You know what I’m looking forward to most these holidays? Nothing. Having nothing I have to do. Having just two weeks where I don’t have to work and my kids don’t have to go to school. I am so tired of feeling rushed all the time, and always hurrying my kids along, and telling them I don’t have time to play.
I never wanted to be that nagging kind of parent. But during term time, it seems to be unavoidable. There’s so much to get through in a day, and kids seem to have a different operating system from adults.
This is me talking in the mornings: “Come on, guys, finish eating your breakfast or you’ll be late! Hurry up! Put on some clean underpants! Oh, bloody hell, today’s library day. Where’s that library book? Come into the bathroom and get your teeth brushed! Put your shoes on! Hurry up, or we’ll be late again and the teacher will give me that look, like, ‘Can’t you even manage to get your kids to school on time?’ I hate it when she gives me that look! Hurry up!”
This is what my kids probably hear: "Blah blah blah underpants blah blah blah."
After school, it's the same. There's always homework, which the kids have to be pushed and prodded into doing.
Then I'm in the kitchen, trying to chop up a few vegetables for dinner and my son comes in, lugging some complicated board game with a thousand tiny pieces behind him. "Mum, can we play this? Now?"
I walk the dogs with my daughter. She stops to stroke a patch of moss. She stands entranced in front of a house with a single string of Christmas lights. She finds rocks she wants to show me. She stops to talk to every dog owner about their dog. I try to stop myself from saying, "Hurry up! We've got to get home because it's getting late."
WATCH a video showing mums talking to each other like they talk to their kids. Post continues after video...
I read to my son in bed, and when I've finished, he wants more. "More than two chapters?" he asks. "The whole book?"
Every night, I kiss my kids goodnight, and glance guiltily at the clock. It's always way past their bedtime. I wonder if my kids would be better behaved if they got a bit more sleep. I wonder how other parents manage to fit everything in and still put their kids to bed early.
I don't need to go anywhere fancy for a holiday this summer. I just want to be able to stop rushing. I want to stop telling my kids to hurry up. I want to let them dawdle over their breakfast and spend the day in their pyjamas. I want to play that board game with my son, and read him that whole book. I want to let my daughter walk as slowly as she likes, and show me every single rock she finds interesting. I just want to enjoy their company.
Just two weeks. Just two weeks where I can be the kind of parent who has all the time in the world.
Do you wish you had more time for your kids?