Summer holiday madness sets in…

How, as a single parent, are you supposed to work, maintain your sanity AND look after children who have six-week long holidays?? SIX WEEKS! It’s just not natural.

This afternoon, after being a full-time mum since the end of July, I have spent a blissful five hours in the house on my own designing databases and writing marketing emails, while Bee and Belle have been out shopping with my mother. I am extremely grateful.

After just two weeks of being a ‘stay-at-home-in-the-holidays’ mum, I am already reaching the end of my tether. It’s like being on extended maternity leave all over again (what a stupid idea THAT was) – my neck and shoulders feel permanently tense, and my voice has become slightly high-pitched and hysterical. My patience is more frayed than my hall carpet, which is saying something, and my poor children are suffering I’m sure.

I’m just not cut out for it. It’s not their fault, I’m just the kind of mum who needs her children to go to school.

Yesterday I had rather an outburst.

It was ten to eleven and we were getting ready to leave the house at eleven for a swimming lesson. Belle couldn’t find her goggles. Term-time-mummy would probably have sighed and tutted a bit, but then helped her find them. Summer-holiday-mummy was not so considerate. Summer-holiday-mummy yelled something ridiculous and heavy with sarcasm about the importance of Taking Responsibility and what it means to Look For Things.

Even after Belle started to cry, summer-holiday-mummy was relentless.

“But I don’t know where they are Mummy,” she sobbed quietly.

“NO!” I shouted back. “Of course you don’t KNOW! That is what it means when something is LOST!”

“But I don’t know where to look…”

“Well that’s the whole point of LOOKING isn’t it?? You don’t know where they are, so you have to LOOK for them! If you knew WHERE to look they wouldn’t be LOST would they??”

It’s brilliant logic, but probably not really appropriate.

“Can’t I just borrow some at the pool?”

“Well of course you could BORROW some!! But that’s not the point is it?? The point is not LOSING them in the first place and developing your LOOKING skills.”

Hmmm… I think I may have lost it a bit there.

Needless to say we didn’t find them, despite my relenting and offering my superior looking skills. Belle stopped crying, we borrowed some at the pool, everything was fine. Not really one of my proudest parenting moments though.

Are all the other mums enjoying the holidays I wonder, basking in the glow from the cup-cake-laden aga, or are they all, like me, going quietly mad?



  1. 9 August, 2010 / 4:59 pm

    I am very sorry to hear that you and Belle had such a trying day. I hope that tomorrow is a better one.

  2. Secret Squirrel
    9 August, 2010 / 4:59 pm

    ha ha ha

    I am at work, I went for lunch in a fantastic pub with my colleague who drove us there in an open-top sports car across the Somerset countryside.

    I haven’t seen my children for TEN HOURS

    Am deffo working late

    n.b. I should point out that this came up on my work twitter feed and erm I’m not timesheeting this particular five minutes

    • 10 August, 2010 / 4:59 pm

      Thank you for your kind words of support.


  3. 9 August, 2010 / 5:00 pm

    As a seasoned pro all I can do is offer you the following tip, bring in some help. Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Gordons Gin tend to be the best help you can bring in.

    • 10 August, 2010 / 5:00 pm

      I have a friendly bottle of Gordons, but have run out of tonic, and slugging it out of the bottle seems a little undignified…

  4. Secret Squirrel
    9 August, 2010 / 5:01 pm

    Oh yes I mean sympathetic things like Brian said

    But basically being at home with children is completely unnatural, it would drive anyone bonkers

    You need to read this blogpost next June when you are planning things…

    • 10 August, 2010 / 5:00 pm

      Yes I should – remind me as next summer approaches…

  5. 9 August, 2010 / 5:08 pm

    Not so quietly mad, actually. And I AM a SAHM, so really I should know better. Was hanging out for the start of term in a rather pathetic way – only to get an e-mail last night informing me that due to extreme smog in Moscow school will be shut for an extra week. Bugger.

    • 10 August, 2010 / 5:01 pm

      An extra week?? Shocking, especially when you have yourself all excited about back to school. Bad luck :-(

  6. 9 August, 2010 / 6:38 pm

    It is times like that when I lock myself in the bathroom!

  7. maryfclark
    9 August, 2010 / 7:07 pm

    I told someone yesterday that I am now completely in touch w primitive animal urges to eat my young. I need the boys to go to school. They need school. We are all bored. They want to be part of their respective herds again; I want, very badly want, TO BE ALONE. YOu and the two Bs have my every sympathy.

    • 10 August, 2010 / 5:02 pm

      Lol, I like the ‘eat your young’ idea :-)

  8. 9 August, 2010 / 8:56 pm

    I don’t think you want to get me started-we have 8 weeks.

    • 10 August, 2010 / 5:02 pm

      Eight weeks?? That’s nearly two months! Whose crazy idea was that??

  9. Clare
    10 August, 2010 / 8:12 am

    You’re not alone. Here in Spain we are in week 6 of an 11 week summer holiday. A holiday so long, it guarantees bouts of unreasonable outbursts and regrettable parenting phrases you said you’d never say (mine the other day was ‘I don’t care who started it, I’m finishing it’). As I try writing this I’m barking spellings at my poor 6 year old daughter who just wants a little help (with every word) trying to write a diary. Hmm will try and be more reasonable – at least until her friend’s mum picks her up in 30 mins to go and play for the day. wahoo.

    “…developing your looking skills” – classic – I’m adding that to my repertoire.

    • 10 August, 2010 / 5:03 pm

      Ok, I thought six weeks was bad, then eight, but you have ELEVEN!! That is nearly three months!! How on earth is anyone supposed to work?? Bonkers.

  10. 10 August, 2010 / 8:27 am

    That is funny! You sound just like me….or rather I’m somewhat comforted that I am not alone..
    My son’s been away and must admit I’ve really missed him. Your initial question though, about how single mums do it.. no idea.. not a clue!

    • 10 August, 2010 / 5:03 pm

      The grass is always greener isn’t it? You can’t wait for them to leave then you miss them when they’re gone!

  11. 10 August, 2010 / 11:37 am

    OMG i am you and you are me. This totally describes a typical day in my life, a mum who needs her kids to go to school but has somehow found herself a SAHM and doesn’t kniow how it happened.
    I am so not cut out for it either.
    Got a job?!


    • 10 August, 2010 / 5:05 pm

      At least I have the end of the holidays to look forward to – I couldn’t be a full time SAHM. Although working at home isn’t much better – I crave an office! Maybe we could all club together and hire some offices so we could just pop in, drink coffee and wear nice shoes now and again?

  12. Your Sister
    10 August, 2010 / 2:09 pm

    I know I haven’t had quite as long at this whole mothering business but most of the time I think it is much more bearable than being in full time work. At least you are your own boss and don’t have the commute to deal with. Mind you, Finn has been napping for one and a half hours now and I’ve been sat eating doing some work on the computer so not too taxing…absolutely was not him shouting for me just now…no…definitely still asleep. Just turn the radio up a little I think…that’s better…definitely not shouting.

    It’s not all bad-got the zoo to look forward to….

    • 10 August, 2010 / 2:43 pm

      oh you might think you’re the boss, but you’re not. AT least when they outnumber you, they’re definitely the one’s calling the shots!

    • 10 August, 2010 / 5:07 pm

      But that’s just it – you’re NOT your own boss with children are you? You are totally defined by their routines and needs. Plus I actually quite like work really…

      I am very much looking forward to brunch and the zoo though!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.