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It’s half term next week and a chance for a pit stop before the rollercoaster ride to Christmas.
It feels like it’s been 100 weeks, but half term is finally here [apologies to those in Scotland who are well past half term]. It may be the long summer holiday combined with the Covid insecurity, but this half term has felt particularly long for many, certainly in my family. Everyone has struggled to make it through the weeks, and I’m talking in particular about the parents in our case.
We have a particularly enthusiastic year seven in the house who sets a very loud alarm for 6.30am every morning so he can shower in peace and have some quality quiet time with Minecraft before starting school. The alarm he has sounds like a truck reversing and has a 100% success rate at waking up the entire house. I don’t get up till 7, but when I come downstairs only son is fully dressed in tie and blazer and smells like apple blossom.
I thought the enthusiasm might wear off by the second week, but we’re two months in and, while the thrill of ‘show my homework’ has dimmed a little, the alarm still goes off relentlessly every morning, somewhat ruining one of the bonus points of working from home – not having to wake up extra early to commute.
It doesn’t help that the teenagers don’t want to ever go to sleep, despite numerous appeals to logic, meaning parents tend to burn the candle at both ends. “I nearly fell asleep in politics today, mum,” said daughter three. To which I responded with the usual ‘go to bed earlier, you will feel much better’. Silence. It is as if I haven’t spoken at all.
Anyway, I know half term is meant for young people to have a break, but I feel it is more of a parent bonus, maybe not so much so if you have younger children and no childcare cover [and I do very clearly remember those days]…By the time teenagers wake up during half term I’ve done a full day’s work.
Half term is a pit stop and a chance to recover your forces before the rollercoaster ride to Christmas. It’s not just the usual increased November/December workload, after a year of total exhaustion [although it must be 100 times worse in the NHS with no sign of a break any time soon], but also the uncertainty of what the next months will hold Covid-wise. Those of us who have managed ‘resilience’ so far are wondering just far it can stretch without breaking.
If there have been any learnings from the various and seemingly unending phases of Covid it is the need for regular pit stops…even if a pit stop is only a long bath or a mug of hot chocolate.