Are we nearly there yet?
No, that’s not the irritating whine of small children you’re hearing from the backseat of the car on a long trip – but the cries of thousands of shell-shocked, sleep-deprived parents, wondering when the hell it’s time to go back to school.
The Christmas holidays may have started late, with most UK state schools not breaking up until 21 December, but unlike last year – when peace on earth resumed on 2 January – this year teachers and pupils reunite on 7 January.
Which is, by my calculations, still DAYS AND DAYS AWAY.
Don’t get me wrong – I, like many mums, dads, grandparents and carers, have loved spending precious time with the little rascals over the festive season. Seeing their faces as they opened their stockings on Christmas morning, taking them to the cinema to see the new ‘Mary Poppins’, spending New Year’s Eve prodding them to stay awake long enough to see the fireworks... it’s been fun.
But I’m ready for it to be over. I’m skint, tired and craving a return to routine. I’ve done every activity I can think of: baking, play dates, bike rides and trips to dreaded Dante’s Inferno (otherwise known as soft play). I’ve had enough. And I’m not the only one.
Scores of beleaguered parents have taken to Twitter to express in a suitably jaunty and acerbic 280 characters the gamut of emotions that the extended Christmas break brings.
Some seemed to be struggling with getting through a single day, while others were keeping quiet in the face of the type of parents who claim to be “mourning” their kids’ return to school (WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?).
There’s even been a hashtag.
And it’s not just parents who seemed irked by the presence of small children EVERYWHERE. Even regular people – those who are able to sleep, wee, shop and talk, blissfully child-free – are puzzled.
We know what you mean.