Today is a huge day for many New Zealanders. We've survived the school holidays. I love my kids. They're the best two things in my life. They're also punishingly full-on when you have to hang out with them for two weeks straight.
New Zealand has great primary schools. Our teachers do an amazing job educating our kids. They're heroes. But more importantly they store our offspring during the week so we can make money. That's why more and more loving Kiwi mums and dads are pushing for a 52-week school year from birth.
I'm lucky. I can take time off work in the school breaks to look after my boys. Delivering two weeks of high quality parenting three times a year.
Here's some tips (two weeks late):
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Tip one: Fake your holidays
Packing your kids up and transporting them to different cities or countries is expensive and admin heavy. Plus you can't nip back to work if you're needed. That's why smart parents holiday close to home. Day one I yelled down the hall, "good news boys, we're vacationing at the Northern Beaches". Ten minutes later we arrived at a mate's house on the North Shore. My boys didn't know any better. We could have been on the Goldie for all they knew. Cheap and easy. Win win.
Tip two: Pick your fights
We all want to bring our kids up right. These days that mainly involves fighting over digital devices. In the ideal world they'd be out building tree huts or fishing with a piece of string. Sadly real activities are a hard sell in 2017. So just give them your phone when they ask for it. It saves arguments. There might even be hut building and fishing apps on there. The trick is to hide the charger in the backyard so they eventually have to do something else. Even if it's just an incredibly challenging charger hunt.
Tip three: Find time to relax
Experts agree a quiet drink is the best way to deal with parental stress. But sitting around home refreshing all day is a bad look. You can end up losing the very brownie points you're trying to earn by having the kids. So clever parents find a bar with a view of a park, beach or playground. Franc's, Main Beach Takapuna, is a great spot. You can watch your beloved children run around, in the fresh air for hours. While you get a few healthy relaxers in with your mates. Win win.
Tip four: Sleepovers
Sensible Kiwis dump their kids on other parents. The children have a great time with their friends and you get a cost-free break. There are 16 nights in a two-week holiday. Unload eight of those on other people. Sure you'll have to reciprocate and take extra children here and there. But it's worth it. Especially if you apply tips one to three on your guests.
Tip five: Cat euthanasia
Dad's need to lead by example in tough situations. My boys and I came across a big ginger cat lying in the middle of the road last week. It's right eye mostly out of its socket. Someone's beloved pet bleeding and breathing heavily. I needed to act quickly. Instead I stood over the poor thing scratching my head for five minutes. Soon a couple of other dudes joined me and we did the same. My boys are yelling "Help him Dad, help him!" So we decided to put it out of its misery with a spade. Terrible idea. Horribly violent. Something my kids wish they hadn't seen. Potentially their Silence of the Lambs moment. Horrific nightmares followed. Plus it didn't work. Cats are tough.
Luckily a solution presented itself. One of the guys rang the SPCA. They said "take the poor thing to the vet". Great plan. The nice lady there put him down in a jiffy. Should have done that first up.
So, to recap. If you love your kids you'll take them on fake holidays, watch them from bars, give them your phone, dump them on others and tell them to look away if you need to euthanise a cat with a spade. Employ these five easy tips and enjoy a life packed with stress-free holiday parenting.