Linda's blog: Best Laid Plans
It’s one of those watershed moments: our firstborn is starting secondary school in September, she’s just got a phone and she's starting to go out and about on her own. Keen to encourage her to develop her social skills and independence because soon she'll be letting herself in and out of the house when we're at work, we decided not to book her into an entire summer of clubs based at her primary school and try new activities and locations instead.
Having heard nightmare tales of friends being unable to find enough holiday camps to fill the summer because they book up so fast, I got on the case in February, asked people what their children had enjoyed and started googling. I couldn’t believe the variety of options that were available. Long gone are the days of my summer holidays when we had a family camping trip and spent the rest of the time watching tv and being told to go outside and play on the climbing frame or ride our bikes (no helmets!) I was surprised to find that the summer dates weren’t yet listed and satisfied myself with signing up to various mailing lists and setting calendar reminders.
By May I had the whole summer covered and had spent enough to sink a small ship - or at least the equivalent of a few jolly nice long weekend breaks. Aerial acrobatics, art, film and a multi-sport camp beckoned and, despite the younger child moaning that it wasn’t fair she wasn’t doing the same, I was happy that I had a plan.
Unfortunately, friends then started suggesting our daughter join theirs for various activities and play dates. I countered that their child could join the camps our daughter was doing but in each case the dates or locations didn’t work and they declined. I was gutted I’d inadvertently caused our daughter to miss out.
My husband then did what I’d failed to do and read the small print. For several camps, because she is under 12, we had to drop her off and pick her up: so much for her walking to and fro by herself. There followed a major diary session when we worked out who could work from home, go in late or come home early in order to make it work, taking into account the other child we had to drop off and pick up from the school camp at a different location.
To top it off, before term had even ended, my Dad became seriously ill and I moved four hours across the country for what turned out to be weeks on end. My husband was left with two children in different places every week and no one to share the load.
We’re now half way through the break and thankfully I am now back at home and my daughter is having a fine old time. I have learnt a plan is good but flexibility is essential!Linda is a lawyer who has two children aged 11 and 7. She and her husband work full time and juggle the school run and everything else between them.