If a meteorite was hurtling through space and the point of impact was my house and I knew nothing about it, I’d hope a friend would get in touch with a cursory warning ‘Good luck mate, your life is about to be smashed to oblivion’.
How come then, nobody warned me about half-term?
The whole concept of the holiday is plainly ludicrous: the children are tired, they need some recovery time.
But the children aren’t tired, they’ve got more energy than any other demographic in society. One five-year-old girl could single-handedly power the Mountbatten Centre just from fidgeting.
If I come across as a little shocked it’s because this is the first half-term we’ve had to deal with since my wife went back to work.
Prior to this break, we’ve had a few options, but all of sudden we’ve had to formulate an hour-by-hour military plan so that the children are catered for morning, noon and night.
Drop offs, pick-ups, booked events, locations, times, schemes, who, where, what – I’m a few marbles short of implementing a colour scheme with electronic reminders, telling me where to be and when.
I just know that by Thursday lunchtime, I’ll haphazardly have dropped off my nine-month-old son to a trampolining session, whilst my daughter opens her packed lunch to find wet wipes, bum cream and a jar of pulverised lentils.
We’re lucky too, because we are two. How working single parents manage at any stage is beyond me, how they manage during school holidays is nothing short of miraculous.
If you are one of these elite parents I see you as a highly-trained and focused SAS-styled mum or dad and I salute you.
Then there’s the actual financial burden of half-term. If you start tallying up baby-sitting, play-schemes, time taken off work, eating out, eating in (just relentlessly eating for 14 hours a day) it can bring a tear to your fiscal eye. We’re only two days into this holiday and about the only thing I can remember so far is ‘Daaaad, Mummy says can I have a fiver for…?’
I’m currently writing a strongly worded letter to the government, pleading an about turn on the whole half-term thing.
How about this: parents get a week off every six weeks. Our children are quietly and safely ushered to a suitable location, where they can play, sing, jump, run, build, destroy, shout, laugh and eat as much as they like – whilst parents regain their physical and mental strength at home and have a chance to finish the book they started before their eyes were darkened by parenthood.
It would be like a farm, for kids.
I suppose, if I’m honest, after a week I would miss them.
Five days would be perfect though.