New research from 1st for Women has found that while many of the moms surveyed feel positive about school holidays, those with small children under the age of three years, as well as those with teenagers, have feelings of frustration and worry when the school holidays come around.
The moms who feel less positive about the school holidays view them as adding more to their concerns and day-to-day activities – it’s just another thing to worry about. Their feelings of anxiety stem from the need to find activities to keep their children entertained and not being able to take them on holiday due to work commitments or financial constraints – 46% are also troubled about the safety of their children during school holidays.
“Often, nursery schools close over holiday periods, much like the schools do, leaving moms with small children with few options for childcare if they are working. This is obviously stressful, as moms have to rely on others to take care of their kids,” says Casey Rousseau from 1st for Women Insurance.
“Unfortunately, the conundrum all parents face is that the schooling system, including holidays, has not been adapted to accommodate modern parenting…”
Moms who are positive about the school holidays note that they can worry less about preparing children for school, making lunches, ferrying them between extra-murals and social gatherings – and they also get a break from the traffic. Even though the moms themselves are not actually on holiday, they do also see it as a time to relax.
“Unfortunately, the conundrum all parents face is that the schooling system, including holidays, has not been adapted to accommodate modern parenting, and the world of work has not necessarily kept up with this change either,” says Rousseau. “There are, however, some useful things to consider doing as you face another period of school holiday juggling no matter the age of your children.”
1st for Women Insurance offers this advice:
- Boredom isn’t a bad thing. Did you know there are real benefits to being bored? It can boost creativity, make you more goal-orientated and more productive. Moms shouldn’t fall into the trap of feeling guilty about their kids’ lack of entertainment. A couple days of being boredom is scientifically good for them.
- Teach them a skill. Yes, these could very well be chores, but kids will benefit from learning useful things that will help them in life later. Plus, it will remove your anxiety of arriving home to a couch-ridden-un-showered-haven’t-moved-in-10-hours teen. Teaching them to cook, do repairs around the house and even some gardening will keep them busy and help you out.
- Give back and pay it forward. Getting your kids to do some volunteer work or helping out with a charitable cause is a good way to teach them to give back and make a difference to someone’s life. It will teach them compassion, empathy and understanding. Find a volunteer programme linked to something they like – that aligns with your working hours – and sign them up.
- Make the most out of weekends. If you are a working mom and cannot take too much annual leave, rather opt for a long weekend and make the most of it. Try to accommodate your kids with the activities they are really keen on, even if that means getting a take-away treat, binge-watching a series you don’t understand, or playing video games. Use the time to really connect with your kids.
- Motivate to work from home. It may not be company policy but there is no harm in motivating to your employer to allow you to work from home over some days during the holiday. Put together a proposal for your manager that covers all the questions they may ask, which shows you are organised and will be able to deliver your work.
“Most importantly, moms need to cut themselves some slack and remember that they are not alone. A problem shared is a problem halved, so speak to other moms who find themselves in the same boat. That way you can work together to plan play dates, and help with social activities and lift clubs,” suggests Rousseau.