Hurrah – the summer holidays are almost here and we can shove the lunchboxes, water bottles and PE bags to the back of the cupboard until September.
No more forms to fill in, school uniform to wash, newsletters to read or family homework for the next six weeks at least.
However, it does mean your children are at home with you 24/7 or you have to sort out a complicated care schedule if you are working.
You are probably already worried about what you’re going to do, where you’re going to go and how much it is all going to cost.
Here are the six stages of the summer holidays.
It is the first week of the summer holidays and you are filled with optimism that you will be making so many happy memories with your offspring.
You have days out, play dates and craft activities planned.
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Who cares if there is glitter all over the front room and you are burning through your bank account – the children are happy and smiling and they are all having fun.
Most likely to say during week one
‘Come on kids, another day out at an expensive attraction. We can all have an ice cream and then back home for more arts and crafts.’
Least likely to say during week one
‘Can’t you just watch another hour of television?’
Okay, so you spent a little more than you planned to and your house is resembling an explosion in Toys R Us but they’re having fun and that’s what counts, right?
But perhaps you should have signed them up to that summer camp?
Only for a couple of days, of course, because you absolutely love spending this quality time with your children.
And at least you get to have a glass of wine at 8pm.
Most likely to say during week two
‘It’s so great having more time to spend with you guys but could you please put your toys away once you’ve finished with them.’
Least likely to say during week two
‘Mummy needs a lie down with her eyes closed.’
What day is it? Which month? What time is it? Who am I?
You are now three weeks deep and time has lost all meaning.
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You have exhausted your list of activities and worrying that perhaps you should start to do something a bit more educational with your days.
Maybe buy some work books to prepare them for the next school year?
I mean, if the teacher can get 30 children to sit quietly and work how difficult will it be to get a couple of children to do a few pages of a work book?
Turns out it is very difficult. Work book ends up gathering dust on a shelf.
Most likely to say during week three
‘Do half a page of your work book and you can watch an hour of television’
Least likely to say during week three
‘School holidays are so much fun’
You have exhausted your funds, visited every free attraction in your local area and are now Googling ‘How many hours is it okay for children to watch television?’
Lego covers the floor, Babybel wax wrappers are ingrained into the carpet and you are debating moving wine o’clock forward from 8pm to 5pm.
Where do children get all this energy from?
How is it that the more energy a child has, the less energy a parent has. What is nature playing at? What kind of evolutionary f**kery is this?
Most likely to say in week four
‘WHY IS THERE A CHEESESTRING/HAMSTER/REMOTE CONTROL IN THE TOILET?!’
Least likely to say in week four
‘Let’s organise some play dates so we can have even more children in the house.’
The animals are in charge of the zoo.
You forget your own name, you have exhausted every board game and turn a blind eye when they watch their third hour of television.
You spend hours playing referee to their pointless squabbling.
Can the school holidays end here?
You attempt to talk your children into playing hide and seek just so you can get a few minutes peace while you ‘find’ them.
Are they doing this on purpose? Is it some kind of revenge tactic? Why do they hate me so much?
Most likely to say in week five
Nothing. You’ve lost the power of speech.
Least likely to say in week five
‘I can’t wait for the October half term.’
You can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
And [puts on rose-tinted spectacles] it wasn’t that bad was it?
I mean, hair is a bit more grey and there are visible bags under the eyes.
Last week is for one thing only. Panic buying uniform.
It will take a 9am trip to town, joining a queue which snakes around a shoe shop only to discover that this month’s wages will be spent on multiple pairs of school shoes, trainers and PE pumps.
Roll on Monday!
Most likely to say in week six
‘Can you still squeeze into them/it?’
Least likely to say in week six
‘I wish I could do it all again’