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  • helenmcnutt

Stressed or busy this summer holidays…

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Recently I have been talking a lot about how getting up at six am is the only way for mums to survive the summer holidays.

Well you’ll be glad to hear I’ve already failed. It was my birthday/wedding anniversary over the weekend, and there was just a teensy bit more drinking left to do on Sunday night so I slept terribly, and didn’t get up early yesterday morning.

Last night’s sleep was a disaster too, mostly because I hadn’t got up at the right time that morning. So I was all set for a nice big fat lie-in today (ha! ha ha haaaaaa), when the dogs started whining at half past five. I lay in bed telling myself really it was just the birds, until I could stand it no longer and went down to let them out. And then I was up, so I stayed up. I wrote for an hour outside in the garden, on our huge, crumbling wooden table, which my husband rescued from a school skip eight years ago. And although I know by this afternoon I will be feeling gently sick with tiredness, right now I feel pretty pleased with myself.

Because another thought came to me this morning. I was journaling about how busy I am, starting up a new business teaching mums how to write, and how stressful this is going to be over the forthcoming holidays with all three children at home.

And as I wrote all this I realised, actually, it doesn’t have to be stressful at all.

It’s just that that the message we’re all absorbing is HOW STRESSFUL LIFE IS RIGHT NOW.

Some people really are living through stress. Covid has put them through the very worst type of hell, and I think about those people every day. And then I think about how lucky we are. And that in comparison, I really don’t have the slightest claim on stress myself. And that to sit here and psyche myself up for how stressful the summer holidays are going to be, is just me being a dick.

It is me ignoring the fact that I have three happy, healthy children whose company I love. That I have a husband whose company I also quite like, who will be within yelling distance, even if he does work for some of this holidays. It is me ignoring the fact that we live in a beautiful place, surrounded by wonderful friends. It is me ignoring how excited I am about my new business.

I think I’ve been mixing up busy with stress. After four months of bombardment from the media, my psyche has slid into that national-state-of-emergency feeling, when actually, everything is fine.

Or at least it is at 7.43 am, while everyone else in my house is still fast asleep.


Update at 9.22.

Everyone else woke up.

I segued from writing at dawn in a sunlit garden, to dealing with my family. My middle child had weed all over the bathroom floor in the dark. My youngest was in tears because the hand - or possibly foot - of her cat keyring had fallen off. My husband refused to get up. The dogs had diarrhoea, hence the five thirty whining. My eldest lost, then found, three of his quails. Due to the special kind of lateness only our family seems able to do, we were late for an important school meeting.

But it is fine. It is all fine because all this is just busy, not stress.


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