Five Truths About Being A Working Mum In The School Holidays

Five Truths About Being A Working Mum In The School Holidays

1. You thought the school run was bad? The school holidays run is even worse!

Just more of the same shizzle with holiday childcare instead of school, but with an extra dollop of confusion. In my attempts to avoid the guilt of sending my child to school (dressed up as holiday club) during the long summer break, I set up about eleven different childcare arrangements over the course of three weeks, including play-dates with assorted kind friends, a babysitter, going to work with daddy, and erm holiday club. Different start times and different locations means a different flavour of chaos every day.

2. The guilt is horrendous.

Being at work instead of making summer memories is a very special kind of guilt. It actually hurts. I think of my own summer holidays as a young child and I remember the long summer days out playing with friends. I hope that’s what my little boy remembers too, rather than sobbing that he doesn’t want to stay at holiday club.

3. The days off are not really days off at all.

A year ago I was lamenting the loss of our days at home together when he started school. I still do miss them. But back then, his nursery was open all year round except for a couple of weeks at Christmas, not just six weeks at a time here and there like school. This is a DISASTER for working parents. The school holidays are lovely if you’re a kid (or a teacher) but so bloody stressful if you’re a working mum! For me, it means three days at work courtesy of the ever-changing-childcare-merry-go-round, followed by two days at home refereeing both children. And possibly one or two others if you are returning the playdate swapsie favour from earlier on in the week.  If I can make it to the end of the holidays without having a breakdown I’m going to award myself a big bloody medal and a HUGE goblet of wine.

4. The magic never ends

You know that bit where Topsy and Tim run through the sprinkler and as the light makes the sprinkles twinkle they sing in their discordant voices “be best friends forever”? That’s what the school holidays are supposed to look like.  Not you dishing out Fab lollies while barking orders at the kids to stop climbing the cupboard doors/strangling each other/putting their heads up your skirt. The magic literally never fucking ends.

5. Surviving the school holidays will leave you needing a holiday.

So actually it’s a good job that we all have to take our holiday holiday during the school holiday. It gives us something to look forward to, something to hold onto during those days when we don’t know whether we’re coming or going. Imagine – the lie-ins, the lounging around, a dip in the pool, maybe a cocktail and a bit of light reading? Who am I kidding, I’ve got two kids, but still, I can’t bloody wait. Bring it on!

Alison McGarragh-Murphy

Alison McGarragh-Murphy writes and edits stuff for The Motherload, and is also a radio producer and broadcast journalist, a mum of two and a wife of one. Since becoming a mother she has (mostly) gladly swapped a busy social life of gigs, pubs, art galleries and museums for dancing in the kitchen, drinking on the sofa, finger painting and hanging out at the park. She talks incessantly about not having slept for five years. Follow Alison on Twitter @BertaFanta and on Facebook @ammblogs

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