Growing up, I remember my friends and I used to be beyond excited whenever the school bell rang out for that one, last time at the end of the term. Then, the song that filled the air used to be…

Holiday is coming!
Holiday is coming!
No more clanging bells
No more teachers’ whip!
Goodbye teachers, goodbye scholars
We are going on a jolly holiday!

This song was especially loud at the end of the third term because of all the holidays, it was by far the longest. We were always so excited and I imagine that our parents were too.

However fast forward to many years later…I am now a parent and whenever the holidays are approaching I realize that many of us parents don’t fully share in our children’s excitement because we are too busy trying to figure out what to do with them over the next many weeks.

Now, most moms will be hardly concerned if they cannot be fully available for their children over the long break. Instead, having been so spoilt by today’s schools which provide child care from as early as 7am (or earlier) till as late as 6pm (or even later in some places), they are more likely to cringe at the idea of having the children all to themselves without the usual help from the school.

If most moms are honest they will tell you that even if they could afford 6 weeks off work, the idea of spending every waking hour with the children for such an extended period of time is a definite ‘no-no’. They would rather that everyday, the children spend a good number of hours out of the house so that someone else can deal with their toilet ‘accidents’, constant questions, occasional mischiefs, adventurous plays, etc.

I won’t pretend that having to deal with all of this is easy peasy. Therefore considering how tasking the motherhood role is, it only makes sense to reach out for whatever help is made available out there. However we must be very careful that in our quest for help, we do not neglect our parental responsibilities over this period of time.

Truth be told – after spending so much time away from home during the school term, children deserve much more time at home over the holidays and this time shouldn’t be all allocated to nannies, aunties, grandparents, etc. Inspite of work responsibilities, mommies and daddies must also make a conscious effort to spend more quality time with their children than they would usually have done during the term. For example you could plan to take one week off during the holidays so that you can invest it fully in a time-out with the children. Or you could decide that since you were denied time off from work, you will cut down on the owambe parties and salon visits so that you can do something special with the children over the weekends. Or maybe you could make it a holiday habit of phoning home during your lunch break just so you can catch up on their day.

For the entrepreneurs, you could decide that you’ll work from home on some days or maybe close early, spend the late afternoon/evening with the children and then attend to any outstanding work when they are tucked into bed. For the stay-at-home moms you could decide that rather than watching your favorite TV program, you will chitchat with the children, read their own books and watch their own programs with them. Or you could decide that you will do more chores when the children are in bed so that you can spend more of their waking hours playing with them.

As is expected there is no ‘one shoe fits all’ rule in this matter because the situation in each home is different. Some moms are lucky enough to have more flexible options than others and mind you, the fact that one mom has more flexible hours doesn’t mean that her responsibilities are less tasking than another mom’s own. Hence I would not necessarily use the same scale in weighing everyone’s actions. Instead I would advice that we all make whatever sacrifices are necessary towards giving more of ourselves to our children over the holidays.

Yes, though places such the summer camps are important in developing socialization and recreational skills and in preventing academic rustiness, the holidays should never be only about camping out. Instead make it also about bonding more with the children. Don’t simply love them at a distance…roll up your sleeves and get into their world because you’ll be surprised at how much closer these little ones feel to their teachers, nannies, grandparents, etc., simply because they perpetually spend more time with them than with we, the parents.

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