All the bags have been unpacked, and it’s the time to go. Back to school!
All over the country, I can hear sighs of relief (with a little bit of wistfulness no doubt) as the summer vacations draw to a close. However much parents love their children and yearn to spend extended time with them, put them together for more than a month of routine-less existence and the best tempered parent can flare up.
Maybe it is just a pre-school/primary school phase, when we parents have to fill up time with camps, activities and holidays? I haven’t got a clue as to what the next phase holds. I can just attest to the fact that summer is the time of peak stress for parents, quite contrary to what the term ‘vacation’ should ideally indicate.
Why do we let this happen to us, I wonder. As far as I remember, while growing up, summers were vast time lands of nothingness. Maybe a library book or a train trip to somewhere (once in a few years, that too!). Sometimes, visitors would turn up and family picnics or trips to some local point of interest would be the high point of summer. But with the advent of modern life, the summer vacation has taken shape as a huge enterprise in itself. If you do not believe me, you just need to look at the newspaper supplements or just eavesdrop into building conversations in the months leading up to summer.
One needs to ‘prepare’ for summer now. As a city dweller, living in a nuclear family ensconced as I am in my city apartment, spending more than a month with only my child and nobody or nothing else to entertain us, sounds like a daunting prospect. So I fling myself on to the bandwagon called ‘summer vacation planning’ with great gusto. And that is just the beginning.
Vacations are also the time when one’s spouse (and if you are a working mother – you, yourself!) gets any chance to wrangle out some time out of work commitments to spend time with the family. And since this time is so precious and hard-earned you intend to make the best of it. And thus begins the search for the best holiday destinations, itineraries and if you are travelling far, visas and cheap tickets.
It’s quite a laugh really. In the name of escaping stress, you bring upon more stress to yourself! But then, I really do not see what’s the way out? Endless hours of TV viewing and other electronic based activity can only go so far. Play dates, craft activities and day trips require ingenuity levels that most of us may not have.
I am writing this as an open-ended letter to all parents. There are no solutions or explanations that I can end with. Just some rambling wonderings.
Do you think that we are over-thinking the holidays and it is time to introduce ourselves and our kids to the absolute joy of doing nothing (With due credit to Seinfeld)?
Nidhi Dorairaj Bruce is a Freelance writer from Mumbai who also manages a parenting website : thechildrensdaily.net . With no formal education in Parenting, she has been getting on-the-job training ever since her daughter, affectionately referred to as ‘the kidlet’, arrived on the scene 5 years ago. You can connect with Nidhi @typewritermom , nidhibruce.com