Sunday 19 February 2012

Time Out

It seems as parents we can do little right these days. The pressures of working to provide for your family, cooking a wholesome meal, helping with homework, doing all the other household chores and admin. Taking children to clubs, lessons and giving them social time with friends. And then of course quality time together as a family. That thing that we all feel so dreadfully guilty about because we feel we simply don not do enough of it. I do not condone taking children out of school without good reason, but like many parents I do take my children out at carefully selected times in order for us to spend some quality time together on holiday within a reasonable cost. For instance this coming Easter holiday I am taking my boys out (with authorisation) for two extra days. This knocked a huge £1000 off the price of our holiday and made it affordable. My children attend the most wonderful village school and with permission of the headmaster are permitted 10 days additional leave for family holidays and occasions etc. There are guidelines as to when this can be taken and it is certainly not taken for granted by any of the parents, but very much appreciated. Any decent parent never takes their child out of school for anything other than illness or the occasional holiday to spend some time together as a family away from the everyday pressures of life. There are indeed parents who do not ensure their children attend school and pay no attention to truancy. But I think this is an entirely separate and far more important issue to the odd family holiday. That is my general view of the situation. My personal circumstances are somewhat different to most, in that the father of my children passed away in 2009 after 2 years battling cancer; my boys were just 7 and 5 years old. We are very lucky in that we were left very well emotionally equipped and had time to prepare and we have coped well. We have rebuilt our lives with fond memories and since 2010 have had a wonderful new man in our lives. I am extremely happy to be remarried to the wonderful Jonny and my two little boys have the most amazing step-father whom they adore. We are so fortunate to have rebuilt a stable and strong family environment. However…..we are now a military family. My husband is currently posted overseas. The ability to take my children out of school on a small number of days a year allows us a family to spend much valued weekends together that we would otherwise be apart. With my business commitments, my husband’s work commitments finding dates for holidays are challenging to say the least. Due to our experiences of loss, experiencing what can be the harsh reality of life and being a single parent for the most part, hose times when we are together as a family are so cherished. A few days out of school in exchange for time with my husband and my two little boys ….. Seeing joy on their faces and watching them do boy-stuff with their step-dad after the sadness they have been through, well Mr Gove…for me it’s a no-brainer and I think as a government you have far more serious issues to tackle.

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