So October half term is over at last. Two of the kids only went back to school today, after nearly two weeks off. And it’s been underwhelming.
I remember three years ago literally going out of my mind at being stuck at home during October half term. It seemed like the whole world was away apart from me – and I hated it! I’m not a jealous person generally, but for some reason I couldn’t bear being stuck at home. So the following year, we went to Rome, which was lovely.
And this year? We did nothing.
My kids were more than happy with that. And me? I surprised myself by being reasonably happy.
This is despite the fact that there was briefly some excitement waved in front of my face and then cruelly snatched away. I’m not sure what made my husband look up Disneyland Paris only the week before half term. But he discovered a reasonable deal on a room for four, which included meals. It’s seven years since we last went to Disneyland Paris and I’ve been wanting to go back ever since. Obviously we would have to leave my eldest behind, but he would hate it anyway.
But then we looked at the transport costs and they were as much as the accommodation (with the exception of driving and taking Le Shuttle). And then my younger son threw a spanner completely in the works by saying he didn’t want to go anyway. Yes, he would rather stay at home and spend the week sat in the corner of his room playing Fortnite than go to Disneyland Paris. It wouldn’t be my choice, or my daughter’s, but we have to respect that. A holiday with people who don’t want to be on holiday isn’t really a holiday at all.
So we stayed at home and I worked a lot. I’m not keen on working in the school holidays, but the nature of freelancing means I don’t really have any choice. If I take days off, someone else has to do that work. And maybe they will be considered more reliable than me or maybe they’re cheaper than me, and suddenly the work will never come back. I’ve had too many weeks with very little work this year to be able to just turn work away.
My daughter kept herself busy most days. She went out with my family one day and with various friends.
My younger son, as predicted, sat up the corner of his room and played Fortnite. He was in touch with his friends, but he didn’t see them. At least he would always go for a walk with me when I asked him, so he is neither a complete addict nor completely antisocial.
I kind of get where he is coming from really. Before he broke up from school, he had rugby matches three times in six days. He got a suspected broken nose in one of them and knocks to the head in the other two. He needed a break. And if a break means sitting playing Fortnite, so be it. He’s back into routine now.
And my eldest? He enjoyed the new-found freedom which comes with being able to drive. It has its advantages for me because rather than keep disrupting my work to drop my daughter off and pick her up again, my son will happily drive her places. He also nipped out to meet his friends too.
My husband booked just one day off work (we’ve discovered that he has only used a third of his leave allowance this year, and it runs out in two months) and he took the kids to Alton Towers. I like a day out with the family and we very rarely go out together, but I really don’t like Alton Towers. I thought about getting cold, standing around and sitting on damp benches and I realised they would be better off going without me. So they did. And I really enjoyed the peace of being at home on my own.
So half term might have been underwhelming, it might not have been the half term I would have chosen for us, I but I think it was the half term my kids needed.