The first Monday back to school after the holidays has come and gone and I’m reflecting a little on what we did, and didn’t do over the past two weeks.
Nix was sick for 10 days prior to the holidays so we were all out of whack after that and to be honest, the constant rain of the first week combined with both boys at home left me feeling less-than optimistic that we could steer the holiday ship in the right direction.
I had surprised myself (and Ethan!) with a teeny bit of forward-planning that saw E enrolled in a 2-day basketball camp each week. He was stoked. He was active, playing sport, socialising with other kids out of the house, learning and progressing and not sitting in front of a device, which is every parent’s nightmare right?
Ethan is a 12.5-year-old, hormone fuelled, sports-mad, go-go-go kid that desperately needed a break these holidays. 2 days each week of organized activity was all he needed as he recovered from another term that involved school days stretching from 7am-4.15, a basketball game, basketball training, two rugby practices and a rugby game each week. As far as I was concerned, some screen time over the holidays was not going to cause him any irreparable damage. I may have even encouraged a little bit of couch time if I’m honest. I needed to give my kid a break and give myself a break from the ‘Mum guilt’ we are supposed to feel if we actively permit our children to relax by using their devices.
I’ve kissed that shit goodbye.
Our two boys are happy, healthy and active members of their respective sports-teams. Motivation to participate, get moving and get outside is rife in our household – maybe somewhat lacking in my department right now but we’re not talking about ME lol! As such, removing the negative shade I was throwing at Ethan every time he picked up his phone or iPad did not propel him into a square-eyed bender, all it did was simply improve communication between us and eliminate MUCH frustrated sighing and eye-rolling.
So, I gave my big boy a break. He played some xBox, watched some Netflix, did whatever it is he does on his phone and when he wasn’t at basketball camp we had a pretty harmonious school holiday.
Family activities aren’t always easy with an 8.5 year age gap between the boys, an impulsive, almost-made-it-to-the-ticket-counter movie visit didn’t work out as E was desperate to go, yet the thought of sitting in a loud, dark cinema immediately melted Nix into a puddle of tears. In the middle of the mall. Cue family breakdown and that terrible situation where you are torn between wanting to make both of your children happy and the inability to do so simultaneously ALL of the time.
The boys needed some time apart so Dave took Ethan and they headed off into the bush for a big walk and Nix and I collected rocks, dirt, leaves and sticks and headed down to the river to throw all the rocks, dirt, leaves and sticks into it.
Later that day the boys got their movie fix, but together-apart. By that I mean, Nixon watched Charlotte’s Web on the Netflix app on our TV while Ethan snuggled with him on the couch, watching Okja (watch this Netflix Original guys! It’s freaking amazing, topical and incredibly relevant) on his iPad with headphones.
Peace was restored and with zero guilt factor from me.
How did your school holidays play out guys? Did you give your kids a break and let them self-regulate their device usage or did you keep them on a schedule?
And, this question is pretty important, did you give yourself a break over the holidays? Check out the image below for some innovative ways mums are managing to sneak in some ‘ME Time’ with their faves on Netflix – my new fave is Ozark, I’m calling it right here, this is the new Breaking Bad!
If you’d like to get Netflix ready before the next school holidays, head over to FB and I’ll gift one of you a 3 month Netflix subscription! Too easy xx
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