Quite a statement I know. But this dreaded Easter break that most of us mums moan and groan about has caused me to rethink my half term parenting strategies in the future. You see, the kids have left school, it all begins with sugar fuelled fun, they are being allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast lunch and dinner and everybody is on one big high.
Then follows the come down, the arguments about how it isn’t Easter day anymore so no we can’t sprinkle chocolate flake on our cereal and run around the garden at 6am squealing when we find the hidden treasure and pissing the neighbours off royally. So you try to make the withdrawals a little easier by engaging in a couple of easter related activities over the week. Which confuses the poor little mites even more as big bad mummy is telling them Easter is very much over in our house, but this wonderful garden of happiness we’ve visited is growing golden lindt bunnies from every tree branch, so yay lets stuff our faces some more and inevitably spoil the nice afternoon by feeling horribly sick because we’ve overdosed on glucose yet again.
Then comes the fact the clocks have changed, and as wonderful as that one, one hour lie in was, we now have to somehow explain every single night why the sun hasn’t gone to bed yet, and spend every evening desperately trying to block out the streaming sunlight thats pouring in from every crack in the shitty “supposed to be blackout curtains”, until it’s dark enough to fool the little critters that it’s bedtime.
Where this massive rant is leading is that I have spent the first 5 days of the easter holidays desperately trying to entertain, appease and stimulate my children in hopes that they will cherish the holiday period and enjoy themselves. And I’m not entirely sure I’ve succeeded in that.
It got me thinking back to my school holidays as a child. Many, many days were quiet, and peaceful, mum carried about her normal cleaning the house like a madwoman routine, Dad was at work or tinkering in the garden. My brothers were locked away in their rooms, one playing Nirvana and smoking out of the skylight and the other making lego city masterpieces that covered his entire bedroom floor. And I would often be extremely bored. So bored that it forced me to use my imagination.
One of my favourite time killers was Radio Alice, I would get out my boombox, plug in the microphone, press record and play at the same time (coz thats what you had to do then for some odd reason) and ‘Hey Hey Hey listeners, thanks for tuning into Radio Alice, the one-stop entertainment station that will leave you begging for more” Cut to a warbled rendition of Boyzone’s latest single (sung by me) (badly). You get the picture. Thankfully you’ll never hear these tapes because cassette players are now a piece of history. But I had so much fun doing them, I would spend hours playing all kinds of imaginary games with my dolls and toys. I loved my own company, and I still do. I genuinely look back on those boring days at home, and the long quiet summer holidays with such fondness. I have wonderful memories. I want my children to have these too.
I want them to be bored, and discover their own imaginations. To get carried away in play. To be content with just being at home, doing their own thing.
Less sometimes, is more isn’t it.