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What do you do when you’re feeling low? What is your ‘happy pill’?

When my growls are in full flight, when they are soaring in stormy clouds and cannot be safely brought in to land, I ease them down with the following:

  1. 1 x  episode Gilmore Girls / ER / Seachange or film (make mine romantic comedy!)
  2. 1 x glass of wine
  3. 1-2 rows of Cadbury‘s finest (usually Snack)
  4. 1 x silent bath, perhaps with wine, but silence is a MUST!
  5. 1 x ridiculously processed packet of orange tasty chips (think Twisties or Cheezels)

And if that doesn’t work, I glue myself to the television until my entire body has relaxed and my smile returns.

We all have those growly days, at least I hope we do! It is now week 6 of school holidays and my baby grrrr is slowly growing into a full blown GROWL. It’s not that the kids are being particularly naughty, it’s just that the same stuff is still going on that has been happening for the last 5 weeks.

Let me enlighten you…

  • When you are out and about, even just doing the regular grocery shopping, you’ll find the holidaying child full of “Oh mum, I really want…” You roll your eyes and say a stern “no” through gritted teeth for the umpteenth time.
  • The holidaying child will want to watch a movie everyday (at least mine do). It is tempting to the overwrought mother to say “yes”. But deep down in the ‘good’ mother part of you, you know that too much tv is not a good thing. Besides the sun is shining and the beach lives just around the corner, so it would be criminal to do a daily movie thing.
  • Before school starts back there may be a few ‘panic’ play dates. Perhaps you have lost touch with particularly good friends or there are group reunions. This requires energy. There’s small talk to do, the effort of getting in the car (especially to the beach) with all the stuff is an effort in itself. Though you may love the social aspect of play dates, it still revolves around the children!
  • Technology – kids on holidays crave technology. When all Lego has been played with, all Pony’s tails are brushed and the Barbies can’t bear another change of clothes, the children turn to computers or ipods etc. For this they need adult help with the setting up and the rules and the tears when they inevitably lose. Then there’s fighting over whose turn it is with the darn thing.
  • Late nights are a common feature of the holiday period. There are countless barbeques and festivals to attend, some ending at your bedtime, let alone theirs. The following day everyone is cranky, even more demanding as the little darlings haven’t yet learned the art of sleeping in.

We all love our kids and the time we have with them is so precious. But we’re not robots, we’re not paid enough to be happy chaps all the time. There is very little reward for all the STUFF us parents do for the ones we love so dearly. We may do it with a growl in our throats but it is comforting to remember that at the end of the day, they have to go to bed early and we can indulge ourselves in our ‘happy pills’ all night long!

image by Sanjay Acharya

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No more drop off, no more kids, no more homework, dirty nits.

The school holidays can be hard work for all concerned. Budgets are stretched, patience tested and brains are squeezed daily in a desperate search for the ideal holiday experience. The weather may be bad, or the kids sick or you may be sans car. Whatever the school holiday challenges are, we must be prepared. We must have our school holiday survival kit on hand.

Image by Rama

The Official School Holiday Survival Pack:

  • Movie tickets
  • Zoo, Aquarium, wildlife park etc tickets
  • Cousin / Friend days (share the load, people!)
  • Dvds (for those foul winter afternoons)
  • Kid’s recipe book + grandma/nanny/nanna to cook with them (while you pop your feet up on the lounge)
  • Painting / Play dough (depending on the age of your kid)
  • A trip – be it a weekend away, four days, or an adventure day
  • Special food – holiday cereal, snackage
  • New skills – tying shoes, learning somersaults, playing cricket – time is your friend
  • Bike riding – around and around and around they go as you sit in the winter sun and chat to a friend or two.

Alternate and unusual options include:

  • Backyard camping – for those who just cannot bring themselves to brave the cold of the real outdoors. Dig a hole, light a fire, toast marshmallows then hop in your tent (if you’re brave) or go inside and snuggle in your own bed.
  • Dance party – Hit mix includes a bit of Bon Jovi and lashings of Michael Jackson and his l’il sister.
  • Sand craftilisation competition: Beach, cold sand and beating hearts. The winter wind will fill their sails and inspire some highly impressive creativity. Make sure you bring prizes!

For those of us who have nearly reached the end of our tethers. Take heart. Be kind to yourself and enjoy the little rascals, for next week it’s all over.

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