Saturday, 16 July 2016

6 weeks of Summer approaches

Sitting in my garden during nap time, abundant and busy with nature, basking in some glorious and rare British sunshine, I feel the end of the academic year 2015-2016 approaching. Being my usual tormenting self, I reflect on the year that has passed and beat myself with a stick for the things I haven't achieved.

There was no promotion; I never managed to mark and hand back the last piece of homework my top set produced; I had too many days off sick, whether it be my own ill health or that of my ear and chest infection prone daughter's; I didn't get around to finishing off my displays or decorate my classroom with enough brilliant work; I divulged in too many school-canteen-custard-smothered-puddings and I didn't speak to adults enough, choosing my safe and solitary classroom to spend my breaks alone. All of this aside, I did survive another year, just about and my first year as a part-time teaching career-mum. It could have been a lot worse. In terms of the teaching and learning that went on in my classroom, I've done a good job and I know it's this that's important.

Teachers live for the Summer holidays, many of us atleast. However, the last 2 years have taught me that the 6 week "holiday" isn't exactly all it cracked up to be, particularly once you have children! Many teaching and SAHM mothers I know have told me that they even "dread" the holidays, regardless of them being "off" for 6 whole weeks. 

I can only empathise. Going to work when I have a toddler at home often feels like a well earned break; it's even better when you get to talk to real adults. Then there's the added pressure of 'entertaining' toddlers; always feeling like you're doing a crap job of keeping them occupied, comparing your own experiences with other parents' social media snaps. 

I often create a social media album called "6 weeks of Summer" to capture as many moments of the holidays as possible; I even did this before my child came along. At the end of the holiday, I look back with smiles and longing at the captured moments, but I'm also knackered.  Absolutely knackered. This year is going to be more knackering than ever now that my little beauty has entered the phase of toddler-dom; we even have potty training to look forward to! The photographs I take are little snippets of nicety in between tantrums, arguing with my partner about what activity we're doing today; snippets of life taken an hour after I've walked off in a huff or after I've screamed the house down because it's filthy and more time in it means more filth to clean.

As my partner is also a teacher, I will often expect him to take on half the crappy cleaning work during his 6 weeks off, but I often find that he engages in leisurely pursuits of his own and "forgets" that there are actual jobs to do. When this falls on my shoulders, I become dragon-like. I often end the "holiday" despising the dragon lady I've become and happily skip back to work again by the beginning of September. 

I hope the Great British 6 week holiday is different this year; I'm preparing. I'm going to speak to my partner on the first weekend about doing his fair share; I'm going to embrace time at home, rather than filling time with endless activities in attempt to match the instagram fun of fellow teachers. Instead I'm going to tell myself that between their happy snaps are tantrums and outbursts, even from the adults! Whilst family time is important, I'm going to prioritise time alone and time for me, Afterall there are two of us to share the heavy work of toddler-dom. I want to do lots of walking; nowhere far, lap up the views on offer metres from my back door step. Just this afternoon, I stood to appreciate the beauty of the semi-rural walks right at the back of my home. 

Maybe this holiday, I'll even upload a mid-tantrum instagram shot to show a truer side to life as a family during the 6 weeks of Summer!

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