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Yes there have been some lazy, crazy days ... but I'm glad it's over

It's official. Summer is over. In the coming days, kids all over the country will head back to school and parents everywhere will heave a collective sigh of relief that things will get back to normal at last.

Summertime can be wonderful, but whether you're a stay at home parent or one who works outside the home, keeping children happy and occupied when they're not at school can also be extremely challenging.

In the good old days, kids were turfed outside to play, whatever the weather.

But things are very different now because we've all become more aware of the possible dangers lurking out there.

We may not want to be so-called helicopter parents - hovering over our children's every move - but the fact is that our offspring have far less freedom than we ever did.

We don't just let them leave the house and return before dark, like we used to do.

Now, many of their days are filled with a detailed spreadsheet of activities and play dates, all of which need organising.

Granted, this summer has been far easier than others because of the good weather, but all that free time still needs to be managed, at least to an extent.

Now that my eldest is in secondary school, this was the first year that I had to negotiate a three-month break.

Suddenly, I understood why the wiser mammies used to laugh at me when I complained about the length of the primary school holidays. Eight weeks is one thing - twelve weeks is quite another.

nerves

Frankly, I think we should all be given a medal for getting through it with our nerves (mostly) intact.

That's not to say that we didn't have fun, of course, because we did.

As a writer, I work from home, which means I'm in the lucky position of being able to fit in the day job around my children's hectic schedules.

I don't have a commute and I technically don't have to be at my desk between nine and five, which is a fantastic freedom.

By the same token, I still have to deliver the goods, which means long nights working on my laptop when everyone else is asleep. That's why I have to admit that I'm looking forward to normal service resuming when they go back.

I'll be able to work uninterrupted during the school day once again and hopefully achieve far more than I have since the end of May.

I'm a little melancholy too, though.

Even if I sometimes struggled with the seemingly endless hours of downtime during the holidays, I know without a doubt that I'll also miss those lazy summer days when we didn't have to watch the clock.

I'm old enough to recognise that, like parenting itself, the days may be long, but the years are short.

These golden summer times with the kids - when we have nowhere in particular to go and nothing in particular to do - will all too soon be just a distant memory.

forever

Part of me wishes that the summer could go on forever and we could just coast along like we have these past weeks.

Perhaps it's the part of me that dreads the thought of the school run on a stormy winter's morning or the return of homework. But all good things must come to an end, and, hey, we always have the Halloween break to look forward to.

Crazy as it sounds, it's only eight weeks away.


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