Sometimes I’m relieved to hand the kids over to the childminder at the start of the day and get on the train with just my book for company. But other times it’s really hard being a working parent, and I’m never more aware of how tricky it can be than during the summer holidays.
I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. I love the ease of it. No homework, no uniform, no after-school clubs…
But there’s extra guilt involved with the holidays – on top of the normal guilt, of course – and resentment.
So. Much. Resentment. I have perfected the art of ignoring families on my train home, who are chatting about the lovely day out they’ve had together. I grit my teeth when the kids have exhausted themselves on their fabulous fun days with their wonderful childminder and only want to slump on the sofa and whinge on my day off.
Sometimes, though, it’s even harder. This week at work was frantic, with people off on holiday or sick. Then I got the phone call – my son had been hit in the face with a swing. It was a complete accident and he’s absolutely fine now but that moment when your mind is racing about how to sort out the work you’ve been doing without dumping too much on your colleagues (again), get home as fast as you can, maybe head to A&E if you have to… I’m sure is something that most working parents have experienced.
In term time, when things are ticking along nicely and the routine of work, school, childcare, is all slotting into place, things don’t seem too bad. I go to work, the kids are happy (most of the time!) and I make a bit of money. In the summer, when the routine has gone out of the window, when the kids are desperate for a slobby pyjama day and just aren’t going to get one, and when I know that I’m doing all this just to break even – or even lose money – it’s harder to stomach. These are the days when I wonder if it’s worth it. I’m not sure. What do you think?
Kerry is an author and journalist with a passion for storytelling.