Schools Out, Surviving Summer

More coffee please.
To quote Alice Cooper, "schools out, for summer". 

Imagine not knowing school without a pandemic? My son just finished reception class. These are unprecedented times. 

Top marks to the parents, for navigating the farce. You earned the parent stripes, and some. 

School closures, remote learning, facemasks, isolation, rapid testing, and more school closures. We'll look back and laugh some day.

Challenge number two; the summer break. We've just done a staycation in Cornwall, so five weeks left. That said, September seems a long way off.

I warn you, this may be ranty.

Summer Break, Six Weeks, Help!

Who decided summer breaks were needed? Probably teachers!

Fortunately I work from home, but it isn't without challenges. It presents many childcare issues. How do you juggle work and life demands, with kids? Netflix? Disney+? 

The problem is, everybody is busy.  Even most nans and grandads still work. So this further limits childcare options.

With retired grandparents, it's a tough sell. You can't blame them, they've done their parenting, they're exhausted and 'Gardener's World' is on at seven.
You can't blame grandparents, they've done their parenting and 'Gardener's World' is on at seven.
I spent many summers with my grandparents. But modern grandparents work longer, thanks to a higher pension age. So parents, in many cases, lose this "back-up" option. 

In my experience, grandparents have become less "hands-on" than their predecessors. An observation, not a criticism. You get the odd "favour", but not much else. I can't promise I'd be any better. 

But in many cases, when you have kids, you are largely on your own. Which in the midst of a global pandemic, makes parenting tough.

The Annual Leave Conundrum

Summer blows through your annual leave. I get more than most, but it isn't enough.

In addition, you compete for summer leave with colleagues. Oh the frustration, to learn Colin in accounts has booked-off three weeks, "He doesn't even have kids, the selfish assh*le!"

Working parents must juggle their leave, "You take that week darling, I'll do week 2". It takes meticulous planning to navigate the summer break.

We'll muddle through, we always do. I suspect I'll book some more leave, and take the kids out somewhere.

Many places cater for kids in the summer, laying on extra events. It's getting the time off, that can be problematic

Embracing This Time

Under the circumstances, I feel schools should have shortened summer. Education was disrupted, nobody's fault, but it happened. Teachers need a break too, I get it.

Perhaps the summer break appeals less, because of the lockdowns? This additional time, feels unjustified. Lockdown gave me months with my kids. 

That said, time with my children, is not to be sniffed at. As a 'working from home' dad, I am very lucky. Lucky to be at home, watching them grow-up. Not everyone has this luxury.

If life returns to normal, I will probably reminiscence about these days. 

Final Thoughts

Summer is a long break, but find a way. Muddle through, do your best.

Ultimately, you are responsible for your kids. The world (or grandparents) doesn't owe you any help, but grab favours when you can.

Take some annual leave yourself, you've earned it. 


  1. I think we are quite lucky, me being the stay at home dad and my other half a first year student nurse, the balance works well for us. This summer break though she is on work placement throughout so flying solo. You are spot on with what you say with childcare and balance, it is hard work.

  2. AH, so the six week summer break (apologies for the history lesson) is an anachronism. It dates back to when kids were needed to bring in the summer harvest. Yes, well out of date and I'll be honest, I questioned it when my kids were the same age as yours but over the years I have come to love and look forward to it. I genuinely love those six weeks (sorry!). That said, this year has been different and I concede I felt a certain trepidation because of all the time the kids had doing remote learning and staying at home in lockdowns but it's worked out well (again, sorry!).


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