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  • Gareth Ellis

Summer Holidays? Completed it Mate

This week is a bit of a milestone in the Ellis household.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) sees our gorgeous little girl, Emilia, take her first steps into early education as she goes for a settling in session at pre-school. It signifies two things. One, that both of my children will be at pre-school and two, that I’ve made it through six weeks with them in the summer holidays.

Whereas part of me is rejoicing/wondering how the bloody hell I did it, the other is filled with trepidation – what if she doesn’t like it? Will the other children be nice to her? I mean, she’s my baby girl and she seems so little to me still (despite the fact she’s almost two and a half.)

On the flip side this is the moment I’ve waited for since I became a full-time Daddy to these two. The moment I could step up, find more time to dedicate to my business and start making my mark on the freelance world. To get there has been tough though.

These summer holidays have been EVERY single emotion. It’s really been my first with both children and while I have generally enjoyed it massively some points have been so bloody hard – to the point I’ve questioned whether or not I could get through it.

So, I thought I’d document a few bits, including both good and bad (what I’d do differently) as a guide to any other parents – and a reminder to myself for summer 2023.

Back at the end of July I set out to be as organised as possible. I drew up a grid for the month and filled it with as many ideas as I could. Before the holidays had even started, I booked myself and the kids onto five weeks of Milton Keynes Play Association sessions and thought, that’s going to be something fun to look forward to each week.

Around that I booked a few special trips and play sessions, including the MK Playday, the Cha Char Chimps Summer Party and a couple of trips to MK Springers.

With the weather being as glorious as it was it was easy to get out and about – even if it was just to the garden. We live within walking distance of three parks and the kids love playing at all of them.

And if I wanted to check out something new, a different park or unexplored area I was spoiled for choice thanks to the likes of Milton Keynes Kids and The Outdoors Mum on Instagram – both terrific parents full of great ideas and places to visit in MK.

But what about the days when I didn’t have anything planned? The days where I wasn’t quite feeling right and could do with some time to myself. Those were the tough times. Looking at the list of jobs to do in the house and wanting to power through those in silence for a couple of hours but having the kids at your feet going stir crazy.

Those were the days I struggled. The days I should have asked for help but didn’t. The days I wondered how I’d make it through the holidays full stop.

But, I’m lucky. I have my wonderful Dad and an amazing wife who both wanted to help carry some of the ‘burden.’ I am lucky to have friends, old and new, who wanted to spend time with me and the kids, without knowing how much they were helping me just by being themselves.

Despite the hard work I think I gave the kids lots of good memories and good times, new adventures and plenty of time with friends and family – and all in all that’s a good summer in my opinion.

Here’s a few tips that I learned on this summer journey.

1: Be organised (but don’t over organise.) – Don’t plan too much, if the kids aren’t feeling it one day you have to be prepared to just go to the park or sit in and watch a film. Don’t be hard on yourself or them.

2: Check out things in your area. Instagram and Facebook are packed full of activities (paid and free) and people love to help other parents out too.

3: Lean on your support network. Lets face it, we all need help from time to time. Don’t be too proud to ask for help, even if it’s just an hour or two.

4: Cut yourself and your kids some slack. You spend enough time with the same people, and you’ll get annoyed with each other. Kids are humans and need time off from you as well.

But, remember the most important thing, you love them, and they love you. At the end of the day not much else really matters.

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