Day 1 of the school holidays and the fridge is already empty, the sofas are piled high with bodies I don’t recognise and our home has been re-categorised as a hostel for depraved youth by wotif.com.
Some of the younger parents amongst you, who still have cuties for children, will embrace the impending school holidays enthusiastically. I hear you on Twitter, excited at the prospect of spending quality time with your offspring and the appeal of freedom from the constraints of homework and routine. For you, the holidays represent sleep-ins and cuddles, days spent in pyjamas or on the beach, a fuck off to routine and a welcome return to free fall.
For the rest of us, and particularly those like me who try to work from home, whose sweet little mummylovers have since developed into the teenage spawn variety, the holidays represent a freefall into the dark side, where in order to survive I have to become Katniss from the Hunger Games.
Here are my tips for surviving the school holidays with teenagers:
- NEVER leave cash in your purse, lock up your alcohol and change the pin number on your credit cards hourly.
- NEVER leave the house without evicting them first.
- REMIND them that the cooktop is out of bounds as is smoking out of windows because you still haven’t got around to replacing the batteries in the smoke alarms.
- BE very suspicious if the recycling box, once full of empty plastic bottles, has suddenly been emptied, the garden hose is shorter in lenght and there’s an ominous herbal smell in the house.
- HAVE a minimum of fifteen frozen pizzas in the freezer at all times and gallons of milk.
- DELETE your credit card details from all online food order, Box Office and online porn providers.
- AS tempting as a lie-in sounds, make sure you get up really early to fully appreciate the morning before they rise around midday.
- ALLOW an extra half an hour window in your daily routine to flush toilets and pick up wet towels.
- BUY copious amounts of deodorant.
- BUY the newest copy of the Urban Dictionary for translation purposes.
- TAKE an online course in the language of ‘Grunt’.
- PRACTISE in the mirror saying ‘TURN IT DOWN’ without resorting to the F word.
- ACCEPT that you will never be able to access the sofa directly in front of the tv for the whole two weeks.
- ACCEPT that you will never be able to find the remote control for the television when you want it.
- TRY a mindfulness strategy that convinces your brain that Xbox background music and zombie-killing noises can be restful.
- DON’T be offended when your suggestion of doing ‘something together’ activates hysterical laughter or the gagging response.
- EMBRACE the new-found freedom of having children that want nothing more to do with you.
- EXACT your revenge by embarrassing them in front of their mates. Dancing, singing, telling stories about when they were young, walking around the house bra-less, leaving the toilet door open, getting the photo albums out or calling them their pet names all work.
If you accept that your house is now a 2 star hotel and that those children whom you dedicated your life to now want nothing more to do with you (other than as a source of instant cash or as the hired help), you are winning, my friends, and you will survive.
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