The End of Term and Endless Activities

I'm a big fan of the summer holidays, but packing in endless activities at the end of term has me wishing we could skip the recorder recitals and art showcases



It's a heavy burden

I feel like I'm drowning under the weight of sports days, concerts, plays and the like. Yes, it's that time of year again when the end of term looms and schools pack in as many events as they can. Being the cynic that I am, I wonder if they do it just to avoid doing any proper lessons?

Diary = out of control

My diary has become indecipherable, with reminders of extra kit that needs to go into school and events that I need to attend.

Each day necessitates some extra planning and preparation. I've gone through an entire pack of post-it notes in the last 4 weeks, as I scribble down things that we need to remember:

  • Turban for India Day? Tick.
  • Sun cream for Beach Day? Tick.
  • Raincoat for Beach Day - hastily added after the school looked out of the window to check the weather? Tick.

Leaving the husband in charge

The worst is when I'm away and my husband is in charge. I stick notes all over the house, but invariably he forgets. I say 'forgets', but even he admits that he does it on purpose, just to rebel against being told what to do. Hard to believe he's 48 and not 8...

Another recorder concert?

It's got to the point where my response to the boys' requests to attend some event is to say "I'm working". For most of the week that's true, but I've even taken to giving that response even when I'm not working.

It's awful to admit it, but 12 years down the line, I'm feeling a wee bit jaded from attending the annual summer extravaganzas. If I have to watch another rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the recorder, I may cry. And not because of the beauty of the piece.

And the Turner Prize goes to...

By far the funniest part of the end of term is sending a large bag into school on the last day, which returns home full of 'art' or as I like to call it 'WTF' - never said out loud, of course.

My husband and I coo over each item that the boys produce. Later, over a glass of wine, we try to work out what everything is. After showing our appreciation, the majority of their work ends up in the bin.

Top tip: things that need dumping should go straight out to the wheelie bin to avoid accidental discovery in the pedal bin the next morning. There's nothing worse than trying to explain to your tearful 8 year old why you've chucked away his best painting of Monet's 'Sunflowers' - which we thought was 'Mustard and Ketchup Thrown against a Wall'.

I will admit, though, to keeping the odd piece, for sentimental reasons. As I write this, I'm staring at a large lump of glazed something that came home last year. Apparently it was supposed to be a bowl, but it looks more like fossilised dinosaur dung. I still love it though.

The holidays ahead

But at least it will soon be the holidays. Despite the prospect of a summer juggling work and childcare, I absolutely love the school holidays. No routines, no washing (bodies/clothes etc), no homework, no music practice. The boys play endless games of cricket, rugby or football. And Cornwall - with all its Chelsea Tractors, overpriced lattes, and puking teenagers - beckons.

I couldn't be more excited.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

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