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Half Term – Fantastic or Nightmare?

So it will be half term soon and this is either fantastic news for you or a nightmare depending on who you are and what you do.

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You probably know what I mean but I’ll try and explain anyway with a little bit of background about me.

When I found out I was pregnant I was due to become a partner at a large commercial law firm. I had worked very hard for ten years since leaving university to get to this stage and this was due to be the pinnacle of my career. My boss seemed initially pleased for me, but things changed. An entire blog (read rant) could be written about why I then wasn’t made a partner, but that’s not really the point of this post. Anyway I left for maternity leave feeling dejected and unsure about whether to return to life in the law.

The Scales of Justice on top of the Old Bailey

I then had my eldest and my life was turned upside down. Suddenly my world wasn’t all about work. I had thought I would be off for 6 months but when she was born I knew I really wanted at least the 12 months with her. Then! Well then life changed again. When my eldest was 6 months old I got pregnant with identical twin girls and I was still off on maternity leave..

I returned to work for two months, six months pregnant with the twins (much to my boss’s disgust) and then started a second maternity leave all within 12 months of the first. It was all a bit of a whirlwind.

So then came the decisions. Three very young children and a career in law. What to do?? I considered giving it all up then. Staying at home and looking after my three babies full time. That is the right decision for some, but for me it didn’t feel right. I had worked so hard to get to that point, earned good money and wasn’t ready to give it up. So we hired a wonderful nanny (three children means a nanny is cheaper than nursery anyway) and I went back to work 3 days a week when the kids were 6 months old. I lasted 12 months.

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I thought mid way through those 12 months that whilst it was hard balancing everything then it would get easier when they went to school. But then my friends children got to school age and I realised that it actually got harder. They actually need you more. There is homework, school clubs, trips. There are school plays, assembly’s and sports days to watch. How do you do all that if you’re working long hours away from home. So I gave it all up. I walked away, and said I was going to be something else.

I tried it all. I tried lecturing, in-house roles, teaching, board membership, trustee roles. I loved the variety, the different experiences and the more time at home, I even set up a travel blog!  But I was working hard, just as hard, and I was getting paid a lot less. It was tricky to balance all the competing demands and to know what childcare I needed and when I needed it, so what to do…

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Well I have gone back. I have gone back to a job in a large commercial law firm (a different one) and so far I love it. The little minitravellers as I call them in my blog are now 4, 3 and 3. They do some pre-school and have some nanny time. I have them two half days a week, I drop them at pre-school some days, and we all have the weekend. It seems like a fantastic balance and so far, so good.

But and there is the but! What do I do about half term??? I have planned our childcare around pre-school. What on earth do we do when school isn’t on. I’m lucky that our nanny can pick up some of the slack as she still works for us, but what will we do next year when school starts. When there is around 12 weeks of school holidays to cover. What on earth do you do then. There are parents all around me wondering the same.

So it’s going to be half term soon. What are you thinking? Are you going to go on a family holiday to one of the wonderful places on our site? Are you going on wonderful day trips. Are you glad to not be doing the school run and enjoying some down time with your children? Are you ferrying them from one grandparent to another so you can work? Are you and your other half having separate holidays to cover more of the time off, or are you distressed at the lack of activities and how busy soft play is. Half term is different for everyone and I just wonder what it is going to be like for you?

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Karen (@karenjwhitlock)
    12th October 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Knowing that having this issue over childcare in school holidays isn’t an issue for me is the big thing that keeps me in teaching at the moment. I imagine it must be so hard for the majority of families to cover. I can’t wait to spend a bit more time with my girls – roll on two weeks time!

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      13th October 2014 at 12:49 pm

      Yes its a huge thing to not have, but doesn’t make the other issues easier.

  • Reply
    Heledd
    13th October 2014 at 12:24 am

    Karen, it’s so interesting to read your story. Although I don’t have twins our stories have very similar parallels. I went back to work after having my first, eighteen months later I had my second. I went back to work again but this time, it felt different. I was really missing out on the girls growing up, so three months ago I walked away.
    I’d been at Clarins ten years and had climbed the ranks to Digital Marketing Manager. I use to love my job but the last ten months after my second baby was tough and just not enjoyable. I’m glad I had those tough months though, because it made walking away easier. I now love being a SAHM and blogger. Hx

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      13th October 2014 at 12:49 pm

      Glad you are loving being a SAHM so important to do what works for you

  • Reply
    samantharickelton@googlemail.com
    16th October 2014 at 7:31 am

    For me, I look forward to half term. I work every weekend so it is lovely having Mon-Fri off with the kids without the school runs to contend with #BrilliantBlogPosts

  • Reply
    mummyofboygirltwins
    16th October 2014 at 3:10 pm

    I don’t have this problem, yet, as mine aren’t in school…however I can imagine how much hard work it is when they are! I don’t like the school holidays much at the moment as everywhere gets so busy and rammed with bigger kids!!!! 😉 Jess x

  • Reply
    amy
    19th October 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Great post! this is my first half term coming up, my 2 eldest are only at nursery but its a pain just as we’ve got into the routine its going to all stop. even though they’ve not been at that age so far use still always slightly dreaded half terms – everywhere just gets so busy! its hard enough to keep an eye on three children at once usually! thanks for linking up #sundaystars

  • Reply
    Julia @ Rainbeaubelle
    19th October 2014 at 7:13 pm

    It’s such a hard task, juggling the half term hols, I was on mat leave last year so didn’t have to worry but it’s more of a stress this year. So interesting to hear about your work life, it sounds like you’ve got a good balance going on now – plus this fantastic blog! X

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      20th October 2014 at 7:39 pm

      thanks Julia!

  • Reply
    Jess Paterson
    20th October 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Congrats on finding a job that works with the minitravellers – wow, you really worked for it by trying all those options! I have tried lots of options (in my head!). I went back after the first two but have been at home since number three, and want to go back, but the school holidays is a massive stumbling block for me, as with many families. This is the first half term that I’m actually looking forward to enjoying some downtime, as the youngest is now old enough to join in more stuff and plays independently a teeny bit! Hope you have a good time whatever you do! x

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      20th October 2014 at 7:38 pm

      Trying Jess, trying!

  • Reply
    Honest Mum
    21st October 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Fab post and I strongly believe happy parent-happy kid so you must do what feels right for you. Loved this post and it’s great to read you are so happy in your job. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts, please do add my badge or link back, thanks x

  • Reply
    Emma
    10th January 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Ah the joys of the juggling act! I have help from the mother in law for the one day a week I work for someone else – the rest of the half term I just shift my work hours into the evening as I work for myself and set my own hours from home (as you know) but, I have friends who work full time and have to juggle the holidays – one thing to bear in mind, and what might work for you more so once the children are all a little older, is holiday clubs, there are some great ones locally and it’s set during ‘nursery hours’ so you can drop off early and pick up late if you’re at work all day 🙂 x

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      11th January 2015 at 8:01 am

      thanks Emma, I’ll have to pick your brains on those holiday clubs

  • Reply
    Emma
    4th February 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I work as a branch manager for a major bank and have a 4 yr old. I was lucky enough to return from maternity leave for 3 days per week but they were really long full on days. Last summer i broached the subject of doing 4 shorter days. Being in a large branch there are 2 other managers so my request was granted. Finishing work at 2.30 is much easier to use school holiday clubs as most finish by 5 (not great when work finishes same time) and family are more willing if I am back home for 3pm – if you say you’ll be back at 6ish it’s a long slog for someone to help. I dreaded school holidays before school began but so far with a combo of us taking holiday, grandparents helping fill gaps and holiday clubs it is working just fine! Love being there to pick up every day and cook tea, read books, have cuddles… Feel blessed 🙂

    • Reply
      Mini Travellers
      4th February 2015 at 9:46 pm

      Emma that sounds fab, maybe something for me to consider,thanks for commenting

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