amusing children for 6 weeks can cost a small fortune when it doesn’t need to. 

Every time he goes back to school after the 6-week break, I feel a mix of relief that I’ll get a bit of ‘me time’ back to crack on with work (although that’s definitely not as easy now the baby has arrived), mixed with utter sadness that he’s gone all day again.  

As the new term begins and so starts the influx of homework, letters from school, PE kit washing, pack lunch making, party invite receiving, children’s gifts researching and assembly practising,  I’ll look back over the summer holidays with a wry smile.  We’ve all survived, we’ve had a lot of fun, meltdowns have happened but were soon forgotten and a lot of bloody lovely memories were made. 

Summer 2018 – you’ve been a blast.  Now how many sleeps ‘til Christmas??