It’s that time of year again where we get to take some time out of routine.
Gone are the rushed early mornings, the, ‘oh no I forgot to get sandwich fillers for lunches’, and the panic over the school phone number flashing up on your phone..
Oh yes, it is Summer.
Summer is supposed to be a time for us all to relax, a time for being together, a time for fun, a time for adventure, camps, camping, water parks and everything in between…
Well, that’s what society, Instagram, Pinterest and bloggers tell us anyway.
But for my family and me, Summer is without a doubt the worst of the school holidays; at least with Christmas they get new stuff to keep them semi entertained and quiet, the nasty weather helps ease that mammy guilt of, ‘not doing enough with the kids’, feeling.
We, ‘should’, ourselves way, way too much.
We see the pictures of all the holiday going families and we think we ‘should’ be doing that or at least trying to.
We see the ‘perfect’ family all playing nicely together out the back garden and we ‘should’ ourselves, we should be doing that too without the fighting, crying, arguing…
We, ‘should’, ourselves way, way too much.
I gave up, ‘should-ing’ ,myself recently and I highly, highly recommend it.
When I feel a should creeping into my thoughts, I tell it to leave.
It is liberating.
I am doing my best.
We don’t go on many days out as a family of five, but when we do, we ensure it’s suitable for all our family, not just a typical family.
There are days when it’s just the four of us as Ethan is in respite, even then we scope places out for accessibility, wondering if we could bring Ethan next time.
We spend most of the Summer at home.
I let them run wild.
I let them away with not eating dinner.
I let them fight and shout while I pretend I can’t hear them, I will only intervene if there’s a blood curdling scream, you know, that scream?!
I give them ice cream after ice cream.
I buy water guns and let them go ‘mad’.
At the weekends we try to get out as a family of five, sometimes we argue all the way there and back and other times we sing crazy songs in the car.
Sometimes the best part of the trip is the car ride …
I hide in the bathroom, praying for the day to speed up.
I try to convince them that 10am is a perfect time to watch a family movie.
I make milkshakes, just to get rid of the almost but not quite rotting fruit.
We play catch the flies, which, by the way, burns a lot of their energy.
If they are bored, I give them jobs.
If they complain, I take away toys, mobile phones and ice creams.
When I feel guilty for not doing enough with them, I play a game of superheroes, Lego, burping, wrestling or we draw and colour.
I have bought more outdoor toys than I care to recall just so they feel like they are out all day, even if it’s only the back garden or local park.
I am doing my best and that is OK with me.
There won’t ever be a family holiday for us five, those days have gone and that’s something which is hard to admit.
We don’t go too far on our days out because we can’t, but we do our best to ensure that there are days out.
I wrote a blog at the end of Summer last year about all the places we visited over the Summer, (which was originally planned just for me to keep track of the places which suited Ethan).
I published it when someone asked me about a picture of Ethan I had shared.
Families like mine were so delighted to finally read an inclusive list of places, telling them what to expect when visiting.
I was honest and open in every review and told each place we visited that I would write about them.
Some were delighted. Some were a tad anxious, but I assured them that I was merely looking for places where a wheelchair wasn’t an issue and a place to change my son, if needs be.
Sadly, not one of these places had a, ‘Place to Change’, bathroom however, most did have a disabled toilet.
I was sick of reading about family friendly places to visit which in my eyes were family friendly places to visit when you have a typical family.
I got sick of clicking a link and seeing it wasn’t suitable at all for my family.
“Someone should do a list which is actually family friendly regardless of ability” I moaned out loud.
“You’d be ideal. Maybe you should be the one to do that” my husband suggested.
That’s the moment I learned the difference between good should-ing and bad should-ing…
While the bad should-ing does enter my mind, I try to focus on the good should-ing…
I should play with my kids while they still want me to,
I should spend time doing nothing with them,
I should spend time planning a great day out for us all,
I should relax out the back garden and let them draw around my body like they’ve discovered a dead person, (it’s not a bad game, I have to lay still, it’s actually very relaxing!)
I should ignore the picture-perfect family splashed all over Facebook,
I should delete Pinterest too….
I am sure you get the idea, I hope you all enjoy your Summer as best you can with the life you have….
All any of us really should do is make the most out of what we have right here and right now.
Happy Summer… which is over in six weeks, but who’s counting?!
This was originally published on Firefly