It’s the summer break again. Yes, it is that moment which parents look forward to with mixed emotions – while it is a relief in a way, it is equally, if not more, stressful. Last year around the same time I had mentioned just how difficult it is to plan their entire summer break smartly. Well, nothing much has changed this year. I am as unplanned as last year, and still don’t know how I will keep the two occupied during the next two months. I have now finally come to the conclusion that the break comes too soon every year, before I have even got a chance to plan anything.
What makes it equally difficult to choose an activity for them now is that they have started deciding for themselves what they want to do. Gone are the days when I could take a call for both depending on my work schedule. Now they want to have a say in every decision which involves them. But the one thing I have realised over the years is that it is futile to make them do something different from the rest of the kids, as they don’t have the company they are used to.
This, however, is still manageable. What is more challenging is to manage the series of communications and instructions that the school initiates at the end of every academic year, and at the beginning of a new one. It starts with their new academic year fees, and like every parent who send their kids to a private school would know, it happens to be the most dreaded yet eagerly awaited notice ever. Like every year there is a fee increase. As a parent, it is instinctive to calculate the difference and the percentage by which the fees have increased. Suddenly the mommy network on WhatsApp, BBM, SMS, and Facebook is totally abuzz. Everyone curses the school and threatens to change schools, take action against the school and protest. After venting out at every forum, we parents end up meeting and greeting each other at the fee counter paying the money grudgingly. No parent would want to go through the process of admission to another school. Also, in no way am I making light of the situations where parents stay on and fight huge and arbitrary fee hikes.
So, once the admission to the next academic year is secured, the next round of notices begin. There’s school bus enrolment, the lunch/snacks coupon purchase instructions, the school identity cards, school essentials, school uniforms, school shoes, the list is endless. And just to make our lives a little more complicated, the school chooses to set different dates to each of these activities. ‘Juggle the dates’ and keep the parents busy seems to be the school’s idea of ensuring we do not think about the fee hike a lot. But then you end up realising that the hike is not just in the school fees, but also for the bus, uniforms etc. Vicious circle really. Well, who said parenting was easy?
In the end, every year brings with it a new experience worth remembering. And before I know it, the break I hyperventilate about is over. The kids go back to school and create new memories, make new friends and have fun. That’s their agenda for the next academic year.
Happy holidays everyone.
Priyanka Chaturvedi is a media recruitment consultant, full-time mum, part-time social worker, voracious reader and a blogger