It’s the end of the summer holidays. Have you had a good one? Did you survive it? Enjoy it? Have you been wishing the start of term would come sooner?
Mine has been lovely, but exhausting.
Our holidays started on 28th July – coincidentally also my 10th wedding anniversary, followed by a birthday celebration for one of my closest friends followed by birthday celebrations for my now 5 year old. And that was only 3 days in!
It’s been a balancing act – I work full time in a job that I love whilst also parenting two wonderful girls (aged 5 and 6). I am blessed with a supportive husband, amazing family and lovely friends but still the summer came with a liberal sprinkle of guilt for me.
The first week of the holidays saw my girls adventuring in a camper van with my mother in law. They loved it. Every night we got calls full of friends made, crabs caught and ice creams eaten. A week without my girls gave me time to have a couple of dates with my husband, to have an adults only meal with my mum and dad and to catch up with good friends without trying to find a babysitter.
Oh and it also gave me the opportunity to do long hours at work, get on top of my to do list and finish for 2 weeks leave on top of everything (which never happens). So why did I feel so guilty? It was win/win, wasn’t it?
"Guilt, guilt guilt, a truly wasted emotion"
WEEKS 2 & 3
The second and third week saw my little family unit escaping for 2 weeks of pure bliss (well for me anyway, some of my fabulous colleagues dubbed it an endurance test)! A week camping in Penzanze in Cornwall followed by a week camping on St Marys, the biggest island in Scilly.
It was fabulous.
We had okish weather, amazing scenery, fantastic local food, (slightly too much) wine and no electricity. Which meant no TV, no emails, very little social media and only the minimum phone calls and texts. It was pure bliss. I got to watch my girls make new friends at campsites, brave the waves on body boards, see their excitement when they caught their first crab and comfort them through their disappointment when it couldn’t come home with us. I got to explain the concept of honesty boxes throughout Scilly and they learnt the lesson that the majority of people are good and kind.
I got to spend evenings reading, sat next to my husband, with our only light coming from his best toy – a petrol lantern. On the ferry on the way home, we watched dolphins follow our boat and I caught up on my emails. This time the guilt ebbed and flowed…
… was I playing enough? Was I on Twitter too much? Was my husband ok that I wanted to read rather than play cards? Should I have done my emails on the way home?
Week four saw my girls off with my fabulous mother in law again, spending a week with their cousins. This time each call was full of games they’d played, places they visited and walks they’d conquered.
My week again saw dates with my husband (we’ve had more dates this summer than we’ve had in the rest of the year put together!), time with my sister and brother in law and out with friends. My work week was full and productive and fun. I completed jobs I’d put off and jobs I enjoyed.
But, you guessed it, the guilt was still there...
I missed my girls.
I should have worked more and achieved more.
Seen more friends.
Week five started with a surprise visit from my brother.
I saw my girls welcome Uncle home with open arms. I saw my girls say a tearful goodbye to daddy and we flew to Menorca for a final weeks holiday with my mum and dad.
I felt the challenges of parenting alone.
I spent unrushed time with my parents, with the sun on our back. I saw my girls dance at the disco and get covered in chocolate at parties, and again I felt guilt… we left daddy at home, was he ok? We missed him. I was off work… again.
Guilt guilt guilt. A truly wasted emotion.
I am doing my best, to be the best parent, wife, daughter, friend, sister and leader that I can.
I am blessed.
By a job I love. A husband I adore. Daughters who make me smile every day. Family who mean the world to me. Friends who extend my family even further.
This September, as my girls start a new school year – I am making a new year promise to me…
Some final holiday words… Less guilt. It’s not worth it.
I hope you enjoyed the summer. I hope you start September with a renewed vision and still and peaceful heart.