Wednesday, 21 July 2010

How to get the most out of the summer holidays

As the end of term nears, it's tomorrow for us, I am conscious that there is a long period of unstructured time coming up and I have a business to run! At times that seems rather daunting and I was rather taken with the superb idea given on this blog of writing a weekly planner so that the kids can see what we are doing. It will certainly help with my eldest's rather constant refrain of what are we doing today/ tomorrow or who are we seeing Mama? I have now been tagged by Sam Pearce over at Mum's the Boss to come up with my own holiday manifesto which gives me free rein to put my thoughts down on paper so to speak and make them real - thank you Sam. There may well be some reference to the fab top tips provided by Louisa on her blog which is a must read if you find yourself in the same predicament as us.

1. See this time as an opportunity
I am conscious that this holiday represents a turning point for our family. Come September my eldest will be in school which means no more holidays at off peak times. No seriously it has much larger ramifications. The friends that she has known since she was born live 30 minutes away so will not be going to the same school. Many of their Mums have or are in the process of going back to full-time work so holidays and weekends are going to be the only time we get to meet up. Our postnatal group is meeting next Tuesday for the first time since the rash of birthdays in April. Karie, a professional photographer, has come up with an under the sea theme and we have all responded in terms of what food we are bringing etc. It will be a blast. I have already sent out feelers to some of the others to make sure we have dates in the diary.

2. Catching up with people further afield
I have a university friend who has two girls just a little older than my two but the same 15 month gap who I only see in the summer so that makes this time special. We have agreed the week we will meet but not the date so must get on with that. We also have plans to catch up with my cousin who has two kids and a pool in her house and the bonus is that her Mum who lives in Oz will also be over. That is great because it is a mini break for me and the girls aa my cousin is definitely "the hostess with the mostest" and provides fab food and refuses any major help. A very close friend is also coming over from Zurich for a month and we hope to have at least a day with her and her family which will be brilliant as we only just saw them when we were over there on hols and our two eldest kids played really well together.

3. Mixing business and family life
We have a date to get together with a fellow coach and her son over the break and I am hoping that there will be one or more opportunities like that with people who I respect hugely on a work front and could enjoy hanging out with thus giving our relationship a new dimension. If you feel you fit into that category and I have not been in touch do drop me a line.

4. Enjoying the time we have together
I am very conscious of the need to enjoy this time and that to actualise this thought, my mantra needs to be just that. I don't think that is going to be difficult though because I am aware that we are coming to the end of a phase. Come September it is likely that I will have a contract which will mean I will be working three days a week for a long time. This means I am already feeling that every moment we have together is precious because there is less likely to be free time going forward and so I am less concerned about organising playdates as I want to hold onto this time.

5. Decluttering
We still have clothes that no longer fit either of the girls and I am sure there are loads of toys they have grown out of. I am definitely going to take some of the toys to flog it! at MAMA on Friday mornings as it will help clear the space. I am considering finding a professional ebay seller to sell some of the other stuff because I can never find the will to do it and whatever money I make, I know I will just be grateful for the space.

6. Days out
Having special treats is a key part of the summer holidays. We plan to spend a few days in North Norfolk and get in some beach action. We are lucky because it is my youngest's birthday in August so that will provide another focal point in the holiday period.

7. Having quiet time
Ensuring there are non-manic days or at least slots in the day so that I can talk to the eldest about school; practise her fine motor skill; and prepare them both for life with an au pair. Now that they are older it is easier to get out of the default mode that we must keep busy to save my sanity and their sanity.

8. Maintaining nap time
My 4 y/o still has a sleep most day as does my 2 y/o. This gives me and them time to regroup before we start again in the afternoon. It is vital to the smooth running of the day. I try to ensure that I either get my feet up with a book or still my mind so I can cope with the onslaught when it all starts again.

So I hope you have enjoyed this post and that it has inspired you to approach the holidays with a spring in your step ;-) It has certainly help me gain clarity on how I am gearing up for the forthcoming holidays. Do share your thoughts in a comment below so I know who has popped by.


  1. Hi love,
    I am very conscious that the holidays are looming (Friday for us), I usually work during my youngests naps and then have clients on an evening or if my husband is about to take him out for a couple of hours. During the holidays it is harder because nap time then becomes "quality time with my eldest" time, when we do craft activities etc which we can't do with an 18 month old about. That couple of hours is so precious to me from a work point of view, however it takes on a whole new wonder during the holidays because time with my daughter is so special. She's 6 and I'm increasingly aware that we're reaching "it's not cool to spend time with Mum" in our developmental stages! :) I have a few clients and one class booked over the holiday but as far as possible I have kept it free so I can have that quality time with the children, after all, isn't that the point of being a work from home Mum?

  2. Hello gorgeous Kate

    You put it so well. I am lucky in that I still get 2 days a week for work so can put it on the back burner the other days but you have given me an idea about how to spend the lunchtime nap. Make it me time for my 4 y/o and I which would be special and a first as well as good prep for school. Thanks for your invaluable contribution as ever ;-)

  3. You are very welcome sweetheart. I love my nap time with L, it's such a magical time; our fairy time, painting time, beads time etc which would be a logistical nightmare if I had D about too. I do love school holidays x