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Emily Writes: How to survive the school holidays

Spinoff Parents editor Emily Writes has all the tips you need to get you through the last half of the July school holidays.

I said to my husband earlier in the week “These school holidays are unending!” and he said “Emily, it’s 10am on the first day. Are you drinking wine in a mug?” and it was in that moment that I realised 1) I needed a bigger mug and 2) I should definitely write about school holidays since I’m clearly so good at them.

So with that in mind, I’ve spent a whole 15 minutes or so coming up with amazing ideas to help you survive this two weeks of enforced joyous compulsory family time. Let’s go.

Know that you’re halfway there

You’ve made it one week, so chances are you will make it another week. Do not think about the Christmas holidays looming ahead where we will have a soul-destroying 150 weeks with our beloved children at a time when nobody has any money because they need it for travelling and buying stupid shit nobody wants. These July holidays are actually the easiest holidays as they’re only 2,0160 minutes long. Take a deep breath – you’re almost there. This is a marathon and you’re nearing the finish line, and hopefully you’re not going to be that person who shits themselves and turns into a meme.

Play the grass is greener game

While your children watch 1600 hours of Paw Patrol, scroll through the Facebook pages of your friends who don’t have kids. Oh look – she’s just come back from Ibiza and bought a house. She has three pug dogs and her own business. Hide in the toilet so your children can’t hear you crying. She’s going to Paris for a vow renewal with her husband. Your husband taught the kids to fart in their hand and now they keep coming up to you and blowing fart residue in your face. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND IMAGINE PARIS.

Fuck you Karen. Credit: Pixabay

Tell your kids to pretend they’re dogs

Put leads on them and walk them to the dog park. Once you’re there, take their leads off and make them run until they fall asleep. Bedtimes are so much easier when you lock them in a crate. Tell the mums in that judgey Facebook group that you’ve been doing “imaginary play” throughout the holidays.

Take them for a visit to the local nursing home

Old people love kids because they’ve forgotten what they’re like. Let the kids tear around the rest home and watch the old people try to deal with it. If they get upset say “I thought you said in your day you knew how to parent. Go on then: parent.”

Tell them about global warming

Take them to the beach and show them all the ways a penguin can choke to death on bits of rubbish if they’re not mauled by dogs. Explain the Paris Agreement, anti-intellectualism and the Age of Trump. They’ll be so afraid for their future they’ll be nice and cuddly and nearly catatonic for the rest of the day.

Take your children to Chipmunks and see if they survive the terror that is Chipmunks during the school holidays

Prepare them with knee and elbow pads and a helmet. I find that giving them a pep talk before I send them in helps: “Fight and you may die. Run and you’ll live – at least for a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!”

Eat chicken nuggets in peace.

Remember, if you leave your child in the ball pit the Chipmunks staff will raise them as their own. I had a third child once. Thanks Chipmunks!

Take them to Te Papa and spend 14 hours looking at the giant squid

For his entire life my son thought the squid was sleeping because I am soft and I wrap my children in cotton wool meaning they will probably live with me for all of eternity. So every time we visited Squiddy (why hasn’t Te Papa named him?) my son would say “Oh he’s not awake! What a shame. One day he will be awake.” Then on one fateful day an old man turned around and said to my angelic child “He’s actually dead, he’s been dead a long time.” So I punched him in the face and used his walking frame to finish the job. What kind of asshole tells a baby that a squid is dead? “He’s sleeping too,” I said to my son and the children surrounding the man’s body. “Just like the squid.”

Just a regular day out enjoying nature with my children #organicsand #screenfree #thisphototooksixhourstoget #lorazepam   Credit: Pixabay

Spend 45 minutes trying to stop your child from running in the water at the beach

It’s two degrees but take your kids to the beach anyway. Spend the whole time trying to stop them running into the water. They’ll get their socks and shoes wet and it will be miserable and you’ll yell in front of another family and be sweaty and stressed out. But you’ll get to post a photo on Facebook afterwards proving you have wonderful family time on the beach with your wonderful family.

Go to the zoo and try to stop your toddler from screaming in the kiwi enclosure

I live in fear that one of the kiwi will die because of my toddler’s shrieking and I’ll end up on the front page of the Dominion Post as a kiwi killer. All my toddler wants to do is go into the kiwi enclosure. I clamp my hand over his mouth and tell him that the kiwi will eat his face if he makes a noise, but he still screams with excitement when he sees it. Kiwi must hate kids so much. I bet they’re distraught that they can’t fly and therefore can’t peck the shit out of noisy toddlers.

Spend $50 taking your family to see a movie and have to leave halfway through because one of your kids is scared/bored/pissed themselves

Why are kids movies so long anyway? Why was Cars 3 eight hours long? It makes no sense. Nobody needs that much time to tell a story. Especially when the story is just car wins race eventually. Movies are too long and Peppa Pig is only like five minutes. Thank God for the people who make Peppa marathons on Youtube. The 336 hour one is just the right length for school holidays. Also, be prepared for at least one meltdown when your child spills their popcorn one point five seconds after you bought it and gets upset because the superhero movie is not for children for some inexplicable reason.

Sit in the fecal matter at the public pool

Who doesn’t enjoy a warm urine soup to sit in? Code browns are as common as unidentified matter in the shower drain at the public pools. School holidays in the spray pool are a time for floaters and we all know our own child’s turds are easier to handle than someone else’s. Watch the poor underpaid pool staff deal with crap – for once in your life it’s not you handling it. What could be better?

Mmm I’ll take the excrement soak please. Credit: Pixabay

Start up a small crack factory in your shed so you afford school holiday programmes

Your boss won’t let you have a day off because we live in a capitalist nightmare. You get the honour of paying $80 a day for some sixth former who is probably as high as a kite to sit and paint rocks with 100 other kids for four hours while you try to complete eight hours work in that time.

Go on a holiday!

Have just as much stress as you always have but in a new environment. Look at the beach through the window as you do endless dishes because the bach doesn’t have a dishwasher. Spend most of your time trying to stop the baby burning themselves on the fire. Spend the small amount of money you have on a holiday that seemed far more relaxing in your head than it is in reality. Listen to the kids say “I’m bored” and “I want to go home” over and over and over and over again. What’s more fun than flying with children? Your child getting an ear infection five minutes into the holiday and screaming for the entire plane ride while a woman getting a connecting flight to Ibiza glares at you. Don’t look at me like that Karen – your dogs have breathing problems.

Write passive aggressive comments on Facebook about how much you love the school holidays

May I suggest “Well, I love my children so I spend every second of the school holidays aching with a fulfillment so agonising it’s almost unbelievable.” Spread some low-key insults based on your particular situation. For example, “I don’t abandon my children for work so school holidays are just a continuation of joy and wonder for me.” Or “I actually work an actual real job so school holidays are so satisfying it’s almost vulgar.” Or “Well I love every millisecond with my children – why would you even have children if you weren’t going to make it your life’s work to surgically create a pocket in your stomach flesh for them to live in for all of eternity?” Try to add “they’re only young once, you’ll miss this time together” wherever possible and caption all Instagram photos with #schoolholidaymagic #teamworkmakesthedreamwork #sunshineeveryday #sohappyishitmyself #Sofuckinghappyicouldfuckingdie #ourloveisasbigasthisdeadbloatedwhalewefoundonthebeach.

Enjoy your children

Cherish every moment for in less than a minute your children will be fully grown adults and you will be in a rest home dealing with a bunch of asshole parents bringing their asshole kids into your space. Watch the little brats run around and think:

“These parents are unbelievable. In my day, I loved the school holidays! The school holidays were for family. We enjoyed every second, cherished every moment, and were so blessed it was physically painful.”

Emily Writes is editor of The Spinoff Parents. Her book Rants in the Dark is out now. Buy it here. Follow her on Facebook here.

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