In the main, I enjoy the school holidays with the kids, but I’m relieved school is back.
The holidays didn’t go as I planned. I like to organise a lot of day trips and outings; I like to make the time intentional, even if we don’t go away for a proper family holiday. Now that the kids are back at school, I took a breath and the thought ran through my mind: I don’t think the school holidays went well.
I’m a high achiever. I like to challenge myself. I’m a bit of a perfectionist in terms of personal growth. It’s a blessing and a curse. I remember when I came back from doing a cycle in Laos with Save the Children, and my husband said to me, “Kelly, you don’t need to save the world every day.” It’s that sort of thinking — the make everything wonderful, fix everything and strive and strive and do and do and do — that can get me down. They can be good qualities, for sure, but there’s also a danger there, a weight. The heaviness of discontentment so quickly creeps up on me and I tend to see all the benchmarks I missed instead of seeing the achievements made.
School holidays didn’t go as I wanted them to because I wasn’t where I wanted myself to be. My husband has been working further away from home and for the past six months, I’m so very often on my own with the kids. That’s ok. I’m used to that…but at the moment I’m weary in my spirit and am struggling to find the joy. There are periods in life that are like that. Right now, it is what it is. Right now, I’m heavy.
When that thought came over me about the not-so-great holidays, I stopped myself. I stopped myself because I know the eyes I look out of right now are heavy and not clear and bright. I let go of the heaviness for a moment, and looked back over the snaps I took over the past 2 weeks.
The younger kids chatting under a broken umbrella while their older sister plays soccer.
Watching the kids pull out games they haven’t had the opportunity to play with for a while.
Making finger food platters for the kids to eat for lunch. They love it.
A beautiful morning tea at my big sister’s place. We didn’t even see the kids: they just disappear and play for hours with their cousins.
Catching the City Cat Ferry in Brisbane on the weekend Dad was home.
Exploring the HMAS Diamantina at the Queensland Maritime Museum at South Bank, Brisbane.
A foggy early morning drive out to my sister’s place in the country.
Looking at Aunty Emma’s weaner calfs.
He wanted to take her home with us.
The kids played with our DIY Play Tablecloth for days.
Cubby under the table.
We spent more time at home this holidays than we usually do…days on end. I tend to get a bit cagey when I’m at home too long (without even a trip to the shops)…but it was a great opportunity for the kids to play creative games extensively, we reorganised the toys and I enjoyed watching them get in a groove. These Lottie Dolls were a hit.
My little sister and her three kids came to stay for a few days. Crazy with a lot of kids in a small house but it was great…and we had good chats.
Big cousin; little cousin. It’s wonderful to spend time with family.
We drove the hour and a half one morning to drop Dad to work for another stint (to give him a break from the long train ride) and then we went to the beach for breakfast.
Love watching the kids explore.
Run away from the waves! LOVE THAT LAUGH!
I saw two of my three sisters on this particular day. It was an emotional day in a lot of ways, but I felt so blessed by the love and care of my sisters and I felt a wave of happiness wash over me and this is what it looked like.
I fight the discontent with the truth. I say to myself: Look Kelly, look at all the things we did! It was a good school holidays! The kids played and laughed; you spent time with family and friends; you loved and were loved. Good-good things.
Sometimes you need to celebrate what’s there instead of looking for something else.
Because there’s joy in that.
Sometimes you need to let go of the heaviness and intentionally see things with different eyes.
Because there’s truth in that.
Sometimes you need be okay that things aren’t great and know the journey is sure.
Even as the path bends.
I don’t think the school holidays went well…but they did.
KellyJuly 16, 2014 at 11:26 am
🙂 The holidays didn’t go as I’d planned either! I wish I had of taken some of those types of pics along the way, because they would be great to look back on.
It’s great that you can reflect back on it all and discover that the holidays WERE actually good.
TierneyJuly 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm
Your car-mat-sheet idea was one of the high lights of our holidays. We had a friend over and the boys made it together. Thanks for making my school holidays better. We also tried geocaching for the first time in a local park – also an idea from you. Success doesn’t mean that the best you’ve ever done becomes the new minimum standard. Sometimes everyone needs to chill and recuperate a bit. Have an awesome term Kelly.
JodieJuly 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm
I love this post, I love how you understand yourself and your own tendencies, but then actively find a way to challenge them with the truth.
I often leave it at just “oh, I’m a perfectionist, and things didn’t work out how I wanted”. Maybe if I take more time to look at the truth I will find that actually they were closer to what I wanted after all!
PrueJuly 17, 2014 at 7:17 am
This post really spoke to me, I can really to relate to what you’re saying. I’m definitely a “check the tick boxes” type of person, sometimes I’m so busy trying to tick all my boxes that I actually miss the wonderful, crazy, special moments which make life all that bit better. Slowly I’m learning that I can let go and actually enjoy the unplanned spontaneous, every day things without trying to orchestrate everything.
Kate @ One Small LifeJuly 17, 2014 at 9:44 am
I really, really love this post and relate to it so much. It’s beautifully expressed and just look at those photos – you had a great time, even if you didn’t think you did!
I struggle with perfectionism, and I think it’s easy to brush that aside, to minimise it. But it actually is important to acknowledge it and try to combat it because look at how damaging it is? Look at how much is steals from us? Look at how it robs us from the joy that is right there, while we’re busy trying to find some other, better, more perfect thing.
Thank you so much for sharing this.
KatApelJuly 21, 2014 at 11:02 pm
I’m hearing you in my heart, Kel! Your honesty is such an affirmation to other Mums (to *this* Mum!) who ‘sometimes’ feel less than perfect…
We had a very busy holiday! But there were times I felt bad because there was no ‘holiday treat’ (Well – there was for ME with all the buzz of the Bully release/launch… but not so much for the lads.) But the boys were boys and had a blast and the holidays were not long enough… again… for all the projects they had in mind! I think maybe the fun for them was in the fact that they didn’t have to ‘go’ or ‘do’ – so they could just stop and BE! (And on the land, there is so much that two boys can do. And jobs helping Dad are fun!)
I’m glad you took the moment to put things into perspective and be a little kinder to yourself. Hugs, lovely. xx
PS Stunningly gorgeous photos.