Finley’s school holidays started last Friday and to both my joy and horror, this year he has two whole months at home to enjoy the Summer. Two months!! I am going to be around the bend come September the ninth, so don’t say I didn’t warn you…
In our house, the pace of life almost grounds to a halt during the holidays. There is no hurrying Finn at the best of times, but in the Summer he deeply resents being shuffled out of the door until he has fulfilled his chosen quota of lying in bed, eating breakfast at a snail’s pace and watching a wrestling match or six. Combined with his outrage when the tasks I have to do are deemed “boring” and my utter, overwhelming fear of him being bored, because frankly there is nothing on this planet more irritating than a bored child and what you have is an equation for spontaneous combustion of the bored child and bonkers Mummy kind.
The fact is that despite the need to entertain Finley to some degree, life at home still has to go on. I still have to cook, and clean and walk the dog. I need to work so we can afford to live. And truthfully? There are only so many child-orientated activities this woman can take. Oh heckity-pie, I’m a bad mother aren’t I??
And so between us, Finley and I have come up with the “one thing” deal. I have agreed to allow him to enjoy as much slow tea supping and WWE networking as he wishes, if he allows me to get on with writing and housewifing without regaling me non-stop with all the gory details of one wrestler trying to dis-member another. This then will be the pattern of our mornings. Then in the afternoons we will do our “one thing”: taking turns to choose the activity or task we want (him) or need (me) to do.
These activities aren’t necessarily mind-blowingly exciting: yesterday my “one thing” was a doctor’s appointment, and today Finley’s chosen activity is hanging out in Starbucks for an hour or two because this is a child with a rather irrational love for coffee shops. On Monday Finley’s thing was heading into Southport to spend some of his money on an X-box game, and tomorrow we have both got the pleasure of minding Clarry for the day so all bets are off while we entertain a two-year old!
In the coming weeks, our “one things” include visiting the Botanic gardens, play-dates at friends, going to the scooter park, shopping for a dress for a coming wedding, visiting a local manor house, dragging Alfie through a huuuuge muddy forest, making meatballs (Finn’s signature recipe!), going to a few car-boot sales, visiting the Science Museum, a few hospital appointments, watching various films at the cinema (if I can get him there: Finn is petrified of the cinema) and getting fish and chips on one of the Mondays in which a lovely, local chippy offers gluten-free fare…
None of these are big things. Certainly not costly things (thank heavens). But they are written down in our copy of the Housekeepers Summer Holiday Planner (click to download: it’s free!), and while not written in stone, they give us some framework to the weeks that stretch ahead, and put Finn’s mind at rest that his Mum won’t forever have her head stuck in her computer and mine at rest because I can be sure that there will be both opportunity to work without distraction and an answer to the question every child asks without fail on each and every day of the Summer holidays.
Roll on the good times…