In the olden days, I'd be so excited about the prospect of an extra day out of the office. It would inevitably be spent in a pub, or if the sun came out, in a pub garden. I'd sleep, drink, party and repeat. Then along came the kids and a huge overdraft from two maternity leaves. Goodbye to lie ins and spontaneity. And of course it's not all bad - hello to amazing days spent with delightful little people who fill my heart in a way nobody else can. But let me tell you, a bank holiday isn't the same when it starts at 4.03am (true story). Here's how to cope with a bank holiday when you are a parent.
1. Like the scouts, be prepared. Book the Ocado order early. Include rosé, because you never know, the sun could come out. And also include popcorn, because when it pisses with rain, at least you can watch movies without having to pop to the shop first.
2. And if you are feeling really flush, book a cleaner for Tuesday. Then you can embrace slovenly habits safe in the knowledge that this too shall end.
3. It will rain. At some point it is bound to rain. Accept this.
4. You'll start the long weekend saying no to crisps and ice-cream. By Monday at 4pm the kids will be wired from sugar and carbs. But we all overeat at the weekend, let it slide. They can be back on organic chickpea casserole on Tuesday.
5. And lower your expectations. Rather like Christmas, everyone is very excited but it never quite goes to plan. A day at the seaside sounds great until the toddler is savaged by a seagull (ever the pragmatist, he still ate his chips, covered in sand, whilst wailing). It's ok, you can filter the Instagram pictures and if you listened to point 1 at least there is wine in the fridge when you get home.
6. If you go away, make sure there is decent wifi. Netflix can be an excellent parenting aid.
7. But also remember that it's ok to be bored. It's way better to be bored than to be both knackered AND broke from trying to fit a bike ride, a trip to the zoo and homemade pizza into an afternoon. Boredom beats tantrums, and encourages creativity. The best Duplo castles (as seen on my Insta) have come from boredom days. NB my kids destroy the castles immediately, which dispels their boredom too.
8. On holiday (and therefore during bank holidays) rules are made to be broken. Don't sweat it if they don't go to bed on time. Normal life, and deadlines, will resume at 9am on Tuesday, so enjoy it whilst you can.
9. Don't forget, the ex-PM left his daughter in a pub. If you are doing better than that, chill out and open the rosé.