KILDARE PARENTING COLUMN: The kids are back at school... now it’s time for OUR break!

It's Just a Phase

Ruth Chambers


Ruth Chambers


KILDARE PARENTING COLUMN: The kids are back at school... now it’s time for OUR break!

Sarah and Aidan

Isn’t that just the best sound ever? They are the words I uttered to a fellow mammy in the school yard last Monday morning as the bell went. She wasn’t as overjoyed to be sending her kids back to school as I was. She really enjoyed the break. Indeed, so did I, but it was about a week too long! Had the last week been shaved off the Christmas holidays, I would have been in mighty form.

That week, which felt like six rolled in to one, was a testing one. We were home from the cousins’ house in Galway, the novelty had worn off the Santa toys, all the chocolate was gone and Daddy Chambers had returned to work.

All I heard was “can I have a snack?”, “I’m starving” and “I’m bored”. To be honest, I’m fearful now for the summer holidays!

I get what that other mammy in the school yard meant when she said she wasn’t best pleased that the holidays were over. She probably hates doing school lunches and attempting to get the kids out the door on time. I don’t enjoy those tasks either, but I’d take them over school holidays any day!

There’s only so many trips to the park I can take and I don’t particularly enjoying pretending to be Spider Man for long periods of time.

I also don’t like listening to Aidan and Sarah bickering over nothing. Sarah cries if Aidan looks at her some days, and he loves to get a rise out of her — and he was in flying form for it during that last week of the holidays.

Even Aidan and Sarah were gagging to get back to school and see their friends.

Almost every morning of that last week, one or both of them asked if they were going to school that particular day. They missed their little buddies, missed the craic in the playground and the structure of the day.

As I hopped back in to the car last Monday after dropping Aidan off, I headed straight home to bask in the sound of glorious silence. And boy, was it lovely.

So too was drinking a coffee while sitting on my arse in peace. I didn’t have to only listen to the Trolls soundtrack on Spotify, nor was CBeebies going in the background.

I sat in my armchair, listened to Tom Waits and just looked out the window. It was exactly what I needed.

Don’t get me wrong now, I love having the kids around, but just not this time of the year. I’m more of a summer kind of girl, the kind that throws them out in the garden for the day to play!

I may change my mind come summer holiday time now that I’m a stay-at-home mammy though!

The novelty may have worn off the Christmas presents for the kids, but for myself and Daddy Chambers — well, we only got started last week. At the time of writing this column, I was actually on a Ryanair flight with himself and our kids were nowhere near us!

Our Christmas gift to each other was a three-night getaway to Lisbon.

It’s something we have never done before as parents. We haven’t been away from Aidan and Sarah for more than two nights since they were born.

Up to this point, the only time we ever left them overnight was for a wedding. I’ve been away, Daddy Chambers has been away but we’ve never actually gone away together for any longer than two nights. I think the last city break we were on in Europe together was about two years before we got married!

I can’t tell you how we got on in Lisbon because, as I said, I’m currently en route to the Portuguese capital but I’m sure we will have a ball.

I can’t wait to wake up naturally. Indeed, I can’t wait for three nights of sleep in a row where there isn’t a small, sweaty human lying in between us.

I can’t wait to have an uninterrupted shower without children coming in requesting things such as cream crackers or ham sandwiches!

I can’t wait to chat to my husband without being interrupted. I can’t wait to sit down for a meal and not have to leave the restaurant the second we finish eating. I can’t wait to browse the January sales without having to worry about my children running around the shop. I can’t wait to enjoy a glass of wine in the middle of the day.

In all seriousness though, I think a decent break away from the kids is important for couples. Our own relationship gets swept to one side in the midst of washing, vacuuming, work and kids’ activities. We rarely do anything for just us, and we’re fine with that. That’s life. That’s the life we chose and we are a happy family.

However, to escape the daily grind will be amazing. I will even be able to hold Daddy Chambers’ hand when I’m strolling around! Jaysus, I haven’t done that in a long time. I only hold little hands these days!

A big shout out to the grandparents and friends who helped us out.

It literally wouldn’t have been possible without them. I hope they enjoy the bickering; the moaning; the tears; the pangs of unexplainable hunger; and trying to get them to sleep!

We will be thinking off you as we drink our wine and do our shopping!

I’ll fill you all in on how we got on next week. Until then folks!