I am a firm believer in switching off, tuning out and taking a break.
I have had moments where I took every opportunity to work, and found I was working seven, fourteen, twenty one … days straight. Even if it was half an hour here, and ten minutes there, I was not giving myself one day off.
I fell into a hole, I was grumpy, horrible and intolerant.
I made a pledge to take a day off a week; one that could be enjoyed and participated in by the entire family.
Sundays is our Family Day.
It is a break, not just for me, but for all of us, from everything. Sometimes we leave the house, sometimes we don’t. The only rule is that we do something fun that involved everyone, and that no ‘work’ is done; Grumpy and I become a little ‘irresponsible’ and make a point of just having fun.
Today was no different; and the break, for me, was very much needed … I needed to chill, laugh, relax and just, well, have fun!
We loaded the bikes up into and onto the car (there are a lot of bikes), packed the first aid kit, because I know if I pack it, I will never need it, but if I leave it home, we will, and load ourselves up into the car.
Off we go! Road Trip; a not uncommon event for us, something Grumpy and I have been doing for near on fifteen years, and something the kids have grown up with.
Thus, they know how to make their own fun and keep themselves amused when in the car. We make it to the house three doors down from us, and Chippie is slapped across the face by Monkey Boy; deservedly so, according to Monkey Boy.
We’re not much further along when the fun and in-car activities bumped up a notch, mostly at Chippie’s expense. The Biggest One and his exceptionally advanced brain threw his legs across his increasingly exasperated younger brother’s legs and said “Bite me. I dare you!”
Well, things can only proceed along certain lines when this frivolity commences. It doesn’t stop there, you can add layers of excitement and increase the difficulty. The kids went for a group of activities, commencing with the Littlest One attempting to take a chunk out of Biggest One’s shin, and Biggest One working his way from squishing Littlest One’s head, then poking him in the eye with a besocked toe.
The kids are also really conscientious about inclusiveness and don’t like to leave anyone out.
Some may see this as one kid feeling left out and working his way into the excitement, but that would never occur in this household … or car as the case may be.
Not one to be left of out such immense enjoyment, I turned and said “How many frigging times do I have to tell you?! Do not tell you brother to bite you! Or anyone! Argh!”
Suitably shamed, they shut up for about 27 seconds.
“Did you pack any lollies?” enquires Godzilla, totally oblivious to the furiousness wafting around the car, so thick you could rip a chunk off it and shove it down your offspring’s throat.
We arrive at our destination and embark upon the bike ride we had planned.
Then stopped for a bit of a play in a playground along the way, where Monkey Boy of recently acquired I Hate Parkour And Will Never Climb Or Jump On Anything Again attitude climbed into places he probably shouldn’t have climbed, and jumped off things, and onto things, that many would consider not-jumpable on (or off).
Chippie just got filthy.
Fun had, energy burnt, we head off to visit some friends who lived nearby. Grumpy Pants assumed his usual Be Prepared And Read Directions Before We Head Off position.
It was therefore that a full one hour and seven minutes after the “Be there in 15 mins” text was sent to our friends that the GPS on the phone kicked in and we discovered we were heading off into the wilderness in completely the opposite direction.
We wend our way back to whence we had come, two blocks from where we should have been before Grumpy decided that The Force was leading him in the wrong direction, turned around and head off in entirely the wrong direction.
I attempt discussions with him about perhaps not relying solely on his alleged “force” and perhaps reading the frigging Melways before we start. Just an idea.
It is, however, entirely my fault, as I know how phones work better and I should have made it tell him where to go before he got so lost.
At this point, I did tell him where to go.
We arrive at Friend’s house five minutes past the time I actually wanted to leave their house and head home.
We spend some time there, have coffee, the kids burn of even more energy and it is time to leave for our approximately two hour drive home.
We almost make it. For the first hour and fifty minutes all is well; there is minimal fighting, whinging, relentless questioning or even speaking. It is lovely.
Ten minutes out and I hear a whispered “Go on, bite me! I dare you!”
This is followed almost immediately by a somewhat concerning “OW! STOP!”
I turn to find Chippie with a good portion of Monkey Boy’s forearm clenched between his teeth. His increasingly firmly clenched teeth. So firm, in fact, that my tummy felt a little squirgly.
That, I thought, is going to really fucking hurt!
I don’t know if it’s because I have a disorder which does one of two things; I either freeze in highly stressful situations, or laugh uncontrollably, but I was unable to react accordingly.
Mostly, I put it down to the fact that since Monkey Boy worked out he could manipulate Chippie into doing what he wanted, and Chippie acquired teeth, he has been telling Chippie to do stupid shit like this.
I put it down to the fact that my head had been beaten against the Don’t Tell Him To Do Shit Like That brick wall so many times, so frequently, for so long that the required brains cells for adequately dealing with this scenario had been severely damaged.
I align it to the fact that I am on the edge and have, for a second, just given up.
“MUM! Tell him to stop! He’s really hurting me!” Tears swim into Monkey Boy’s eyes.
“Did you just tell him to bite you?” I ask.
“Yes,” he says. It sounds a little more like a sob than a word.
“Well,” I say.
How fucking stupid are you, I think, biting my tongue so I don’t say it out loud.
“How fucking stupid are you?” I ask. “What the hell do you expect him to do if you keep telling him to do it? And what do you expect me to do if you keep telling him to do it after I tell you to stop and after explaining to you that this is the likely consequence!?”
And with that he lost one dollar to the Swear Jar, a week’s worth of pocket money and missed out on the lovely Chinese food platter we did for dinner.
In fact, they all did.
Grumpy and I had a lovely, relaxing, quiet evening meal.
Yes, I believe it is important to take a day off, have some good, quality family time and fun activities to do together …