I’ve really struggled to blog since we returned home from our Summer holiday, partly due to the hell of still working my way through the mountain of laundry, the inevitable post-holiday exhaustion and the fact that the children have been absolute terrors. And partly due to the fact that I have been dealing with some personal issues, some really difficult health problems, and I’ve struggled massively with the knowledge that, as honest as I try to be in my blog, I’m not quite ready to share that with you all just yet, I guess that time will come.
There have been several times when I have sat down to blog, when I have been hit by a bolt of inspiration or shared a moment that I was desperate to document, and within moments of sneaking away into the office, it would start. The children’s daily mission to send me absolutely bat sh*t crazy, screaming hysterically as though they had broken every single bone in their body, only for me to go running into the lounge to find them battering each other around the head with Baby Annabelle, spilling their juice across my brand new cream carpets, or simply smearing themselves with the closest thing to hand. And I’ve realised that while the children are home, without my safety net of school or nursery to give me just one moments peace, blogging really has had to take a back seat over the Summer.
And in all honesty, we haven’t actually done a lot for the most part of the holidays. After the disaster involving our car, I endured eighteen long days of hell, completely housebound, as my back wasn’t up to even attempting to push the double buggy and there was no way in the world I was going to risk taking these four on public transport!! On the days when the weather was kind to us we played in the garden, ate copious amounts of ice cream, splashed in the paddling pool and ignored the angry shouts of the old witch next door telling the children to “Be quiet!” every two minutes.
On the days when the weather wasn’t so kind, of which there were many, we resorted to baking, to watching movies in our pyjamas, to Cbeebies, edible bribes, and when all else failed and I really did get desperate….the dreaded Playdoh!!!
Anyone with four children will agree when I tell you it’s hard every single day with a large family, and yet being house bound over the Summer holidays is definitely one of the hardest challenges I have faced as a parent. As much as I joke about the horrors of it all, towards the end it really did start to get me down and more than once I found myself wishing the time away so that the children would be back at school and nursery. It was at times like that when I felt like a terrible parent, the kind of parent that I always swore I would never be, and I would desperately try to claw back my sanity, hold on to every moment and remind myself that actually, these days are so precious, that in no time at all the days of having three at home would be over. And with that thought, and the days where by some sweet miracle they all fell asleep in the warmth of the conservatory, it got me through.
Last weekend we had a much needed break with the wedding of two of our best friends where Gaz had the honour of being the best man. With him on the top table and nobody reminding me that I can’t handle my drink, I make no apologies for the fact that I got absolutely steaming drunk, even if it did result in more than a few embarrassing tumbles on the dance floor! We actually had an amazing day, with some of our favourite people, and if ever there was a time when we needed that boost it was absolutely now!!
With the return of the car, and of Lewis who has been with his Dad alternate weeks over the summer, we have been able to get out and about this week and enjoy the return of the warmer weather. We have built sandcastles on the beach, rode donkeys along the shore, eaten ice creams on the promenade and all of a sudden life doesn’t seem so tough. Time as a family always reminds me of what is important, not to sweat the small stuff and that together, we will get through just about anything. And as hard as this month has been in some ways, in others we have been truly blessed.
I doubt that there is a parent on the planet who hasn’t found the Summer holidays difficult at times, who hasn’t cursed the fact that they can’t even use the bathroom in peace, who hasn’t despaired at the state of the house or the fact that the children can’t seem to play nicely for more than two minutes before one of them is throttling the other. Who hasn’t made countless fake phone calls to their other halves while shouting, “What’s that? There’s big trouble when you get home?”, who hasn’t slammed shut the windows in order to scream at their kids without the neighbours eavesdropping, who hasn’t gone to bed each night thinking please, dear God, let tomorrow be a better day. And that doesn’t make us terrible parents, it simply makes us human. Because as much as us adults tend to focus on the hard times, in all honesty we have done some really lovely, exciting and fun things together. Looking at it that way, the Summer of 2016 will be one that we all look back on fondly.
I read a really lovely quote today that summed up the holidays perfectly. It said,
“We didn’t realise we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.”
And I think that right now, more than ever, that is just about the most we can hope for.