It’s that time of year, relief and hoorays mixed with a tinge of sadness, a huge serving of stress and anxiety and a side helping of “why did I leave the new shoe purchases so late – again”? The time of year when we think about the calm.
The Calm of the Holidays:
Summer holidays are great – a break from the norm. A break from:
- running around convincing your child that going to school is not optional,
- explaining to the kids that home schooling is not an option unless they want a mother who drinks – all day
- watching breakfast tv just because it has an onscreen clock
- searching for the missing school shoe
- promising yourself that tonight you will get everything ready for the morning
- kicking yourself because you didn’t do it last night, even though you had said you would,
- preparing three different breakfasts
- watching as your child decides to chew everything 100 times
- listening to your daughter narrate her morning in a faux-American accent (thank you YouTube)
- children deciding to tell you ten minutes before they leave that they have homework that needs completing
- watching your child practice reverse-burlesque. One leg in, pause, stare into space, one leg in, pause again and so on!
The Chaos of the Holidays:
While we think about how fortunate we are to not have the morning bedlam to compete with, we forget all the chaos that lack of structure and routine brings with it.
You forget that the lack of routine leaves our children scrambling to work out how the day should go.
You forget how families like to share their photos of their fab days out and holidays away.
You forget that you will see these at as you sit at home because your child’s anxiety levels are so high that any attempt to leave the house becomes a military operation.
You forget that siblings sometimes suffer and their social opportunities become limited.
You forget just how stressful the whole 6-7 week break can be.
The calm after the Chaos
As the kids start to return, Facebook fills with photos of smiling children in clean crisp new uniforms, mostly smiling – possibly under duress after threats from their parents. Social media demands a smiling photograph!
For those of us in the special needs minefield, the return to school brings itchy new jumpers, shoes which are just not comfortable, haircuts (God help me), new classroom, new teacher, new teaching assistant and the possibility of new taxi drivers with their new cars and their new escorts. Many new things. Many new issues.
So the chaos of the holidays ends with total chaos. The first morning makes you wish you still had one more week of the holidays to go. You even consider home schooling – briefly.
Calm after the Chaos
However, as I write this, I am sat in the garden. Alone. It’s peaceful. The sun is out.
I have had a lovely undisturbed phone chat with a friend and I’ve updated my to do list. I have spoken to someone at every school and they have assured me that all is good.
I miss the kids and I miss the fun but I am glad to be returning to a routine. As much as we have what appears to be a life of chaos, it is structured chaos and we have missed the structure.
Remind me next July when I start saying how much I am looking forward to the holidays to re-read this post.
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