Tomorrow something momentous will happen. It might feel like a pretty ordinary day, but it’s a real milestone, because it’s MY LAST EVER DAY OF ANNUAL LEAVE.
One of the hardest parts of being a working parent is finding childcare to cover the school holidays. I’m lucky that I only work three days a week and I have family nearby. It must be impossible for people who don’t. Yes, there are holiday clubs, but they’re usually much shorter hours than work and of course they cost money. Money which multiplied by three adds up to rather a lot.
And, actually, it’s not always about convenience and finding someone to look after the kids, it’s also about wanting to take a break at the same time as the kids, to relax and enjoy their company and do something other than taking them to ballet and Cubs and nagging them about homework.
Every school holidays it makes me sad when people say: “What are you doing tomorrow/ next week?” and I have to say: “I’m going to work”. I don’t want to go to work! I want to be with my kids. I want to laze around the house in pyjamas or go on days out, I don’t want to get up at 6 and leave the house before they have even surfaced.
February half-term is always a tough one. It’s the holiday where I realise those lovely extra weeks I took off over summer and that extra day or two at Christmas mean I have no annual leave left. When I put in for voluntary redundancy I had just one day’s leave left – to cover half-term plus the secondary school inset day beforehand and the primary school inset day afterwards. So my husband and parents are kindly covering all those days I can’t do.
I still don’t want to be at work in half-term, but this time it doesn’t seem so bad, because I know it’s the last time. Come Easter and May and summer, I won’t be juggling and worrying and running out of leave, I will be WITH MY KIDS.
I can’t wait.