Monday, 11 October 2010

The nothing approach to school holidays

It doesn't matter how many children you have, when one is absent, life just seems so much easier. I always wished that I knew how comparatively easy life with one child was, before the next ones came along. I wish I had been able to 'go with the flow' a bit more then, because it is much harder to do now.

For me, managing three young children daily seems somehow managable. We go to the shops, to the park, on playdates, to play group, to music; you name it. Just like regular people. We have a routine and we manage life around it. We just get on with it. But when school holidays comes around, and three becomes four again, I suddenly become inert. My thoughts paralyse my actions.

Can I really be bothered making four lunches, filling four drink bottles, packing the necessary extra 'just in case' clothes, finding all the hats, putting on everyone's shoes, slapping on all the sunscreen and buckling up four car-seats, just to escape the house for a couple of hours? Can I? Really??

When I do make the effort, I am usually pleasantly surprised. It never goes as badly as I expected. In fact it is usually a lot of fun. The kids are relatively well behaved, they don't generally fight in company and it always puts a bit of a spring back into our steps. A rejuvenation of sorts.

Why is it then that I have these great fears? Why can't I make plans during the school holidays instead of holding back to 'see how we are all travelling'? I know it is because without plans we are free to do nothing. To nurture the introvert within. I do fancy a bit of nothing in amongst the chaos, but I can't help but think that I *ought* to be doing something.

There has been a whole lot of nothing since we returned from camping. A quick visit here. A quick shop there. A bit of Little Athletics. A fair bit of sleeping in and routine-free living. Some TV. And a whole lot of nothing.

As the alarm went off this morning and the great search for some school socks and a hat was on, my thoughts returned to the inertia that has kept things pretty low key around here. I promised myself there will be plans for the next lot of school holidays.

There's only so much nothing this Mum can be responsible for.


Maxabella said...

There's no "ought" about it. Doing nothing is probably your children's favourite thing of all. Allowing them the space to sort themselves out and get a game going all of their own is the best thing you can do for them. Easing off the routines, not rushing to be somewhere... all good stuff.

It's what families have always done. Do you think our folks were rushing us from one adventure to the other? When we did something "new" it was an occasion to celebrate and frankly that's the way it should be.

I think you're right on track and the kids are better for it.

Posie Patchwork said...

Oh yeah, i always had very positive thoughts taking my 4 anywhere, with a pep talk & had them excited, yippee, weekly grocery shopping with 4 under 5, let's go or we'll starve. Very rarely did it go pear shaped.
School holidays (now all 4 are in school) are a break for everyone to relax & unwind, no routine. I find mine are happy to be at home in jammies, yes!!
My tip for school children & mothers, as yes, we are responsible & judged for everything (packing hat, healthy lunch, matching socks) by laying out uniforms & packing as much as you can into their bags the night before. Yippee, after 9 months on my own, my husband is on leave for 3 months so i have a house husband brushing hair, making sandwiches, driving the 50km round trip to school, yahoo!! Plus i work from home most days, he he he, love Posie

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

I agree - school holidays should be 'jammie days' where you don't get changed out of your jammies all day. Where you sloth around recharging, ready for the return of school.

you seem to be raising some lovely children, so obviously you're doing something right x

x0xJ said...

Going out, doing exciting things out of the home is always fun, sure. But i find, at least for my littlies, that we need the days at home where they are free to do whatever they like. They can play with all these toys we've spent money on, and they can rest, and they can develop themselves in other area's.
So don't feel too guilty. It gives us time to recharge our batteries too.

Clea said...

You know what? As a teacher, I reckon kids should do as much of nothing as possible on their hollos. School is intense for kidlets, so they need time to recharge. Sleeping in and lack of routine sounds perfect to me!
PS: My photo collage? Made it in Picasa. Easy as.

toushka said...

even before kids I had to have at least one "at home doing nothing" day per weekend. So these days it's one day on, one day off kind of activity planning all week. I love my down time and I love watching Millar make his own fun.

Mama Cass said...

I hear you loud and clear. Zara has spent the last 4 weeks absent from any kind of outside stimulation. Today was her first day back at kindy and she is now knackered BUT, I relished just having Cleo to myself for a few hours :)

life in a pink fibro said...

I'm all for nothing in the school hols. Everyone gets a chance to recharge the batteries for another term. We do bits and pieces, nothing much. A bit of this, a bit of that. No 'ought' about it.

PartlySunny said...

See, now you're confusing me. Because I always thought that once you got past 3 kids, the work just all kind of ran together. So there goes that theory.

You know me. I can barely survive with the two. So as far as I'm concerned, anything you do over and above getting out of your jammies is freaking phenomenal.

Ellie Tat said...

For me, managing 2 children is much easier than just one of them. They play together and all I need to do is pull them apart from time to time when they get too rough. But if I add another 1 or two, I don't know, it might be a different story.

I don't do much planning, either, and when I make plans, they are not necessarily good ones. The other day I tried to take them to a children's festival, just to get there and find out it had finished the day before...

Kim said...

If I had four children I don't think I'd ever want to leave the house until they could all walk, dress and feed themselves! Nothing is my all-time favourite thing to do (not do?).

My sister has four children under 6 and I think she is just amazing! You might enjoy her blog, over here

I just popped in to say thanks for the lovely comment on Nadiah's blog, and now that I've had a look around I've bookmarked your blog as well.



Christie said...

I swear I could have written this EXACT post. The guilt, what we "ought" to be doing, the inner hermit crab in me, the effort going out requires, but the satisfaction of a successful outing...aaah I can relate to it all. Completely.
We got gastro this last school holidays so the decision was made for us...we stayed in!

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