A boring half-term

Traditionally, the autumn term is the longest of the lot. While half terms in the spring term can be as short as five weeks, in the autumn term they can be seven or even eight weeks. And that takes it toll.

With adjusting to life with a school run for the first time, not to mention the extra demands of a grammar school and having three kids at three different schools, by October I was feeling quite overwhelmed and exhausted. And most definitely ready for half-term. I was VERY pleased when I realised my younger two had two extra days at the start.

But, the problem is, we had nothing planned. The half-term we so desperately needed turned out to be a very boring one.

We’re not the sort of family that has days out every day. Or even every week. Days out are expensive and can be stressful, especially when you’re balancing the needs of a 9 year old and a 14 year old. Personally, I don’t believe in handing kids entertainment on a plate, day in, day out. They need to realise that life isn’t like that, that life is boring sometimes, that they need to make their own entertainment…

We just needed to relax at home and make the most of a few days without pressure. It was unfortunate that my son and I both had hospital appointments, plus he had an eye test and had to get a haircut and the kids had the dentist too. But that was also deliberate – because I don’t believe in taking my kids out of school unnecessarily. Sometimes we have to do these boring things.

But I really wished we were doing something more exciting and was starting to regret not organising something.

There have been a number of occasions in the past when we’ve had a short holiday in October half-term (although the last time was three years ago). What I wouldn’t have given for a holiday! Looking at social media was making me seriously jealous – it felt like the whole world was on holiday – Cornwall or the Caribbean, Devon or Disneyland, I would have been happy with any of them. But, having been to Center Parcs, Amsterdam and Padstow this year, that was never going to happen.

When my daughter summed up the first day of the holiday as ‘the most boring day on earth’ I knew it wasn’t going well. But could I make it any better?

Alton Towers, Half-term, 365

To be honest, not a lot better! We did have one day out – to Alton Towers (more on that another time), but the rest of the time was work, homework and the house. I had an article to write and couldn’t get hold of a contact I needed – that resulted in me spending three days stuck inside (and I don’t get paid for the hours I’m waiting, of course, only the hours I’m actually working on the article). Luckily, my parents took my daughter out, my eldest saw his friends and my younger son was happy in the house.

On the Wednesday, while my daughter was out with my parents, I took myself out for a walk and the world seemed like a better place. It was mild and sunny and the autumn leaves were beautiful.

We’d had a break from school and dance lessons and extra-curricular activities. Yes, it was pretty boring, but it was still a break and that’s what we desperately needed.

Leaves, autumn, 365

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I’m quite surprised you used the word bored…or maybe I’m not. Lots of parents use this week to do those normal things like dentists and eye tests. And then they have pj days, sitting around watching films and eating popcorn…they call it chilling or relaxing. And having read your blog now for a while, I’m pretty sure that those are words that don’t really fit into your family vocabulary much. Your family doesn’t seem very good at just “being” – it’s exhausting sometimes just reading your posts! Just an observation – families are all different and we all do what we feel is best for ours.

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    • Thanks very much. You’re right – we all do what’s right for us! With all the regular stuff we do, I couldn’t face lots of days out, but ‘chilling’ in PJs and eating popcorn actually fills me with horror! We need to be out in the fresh air and getting active to enjoy ourselves.

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  2. I often feel holidays can be a let down, but also think it is good for the boys to take it easy. There is some quote that says boredom is important to help the imagination. It is hard work and expensive doing loads all the time x

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    • Definitely! I think a balance is certainly needed, but this time we went too far with the boredom/ relaxation aspects. I won’t be making that mistake again! x

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  3. I must admit I was quite surprised at your lack of any real plans for half term. We will often have (what we call) relaxing days at home, where we do nothing but I especially need them. As an introvert and with medical issues I can’t go out too much. We got a good balance with half term this year, we spent the first half of it relaxing at home with a couple of trips to the park (including teaching Cheeky Chap to ride his bike) then it was full on for the end of it. Almost too full on as I am STILL tired! Absolutely agree with you re not providing kids with entertainment all of the time.

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    • To be honest, we don’t usually make many plans for school holidays, but will usually do something like go to the cinema. The kids are getting a bit old for the park, but I can sometimes persuade them! Somehow not even this basic, relaxing stuff happened!
      It’s understandable that you need to take it easy, but I’m glad you enjoyed the break.

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  4. I think when the whole of the social media world is on holiday, you look at your own plans and think ‘how boring’. I too was like that prior to breaking up, but then a day trip to Blackpool came out of the blue. It probably looked like we did alot during half term, but 3 days on the run we were in our pyjamas till 3pm…. much needed chill out time. At least you were productive and got some of the appointments out of the way. We had a spell of going away during the October half term, and I think I will book somewhere next year. Looking forward to reading about your day at Alton Towers xx

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    • Thanks very much. Good to hear that other people took it easy too. We needed the break for sure, but I think we had a bit too much of a break! Holiday next year! x

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  5. I wonder if we’ve lost the ability to unwind sometimes. We did nothing and reeeaaally needed it but some days I kept wondering if we should be doing something a bit more fun or productive. Now I look back, I’m glad we didn’t!

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    • You make a very good point! I think unwinding is definitely important, especially in your situation.

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  6. I’m glad you managed to see the positive in it eventually – more than I did! I’m still harping on about needing a holiday 😉 “The most boring day on earth” that did make me chuckle!

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    • Me too! To be honest, that wasn’t the worst day! By about Wednesday I’d realised the value of just having a break, but I’m still going to go on holiday next year!

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  7. Absolutely agree about the unnecessary pressure to keep kids entertained. Mine is still only young (just turned three) but is bandying the word ‘boring’ about already. But at the same time he is also at his happiest when we all just hanging out together as a family. The family is about to get bigger, though, so all activities will have to be buggy-friendly again soon.

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