School holidays are a lot easier than they used to be. Whilst other parents delighted that they had the opportunity to spend more time with their offspring, I would bluntly point out that, as a teacher, school holidays were a continuation of my working week. Except the three children I would be in charge of were poorly behaved, easily bored and socially draining! Soft play, craft afternoons, woodland walks, nature bingo, cinema trips, park visits, library lending, baking failures, town trails, den building, bike rides, let’s get every single toy out of the toy box and trash the living room days, I’ve done them all!I’ve served my time. Now I have to do nothing! Except, every holiday, I eventually develop a conscience and suggest we play a board game 🤦🏻♀️
Before board games were an option, we had to play with the kids and pretend we liked it.
This was not the scene in our house when the kids were little. We obviously went wrong somewhere. Our living room would resemble Hamleys from a different dimension; the one which had been picked up and transported to the downtown Baghdad. The scene chez moi was oh so different.
1. Firstly, there would only have been one parent in the room. We would have played Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who had to stay and play with the devil children and who could escape to do jobs.
2. We wouldn’t have been smiling. We would have been grimacing. We would be ruing the day we chose rock over paper and were wishing we were cleaning the kitchen floor or emptying the nappy bin.
3. Our kids wouldn’t have been sat so calmly. Sam would be glaring at Joel because he was breathing in his oxygen. Joel, meanwhile, would have been running round the room with underpants on his head. And Abigail would be bum shuffling everywhere, knocking over everything in her path.
4. Five minutes later, the poor parent would be in the middle of a war zone as Sam blamed Joel for ruining everything by merely existing and Abigail had surreptitiously bypassed the mayhem and was eating coal on the mantelpiece!
Ten years later, the toys have been consigned to the loft and we instead torture each other in a different way. Board games. Family games night can be compared to an endurance event. Preparation is key. All devices are switched off and left out of reach because concentration is vital. Distraction is a sign of weakness and will only add minutes, if not hours, to this tactical marathon. Secondly, sustenance must not be neglected. As your energy reserves deplete and your brain becomes muddled, a stash of savoury snacks and sugary sweets will bring you back to life like a defribilator and sustain you until this ordeal is over. Finally, crank up the heating because it will make the little blighters sleepy and lacklustre, so much so that they are easily beatable within the first hour or they give in and retreat to their bedrooms to strip down to their baby suit or fall into a deep coma, hopefully erasing all memories of the unfinished game downstairs.
Nobody ever tells you when you’re pregnant that parenthood is actually a constant mind game of deceit, meticulous planning and downright, barefaced, transparent LIES! And nobody ever warns you that the baby brain, which worsens with each subsequent pregnancy, will make you forget such ordeals, so that come Easter, I’ll be telling Alexa to ask the kids, “Anyone for Monopoly?!”