Every summer, I get terrible guilt in the school holidays. I don’t do enough for my kids. Well, I don’t feel like I do. It feels like the rest of the world is out and about having a brilliant time. And we’re stuck at home.
The nature of freelance work means that I do have to work every day (apart from when I am actually away on holiday). Because if I don’t work, maybe my client will look for another freelancer to do the work tomorrow or next week or next month. I might only have an hour’s work in a day. I might not even have that. But I don’t know until the day itself. I have to keep the time free. So I don’t have the freedom to just take the day off to go out with my kids for the day.
Plus I’ve got teenagers. You try finding a day out that suits two or three teenagers. And try getting them all out of the house before lunch. Believe me, it’s a thankless task.
Yet still they will complain that they’re bored.
Over the summer holidays, we will normally have a full week away, plus a long weekend away. That sounds quite nice to me. But most of their friends seem to have two-week holidays. Often more than one two-week holiday.
So not only are my kids stuck at home bored, they have to suffer being bored in the knowledge that their friends are in Florida or Portugal or Sri Lanka. And you can guarantee that the only week their friends are actually at home will be the week that we’re away.
So my kids get bored during the summer holidays.
I drive them to see their friends when they are actually around. We try the occasional afternoon out – usually with just one or two of them. (Did I mention that, not only do they have very different tastes, but they also argue. A lot.) We might go to the cinema a couple of times during the holidays (again, probably just my daughter and I). I usually buy them a Subway or Greggs for lunch most weeks as a treat.
But they still get bored. Six weeks is a long time without any structure to your life. No school. No dance lessons. No Scouts. No athletics club.
But, hang on? Doesn’t this all sound rather familiar?
Yes, my kids have now survived three months of lcokdown. No school. No dance lessons. No Scouts. No athletics club. They haven’t seen their friends, been to the cinema or had lunch at Subway or Greggs.
And they’ve survived. More than survived. In two out of three cases, they have actually thrived. My younger two kids have loved lockdown. They have made their own entertainment and have spent a lot of time together. They haven’t missed their normal life.
And they realise now that they had nothing to be bored about in all those ‘boring’ summer holidays of the past. Because they actually had so much they could have done. So much that they can’t do now.
As my daughter said: ‘I’ll never be bored in the school holidays again’.