It’s the summer holidays and tomorrow the kids are going on holiday with their Dad for a week. Like most recently divorced parents, this is the “new normal” for the summer holidays. A week or two with one parent, and a vice versa. And it’s not something I’m quite used to yet.
I am not going to pretend that I am Super Mum. I love my kids more than the world but, like most of us, there are moments when I would, just for a short spell, like to loan them out to someone else.
If you’re a parent, you know the moments I mean. The ones where they’ve got really bored with each other, so they start to fight. And it’s then only a matter of time before one of them ends up crying:
“He hit me!”
“She started it.”
“It’s MY Nintendo.”
“I hate you.”
And so, the reason I’ve not managed to get a post up for the last couple of days is that I have been acting as referee to the Lakin kids, whilst simultaneously:
Taking them out to meet their friends.
Organising everything they need for their holiday.
Making sure the dogs get a walk, so they don’t destroy the house.
Trying to go to the gym.
Cooking pancakes and fork biscuits.
The list goes on and on and on….
Anyway, today I received an email from His Highness.
“I need them at my house by 12.30, at the latest.” It said.
I didn’t rise to the bait. I’m not his secretary, or a lowly employee. I’m the mother of his children, who ensures their health and happiness whilst he is busy being… well… imperious. But I’m not going to have a rant right now!
That’s not what this is about.
This is about how I feel having to spend a week without the kids.
I know that the kids will be safe and returned at a set time next week. On the positive side, it gives me a week to get on with the tonne of paperwork and other tedious jobs that are hard to manage with the kids around.
Knowing that I will be alone in the evenings, various friends have kindly invited me out for most of the evenings that they’re away. And I’m really looking forward to it.
But as much as the kids may drive me round the bend, I will miss them. And I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder and familiarity breeds contempt.” was one of my mother’s favourite expressions. And she had a point.
How much can we ever appreciate something that is constantly ‘in our face’?
I have always enjoyed holidays with my kids, but sometimes they’ve been really hard work.
For those of you without kids – just imagine having to do all the really tedious domestic jobs you do at home, but with only half the time saving equipment…
When kids are little, that is often what holidays are like.
As I jotted a few things down on their ‘holiday packing list’ that the eldest decided to start writing yesterday, I had a pang of sadness.
I want them to spend time with their father – it’s very important that they have this time with him. And it’s good for me that I will be able to get things done during normal daytime – rather than at 1.00am.
But yes. I’ll miss them. And I’m going to savour missing them and thinking only of the things I love about having them around.
In an ideal world, I would still be married to their father and we would be going away together. But it isn’t an ideal world. And I made a choice.
The upside is that I have time to reflect. Time to miss my kids and remind myself of all that is good about them. And there’s a lot of good in them.
And when they return, I hope I’ll be in a positive frame of mind to be a good mother to them for the rest of the summer. Maybe not Super Mum, but a good Mum nonetheless.