The summer holidays are great fun when you’re a kid.
Less so when you’re a parent.
The summer is meant to be the best part of the year – flip flops, sunglasses, cocktails, sun loungers and no cares at all – but the truth is that when you’re a parent of a baby, toddler or preschooler, the school holidays which you lived for as a student and probably loved long into your pre-child adult years suddenly seem unnecessary and long.
Longer even than the Easter Holidays. Reeeeally long.
Here are some of the reasons I think the summer sucks when you have babies and toddlers!
1. You’re in the swing of things, you have a routine or at least a vague idea of what you do to fill your time each day and then *poof* all the baby and toddler groups that you’ve come to rely on stop, leaving you hanging.
3. It’s so hot that everyone finds it hard to sleep, and anyway it’s still light at gone 10pm so the children are convinced it’s not bedtime yet. Tired children are a joy and a delight, particularly when I’m tired myself because that’s when I’m at my most patient.
4. They’ll also be up at the arsecrack of dawn (I’m talking pre-5am; is that even a real time? Yes, yes it is) because the bastard birds start singing and the bloody sun comes out. The concept of 5am being too early to eat breakfast is lost on them as is the idea of going back to bed, or just being a bit quiet.
5. If they do get into bed at a decent hour, they’ll be woken up by neighbours having summer barbecues and generally enjoying their evenings outdoors (but you can’t close the windows because of the heat).
6. You could escape it all to go on holiday but it’s so expensive and way too busy.
7. You should get danger money for applying suncream to a toddler and it has to be done 10 times a day.
8. The phrases ‘where is your hat?’ and ‘put your hat on’ will get very boring very quickly.
9. There is nothing stickier or more difficult to contain than an ice lolly.
10. Paddling pools are a summer must-have but they take ages to put up, are too cold, too mucky, and usually have a slow leak. You can read all about my love/hate relationship with paddling pools here.
11. You feel like you really should be outside making the most of every sun-drenched second but goddammit, sometimes you just want to veg out on the sofa and watch films and so do the kids, but if you do that you get a good old dose of mumguilt.
12. The smell of the nappy bin. Let’s not even go there.
13. The moment you have your child down for a nap, someone bastard starts strimming their lawn.
14. Wasps. To be fair this is rubbish even before you have kids but when they threaten to sting your small, sticky children it unleashes a new kind of crazy in you.
15. The ice cream van pulling up outside just as they’re climbing into bed. OK less of a problem with babies but my preschooler is all over it. I’m not sure who told her about the Ice Cream Van, I suspect grandparents.
16. Sand. I hate sand, possibly an irrational amount. I especially hate trying to get sand out of cracks in car seats. We live absolutely no where near a beach and yet the car is always full from the sandpits that have sprung up in every playground within a three mile radius.
17. Boobsweat is the pits at the best of times, but when you’re breastfeeding, it’s really something else entirely… Thank goodness this one is in the past, I’ve never felt so unglamorous.
If this is all ringing a bit true, here’s a cocktail recipe I recommend to help you through it:
Put some ice in a tall glass. Add a nice slug of whatever gin takes your fancy, and then a splash of elderflower cordial, and the same amount of apple juice. Top up with soda water (or lemonade if you prefer it sweeter) and garnish with cucumber for no reason other than it looks cool.