Well, we are back to school and parents around the country have doubtless breathed a sigh of relief. And poured a large gin, or is that just me?
School holidays are great - if you are seven that is. If you are a couple of decades older, okay, three decades older, then the idea of endless days with no school is more liable to send you running for cover than jumping with glee. In the interests of full disclosure, I should at this point add that I am not Martha Stewart. My abilities to rustle up some cupcakes to decorate rely on supermarket opening times and my artistic skills are best described as being from the prehistoric era - presuming that dinosaurs were as skilled in painting as they were in survival. This is why school holiday programmes were invented. There are actually people who are GOOD at making a 3D replica of the glockenspiel out of nothing more than two empty toilet rolls, some glue and a few bits of $2 Dollar Shop craft stuff. These people save mothers like me. Not only does my child get to fulfil the need to liberally sprinkle glue, glitter and suchlike over a carpet, but I get to have a child-free coffee in peace.
Sometimes though, a mother can find herself stuck at home with the holiday programme already booked out by mothers who are more organised than she. This is when pre-planning comes into play.
If you have ever seen me in one of my children's classrooms admiring the latest project work done by their classmates, don't be fooled into thinking it is because I am really interested in just how little Emma has built a working model of the Roman Colosseum. No, I am looking for the model that shows "mummy helped make me". While other parents huff and puff over the unfairness of parents who meddle in homework and do it for the child, I note down names and numbers. These are the parents I want to cultivate. These are the parents I am going to smile at in the hope of a play date invite over the holidays. Because these are the parents who are going to have glitter in their hair and carpets, while I have latte foam on my lips.
Of course, I can't always rely on the village to raise my children, sometimes I really do have to woman up and do it myself. We do cooking - they slice the limes and crush the mint for my mojitos on a regular basis for example and the eight-year-old is incredibly good at icing store bought biscuits and putting sprinkles on them. I play tea parties too and build large towers out of lego for plastic dinosaurs to attack. I have even been known to bounce on a trampoline without needing a physio appointment afterwards.
Despite this, I still breathe a sigh of relief when school starts up. This doesn't make me a bad mother, just one who really, really dislikes glitter ...