It’s the beginning of June. The sun is shining, there’s not a cloud in the sky and my pasty legs are on show. BUT, there’s a problem. We’re not outside enjoying the weather – instead we’re ‘stuck’ inside watching Peppa bloody Pig. No, we’re not ill and I haven’t misplaced the house keys. Instead, the reason for our entrapment is that it’s the half-term holidays – otherwise known as the bane of the preschooler parent’s life.
I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for over two years now and dread the school holidays. As the parent of a kid not yet in school, the holidays just totally mess up our usual lives. I massively rely on routine to get through the week, so when that routine is disrupted, things change for the worse. Why kids and teachers need to take a break from school, I’ll never understand. The bloody cheek and audacity of it.
Let me paint you a picture. When the kids are in school, the world is our oyster. Toddler L and I can go anywhere and do anything without needing to consider other people. It’s a bit like the beginning scenes of 28 Days Later where the fella walks around an empty London. If we head to the park, we’re often the only people there. If we go to the local museum, there’s no fear of it being busy. If we go for a babyccino, there’s always a seat. Life is good.
Then everything changes. Half-term holidays happen and the world gets busy. Our usual haunts are rammed with older kids and their parents. Older kids who use their superior height, weight and strength advantage to take over the place and stop Toddler L doing what she’s become accustomed to. Parents who use their superior planning, know-how and parenting experience to take up the car parking spaces I’ve become accustomed to. It’s all a bit shit really. Shit and unfair.
It’s half term, which means absolutely nothing to me apart from everywhere the toddler and I normally go will be 10 times busier. Boo!
— The DADventurer (@The_dadventurer) February 15, 2016
It gets worse though. Not only has the usually quiet weekday been invaded by a swarm of school-aged kids, but there’s a complete shut down in the toddler classes we have scheduled each week. Selfishly, the people who run these groups either (a) want a break, (b) have school-aged kids they have to look after, and / or (c) are plotting against me. I like routine and find that weekly activities allow me to structure the week better than everything being ad hoc. Taking away the likes of Water Babies and Tumble Tots during the holidays properly screws me over.
So what am I left with? A severe lack of our regular toddler classes and an ‘inability’ to go anywhere public thanks to half-term holidays. Sure, we can do stuff like play in the garden and take the dog for a walk, but it’s not quite the same as the previous week when we basically owned the world. School half-term holidays suck more than Henry The Hoover would if he worked at a brothel.
The weird thing though is that in just over a year, I’m going to be one of those parents – and Toddler L is going to be one of those kids – that I despise so much. Next September, she’ll be at school and the only chance we’ll get to do anything is weekends or school holidays. At that point, I’ll probably be complaining about all of the preschoolers and their parents who still decide to go out during half-term holidays when they have term time to themselves. Who made them rulers of the world? Gits.
Do you like half-term holidays? As a preschooler parent, do you find holidays change things for the better or worse? Do you have similar ‘anger issues’ to me? Let me know below!