Most parents I know seem to look forward to the summer holidays; weeks of fun, plans, and days out with their little ones. Spending quality time, making precious memories. But, I’m not most parents. I’m one of those that dreads the summer holidays.
After working hard on my mental health over the last few months and writing our summer bucket list, I have to admit that for the first time in as long as I can remember, I was actually looking forward to the holidays. Spending quality time with the boys, and making and documenting some new memories.
The first couple of weeks I really held my own; I managed to keep myself together when it was all getting too much. We started ticking off some of those bucket list activities, and I truly thought “Yes, I can do this. Just stay strong.” Dealing with Jacob’s behaviourial difficulties, whilst also handling a 4 and a half year old who is at the stage of testing boundaries. All was (unusually) calm on the usually rocky seas.
We rolled into the third week, and I. LOST. MY. SHIT. Not so much emotionally, but I became the shouty mum. The one we all try not to be. The boys were turning feral. We were all out of routine. I wasn’t getting much work done due to not being alone during the day, and then I was just too tired in the evenings. But in an emotional sense, I was still holding onto being positive. The Husband had the following week off work so we had a few days out that I’d planned, and then only two weeks of the summer holidays left…
Week five. Only last week, in fact. The worst week of the summer holidays, ever. The joy of having Daddy at home had worn off, and we were starting to wind down a bit. But Noah, he decided to do a complete flip and instigate behaviour like I would expect Jacob to. Of course, J encouraged it by going along with it. This is when I had a complete emotional breakdown. Tears. Hopeless cries for help. Disappearing to my bed. Curling into a ball. Wanting to completely disappear.
I now feel like the worst mum in the world because I realise that we didn’t even leave the house for three days after that. But on the flip side, I think I really needed that time to recover from my breakdown. Both physically, and mentally.
Now we’re into the last week of the summer holidays and we’re back to ticking off those final items on our bucket list. I would like to say we’re all a bit more chilled again. I’m feeling and coping a little better, but N is becoming more of a handful every day, and J is having his fair share of meltdowns and awful behaviour too. I’m hoping that once they’re back to school and in a routine again, they’ll calm down a little!
Facing the summer holidays when you have mental health issues, and you’re the parent of a child with additional needs, is BLOODY HARD. But we’ve almost made it; with lots of great memories, and some very bad days. Though, nothing in life is perfect, is it? And that’s what I’m about – keeping it real.