We've heard it all before, that school holidays are a magical time of the year, and everyone will fill their websites or Instagram feeds with pictures of gorgeous families, barefoot on beautiful beaches. Usually, they’ll be laughing their heads off at nothing in particular. You know the posts we’re talking about. Are you guilty of sharing them? I might be too. 


This isn’t one of those blogs of magic though. To be brutally honest with you, sometimes school holidays can be challenging, anxiety-inducing and overwhelming. For many parents, they bring up questions about who is responsible for childcare, spending loads more money and even conflict. Entertaining little humans 24/7 is hard work. Even more when you felt like you just handed the reigns over to school and suddenly it's all back to you now! 


More often than not, us mums at Monkey Tree come out the other end of school holidays looking like we’re soldiers returning home from battle - a little frazzled, slightly sunburnt and with a few mysterious stains that weren’t there before. Definitely very ready for that first day back at school.


Now, we’re one week back into the school term and it’s time to restore something that resembles order in our minds and lives. That’s right mama, dust yourself off and get ready to renew your sense of balance with us.




1. Debrief


The first, most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone in how you’re feeling. Sometimes the best medicine really is laughter, so gather a group of your mum friends together for a school holiday debrief over a cheeky glass of wine. Sharing the good, the bad and the ugly will get the belly laughs going and release endorphins to help you destress and recover. Rest assured, you’ll leave the conversation feeling lighter and ready to take on the world.


2. Set aside some time for self care


We all know a happy mum means happy kids! So, take some time out to care for yourself. It’s likely your cup is feeling empty right now, and the first step is acknowledging it. Next comes the fun part - figuring out how you’re going to fill it back up! Now is the time to make rest and recovery a priority, even if it means you need to schedule in a few hours for your parents to look after the kids one night or pencilling out a “Self Care Sunday” activity each week throughout the term.


There’s only one person in the world who knows what will refill that cup, and that’s you! Some of our favourite self care activities include a walk outdoors, a short meditation, a herbal tea or a warm bath. Whatever your secret sauce is, remember to use it often.


3. Say adios to guilt


These days, there’s often no avoiding the fact that we need to work during school holidays. Bills and important projects don’t take a break and you might feel like you’ve spent the past two weeks torn in half. If this is your experience, you might be faced with some guilty feelings or frustration at not being able to do both work and parenting perfectly. 


Here’s the part where we tell you to shake off that guilt. Don’t get us wrong, it’s completely normal to feel this way! BUT it’s not useful at all to carry it around with us all. the. time.


Not only does guilt make you feel bad, sad, sick and everywhere in between, it can also affect your performance at home and work even more if you don’t get out from under it. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re doing your best and that no one is perfect. You got this, mama!


4. Gradually get back into a routine


Routine does absolute wonders for your kids, but it can also help you feel more settled and in control. After the craziness of school holidays, we’re sure you’ll agree a predictable life will help you all feel more comfortable and reduce anxiety around the house.


So, how can you establish an effective routine for your family? Our recommendation is to start with sleeptime. Make sure you all have set bedtimes and wake up times (and that you stick to them!). One way to make sure you’re off to dreamland at the same time every night is creating a bedtime routine which is easy to stick to.


Once you’ve set up a routine which works for your family, sit back and feel your self-confidence grow and transition between activities get much smoother.


5. Try not to overload


This one is pretty self explanatory! Now your kids are back at school, it can be tempting to fill your plate to the brim elsewhere - whether it be with a new project at work or taking on extra responsibility for others. Try not to overwhelm yourself and focus on the activities which will truly bring you joy. Before you know it, it’ll be time for school holidays again and you’ll be surprised at the amount of energy you have to share with your little ones.


6. Carve out Time to Be Alone


Daily alone time is an underrated but absolutely essential step you can take to care for yourself. Even if it’s just five minutes every day, you will be amazed at how it helps you unwind and relax. If you found that school holidays meant the only opportunity for peace and quiet was in the bathroom, this step is especially important for you!


7. Check off the To-Do List


OK, we can feel the eye rolls even as we type this! But, please just hear us out. If you think that doing chores, cleaning up and running errands is about the furthest thing from self care you can imagine… we totally agree.


While it may seem counter intuitive, checking something that’s been bothering you off your to-do list is a sure fire way to free up a load of mental energy. Doing something that will give you a sense of accomplishment, like making that phone call, washing the bed sheets or spring cleaning the pantry can spark an incredible sense of calm and relief.


Even tackling just one task per day is a huge mood booster - plus we bet you’ll be pretty impressed with yourself as well.



And, if none of these steps is the one that helps get your mojo back after the battlefield of the school holidays... there’s always retail therapy! Browse our new arrivals for a cute new outfit to show your little terrors how much you love them, even if they drove you crazy for two weeks straight.

Written by Mikhailla Fitzgerald

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