“Let’s talk about school holidays and why parenting can seem so hard…..”

I think it must be so difficult to live up to the picture postcard perfection of family life, especially during school holidays.  I am sure a lot of parents feel immense pressure to entertain and make so many memories for their children. 

Faced with the high costs of days out and an element of juggling finances to be able to pay for trips out, parents – and I include single parents as well as couples or blended families, feel expectations are high and the pressure not to disappoint children.

Coupled with this, the need to be at work, poor health, disharmony between adult relationships can add to the pressure felt.

Social media can paint a vision of what is expected – seeing other families and friends splashing out on holidays and day trips can leave a parent feeling inadequate.

As a parent, we can be harsh on ourselves – we become self-critical, judged, and inferior.  These feelings can be a throwback to longstanding feelings of low self-worth.

How can you overcome this?

  • Consider cheaper options – a day out to the local park with a picnic; a game day at home; trips to free museums and other events; create a book day at home or a day making something out of old junk; treasure hunts in the garden – look online for all sorts of cheap ideas as well as free days out;
  • Try to remember your strengths and values as a parent – you probably manage perfectly well the rest of the year with all the important tasks needed to get through the day – strangely your children will still love you for just being there;
  • Friends and family are a great resource at times like these – talk to each other about your difficulties, you may be surprised at how many parents feel the same;
  • Talk to your children about what is important to them in the holidays and weekends – you may be totally surprised to find they would cherish a day playing at home with you is an absolute treat – if they are older, they will also learn what may be your anxieties around affordability and inadequacies as a parent; 
  • If you continue to feel anxious about your ability as a parent, this may be something deeper rooted and speaking to a counsellor may help.
  • Have some compassion for yourself – you are enough x