Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Summer stresses - RM column July 6

WE are already a month into the very long secondary school holidays and I really wonder how parents cope.

I am currently waiting on a passport so the Young Wan can head off with her Nanny for hopefully about six weeks holiday. And it cannot come soon enough for either of us.

I have been luckyish in that I have so far this summer often brought her into work with me. It is not ideal, far from it, but at least I know she is occupied and supervised.

She is bored.

Too young to be left alone, too old to be minded, too young to work and old enough for the devil to make work for idle teenage hands.

She has read loads which is fantastic, and while I throw my hands up to heaven when I see her reading Enid Blyton - she has also devoured Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Terry Prachett's Johnny and the Dead among many others.

It has been hard to prise Harry Potter from her despite having read it over and over since she discovered him years ago. So I am glad she has broadened her reading list.

I feel guilty that I did not or rather wasn't able to make better arrangements to keep her occupied and entertained over the long summer.

The Gaeltacht was ruled out because of the cost which is approximately €800 for the three weeks, never mind all the extras such as pocket money, and travelling for me to go see her.

All of which is a massive pity because intensively speaking Irish for three weeks would have grately helped her going into an exam year. Never mind the fun and social side of it all.

There are courses and weekly summer camps but the ones I have seen wouldn't suit as they are not easy for parents who work or indeed those who do not have a car.

Another factor making the summers longer and more boring than they are is the fact that we do not live in a housing estate with loads of kids nearby. Where kids call on each other to go out and play, okay teenagers don't play but you know what I mean.

And this is a far from unique scenario. Many, many families must finds it hard to cope, particularly when the parents work.

I said earlier I am lucky. I have been able to bring her to work, I can give her things to do, faxing, photocopying. But there have been places where I there is no way this would be tolerated never mind accommodated in some way.

Some people are lucky to have family close by they can rely on and lean on. And then there are those who do not. Summer must be so stressful.

I hope to take time off to spend with her bewfore she jets off with Nanny. Time where we can do mother/daughter things and chill out and enjoy some summer time.

I resolve to save up for the Gaeltacht next year -- I think she will love it. Until then it is back to Wuthering Heights and withered mothers.

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Curly K said...

It's amazing that nowadays, even when families do live in housing estates, because parents are working the children are never around to meet each other, spending most of their time in childminders / creches / school or after-school clubs. They really do miss out on the sense of community that the rest of us grew up it. Even if that only entailed sitting on walls for the summer bored out of our trollies - there wasn't much money for summer courses in the 70s and early 80s. At least though we were together.

Hope the summer doesn't wither you too much!

Boliath said...

No harm for her to see the working world either. You might remind her that if she doesn't knuckle down and get the exams sorted she could end up photocopying and faxing for many years to come!