My husband and I were having cross words again. Extreme lack of sleep, hardly getting time to eat and a house that looks like a toy shop was burgled, added to constantly demanding children and it was no wonder we were fractious.
Summer holidays are so hard.
In fact part of me actually hates them.
“We need a break”
“I just want the house to be clean and some time alone!”
“I hate the summer holidays”
They heard us.
I just unwittingly and unfortunately stabbed my child in the heart with my words.
We made ourselves a coffee and regrouped. Stress affects everyone and this summer has been particular stressful for my family. My autistic son has really struggled to adapt to change but once he realised there was no school he assumed every single day would be simply about what he wanted. When that does not happen he screams for hours (he has complex needs and is non verbal so none of this is his fault)
I made the kids (yet another) snack and we all calmed down.
Then a little tender voice broke the silence:
“Mum, it’s ok. I will go back to school and just stay there. Please don’t collect me at home time because I want you to be happy”
And then she cried. Deep sadness overtook her and I held her as the pain of my earlier careless words wrecked havoc in her mind and her heart.
I do hate the school holidays. I hate them even more now.
Parents, like all adults, need to be able to express their emotions. They get stressed and tired and we really are just humans at the end of the day.
But I don’t hate my children. In fact I love them and enjoy being with them more than anything else.
What I hate about the holidays is this:
I hate that holiday companies are allowed to ridiculously inflate their prices in school holidays preventing so many from getting away.
I hate that family attractions cost so much that they are out of reach for many.
I hate that everyday tasks like shopping are so much more stressful because children want to do fun things and get bored at everyday mundanity.
I hate that my children see parts of me they shouldn’t because the constant 24/7 means I can’t rest or eat without them.
I hate how isolated and alone my family becomes due to having a child with complex needs.
But despite all this I will never ever say again in front of my child that I hate the summer holidays.
She does not need to hear this.
Her mental health is of far greater value than my need to vent.
Children hear us. What are they hearing when we say we hate summer holidays? They are hearing we hate spending time with them. They hear they are not wanted and they are an inconvenience to mum and dad. They hear that they are the cause of stress. They hear that they are making their parents sad. They hear we hate them.
So from today onwards I may vent in adult only places such as social media, I may text privately a friend to moan, I may even write my stress down BUT I will no longer utter those words again when my child can hear.
I love her way too much for that.
She is the reason I will never say again publicly that I hate summer holidays, even though I do.
Something to think about perhaps?