Now we're into September, families country-wide will be back into the rhythm of school and working weeks after the different pace of the long summer break.
While school holidays may be lovely for adults and children alike, they often put additional strain on working care-givers, who need to find and fund childcare, or need to find ways to stimulate young minds and pass the time. It’s important to acknowledge the range of experiences, it’s OK to find the holidays taxing, it’s no reflection on parenting skill or on love, despite the social pressure to report everything as glowing and fun.
The transition into holidays and back into term-time has reminded me of the benefits of rhythm and structure. There is a way that they provide a sense of holding, of predictability, that can be great for mental health. We sometimes feel a sense of mastery and comfort in knowing what comes next, it may even enable a sense of safety.
On the flip side, a change of pace mixes things up beautifully and the increase in variety and novelty can be stimulating and releasing. Stepping outside the usual routines helps us to perceive things differently, to notice more and perhaps to reflect more. This is all true whether we are parents or caregivers or neither.
The trick is to appreciate wherever we find ourselves, term/work time or holiday, lest we waste energy and lose presence by hankering after what it is we don't currently have. If I've learned anything this summer it's that nothing's perfect, however much you anticipate it or wish it to be, life is always a mix of light and shade, and it can all be embraced.
What have you noticed over the summer? And how are you going to be different this autumn as a result?