Dealing with Mum Guilt During School Holidays


Since returning to work full time six months ago, there have been changes to the way I parent, due to time constraints and no longer being able to be there for everything, as was possible when self-employed or working part-time flexible hours. 

Although I love my job, and it excites me to be progressing in my career after many years, it is impossible not to feel some level of mum guilt when I can’t make that show and tell session or end of term open day with their teachers. 

This reaches a whole new level, however, when the children aren’t even in school. The school holidays, those glorious six weeks of summer, two weeks at Easter and Christmas and the three half terms in between are all opportunities for the guilt to creep in as there’s no way I could take all that time off as annual leave. 

Instead, these are some ways that I deal with the mum guilt during the school holidays.

Book Up Clubs

School holiday clubs can get booked up far in advance, especially if they are good and fun for the kids. Look ahead and organise for the children to have somewhere to go and something to do during the holidays whilst you are working. There are clubs for almost everything these days, it doesn’t just have to be football or art. If their friends are also booked up, all the better, so get planning in advance.

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Arrange Play Dates

Another way to allow the children to spend time with friends during the holiday is to organise play dates. If they have plans with friends, it will give them something to look forward to, whilst also saving on the childcare for that day. However, etiquette does require you to return the favour, so make sure you have a day of annual leave to do so.

Be Clever with Annual Leave

Speaking of annual leave, there are tips and tricks out there to make the most of your annual leave allowance by being savvy with bank holidays. I must admit, I have opted for days off surrounding bank holiday weekends over Christmas and Easter, and it has given me a longer time off, without using too many of my days, so it’s a great idea if your work are flexible. For two week breaks, I usually try and take half of it off, but over summer, I prefer to stick to a few days off at a time, spread out over the six weeks.

Organise Fun Activities

For the time you do have off work, make it count with fun activities for all the family. I love that working full time allows me the chance to spend a little more on days out, making it worth the things I do miss out on over the year. Or, if cash allows, why not book a mini-break for your time off. We are planning Disneyland Paris for a couple of days over the summer, which will really make the most of my annual leave and give us all lasting memories.

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One on One Time

I have three children, so it can feel like I never get quality time with each of them. I have started making a conscious effort to organise things with each of the children separately where possible, to give them that one on one time with me, whether it’s a weekend away together, or just a day out somewhere local.

Call on Family and Friends

If you are working but you have friends or family members who aren’t, see if they are able to have the children to avoid them needing to be in child-care the whole time. I am fortunate that both my husband and mum are teachers, which means they are off during the school holidays, but I know I am in the minority, however, it is still worth seeing who might have more flexibility and want to spend time with the children.

I always feel less guilty when I know that the children are having fun, so organising activities for whilst they are off, with and without me, is a great way to combat the mum guilt during the school holidays. It can be tough working full time as a parent, but making the most of the time you do have off, asking friends and family for their support, and reminding yourself not to beat yourself up are brilliant ways to lessen the blow.

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