Like many mums, I've found the return to school of our 6-year-old daughter last week bittersweet.
I am sad it is over, but also relieved to get back into routine.
I am also sad I didn't enjoy the holidays more.
It was the first big break I have had with a 6-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old.
I look forward to the holidays every time, but I find them quite stressful too.
Over the last few weeks, I have seen posts on social media from people who can't wait for
the school holidays to be over.
As always, there are the usual reactions from others who seem to think that anyone who
speaks of enjoying some time to themselves is a bad mum.
I love my kids, but I am not ashamed to admit I love the time I get away from them too.
I was a person of my own before I had kids, and I don't see why some people – in 2019 -
seem to feel like you shouldn't enjoy time away from your children.
I have seen, on more than one forum, comments along the lines of "school is not a
babysitter" and "why did you have kids if you didn't want to spend any time with them?"
Anyone who "confesses" to being happy handing their kids back to school after several weeks is made to feel bad.
I have friends who didn't enjoy being at home with their kids, so they went back to work.
No one would dare mention this fact publicly.
What this means is, the vocal people are out there saying that you have to be grateful and enjoy your children for every single minute. And if you don't, you aren't a good mother.
Of course you can't enjoy it 100 per cent of the time. Anyone who claims to is either lying, or has forgotten how hard it can get.
Why is it okay for dads to admit they would rather go to work than be with the kids all day, but when a mum says it, she's a bad mum?
Then there are comments from people who say you shouldn't have had children, or
reminding you there are so many other people who couldn't have children.
There are also comments from people saying if you don't enjoy the holidays you just need
to be more organised.
Yeah, or maybe you just enjoy doing different stuff for eight weeks straight.
Or maybe you forgot what it was like with young kids and you're doing that thing every
parent seems to where you've only remembered the good bits and so you go around tellinge veryone they have to enjoy it because tomorrow the kids will be at university doing bongs and yardies and you'll miss when they were small. Helpful.
No, school is not a babysitter.
But it sure as hell provides some sweet sanity after all the noise and fighting and the fart,
poo and wee jokes.
Last Monday, when school went back, I took a little break.
I popped into a café while my baby was asleep in his capsule and my toddler was in daycare, and had a coffee and a snack by myself.
No one asked me for anything and no one whined about anything. No one had a fight or
stole my food or made a mess I had to clean up right as I was about to eat.
It was glorious.
It was the most quiet, peaceful day I have had since December and I loved every minute of
it. I'm not feeling guilty about that for anyone.