The School Holidays that (Nearly) Broke Me 

Our Marketing Account Director, Victoria Penrose, reflects on her Easter Holidays…

Before the Easter holidays rolled around, I thought I had everything under control. As a working mum to three energetic kids (age range of 8 to 3), routine was my best friend. It was the magic formula that kept our lives running smoothly (or at least, prevented it from going off the rails). But as the schools closed for the two-week break, I quickly realised that my well-crafted routine was about to be turned upside down. 

The Reality of Constant Togetherness 

There’s something about the constant presence of your children that tests your mental capacity. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little tribe, but being with them every day, all day, for two weeks straight? It’s intense, and mentally exhausting. The constant barrage of “Mummy, can I have?” and “Mummy, I’m hungry” began to erode my patience and mental peace! The holidays started positively with my husband off, and a lovely short break in the Yorkshire Dales. However, when returning it meant that my usual workdays were peppered with snack-time negotiations, refereeing sibling squabbles, and trying to dodge the ever-growing mountain of toys spilling out of the living room across the whole house!  

The Guilt Trip 

Admitting that you’re struggling or that you need a break is tough, especially when society expects mothers to cherish these moments. The guilt hit hard. I felt guilty for wanting just an hour of solitude, guilty for not being the fun mum, guilty for attending to work calls instead of playing hide and seek. It was a no-win situation—feeling inadequate both at home and at work. 

Trying to balance work and kids felt like juggling chainsaws while blindfolded. Every morning I would start with a plan that seemed fail-proof, only to find it had derailed by breakfast. The constant interruptions made concentrating on work tasks almost impossible, leaving me feeling like I wasn’t giving my job or my kids the attention they deserved. 

Then Came the Breaking Point 

Balancing the needs of my children with the demands of my job seemed like an insurmountable task. Every minor setback felt amplified, and I felt like I wasn’t performing at my best in any area of my life. This wasn’t about striving for perfection but about desperately trying to keep my head above water. Despite having two parents in the house, the bulk of the holiday responsibilities fell on me and eventually I cracked. I totally lost it; shouted at the kids, shouted at my husband, and broke down. I felt exhausted and defeated. 

Survival and Reflection 

However, despite the chaos and tantrums, we survived. The kids had a fantastic break, filled with activities, late-night movie marathons, and impromptu dance parties in our kitchen. It was chaotic, messy, but ultimately filled with laughter and resilience. These moments were a stark reminder of what really matters, though they were hard-won. 

 Looking back, I realised the importance of being prepared and setting boundaries, teaching me the importance of realistic expectations and the need of self-forgiveness. Striving for perfection in every aspect of life is not only unrealistic, but it’s also unsustainable. Thinking about the next set of school holidays, I’ve already made the appointment into additional childcare options like nursery days for my youngest and holiday camps for the older two. It’s crucial to acknowledge that needing help isn’t a failure—it’s a smart strategy for preserving your sanity. 

At SpareMyTime, many of our clients are also working parents constantly trying to juggle the demands of their businesses with family responsibilities. I take great joy from the fact that I can alleviate some of that pressure through the support that our services provide. So, if you are a business owner staring down the barrel of the next set of school holidays with doom, remember that at SpareMyTime we can support with admin, bookkeeping and marketing, even if it’s just on a short-term basis to see you through the holidays! 

The Takeaway 

To all the working mums out there grappling with similar challenges—you are not alone.  As I reflect on the past two weeks, the overriding emotion is relief mixed with a dash of pride. We made it through, not unscathed, but stronger and a bit wiser. Here’s to planning the next holiday—with a bit more help and a lot less guilt. 

Get in touch today to see how SpareMyTime can help with your to-do list during the school holidays.  

 

 

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