Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Five years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week she reflects on the smashing summer holidays… and the relief that they’re done.
Hey you gorgeous ones, we made it through the summer holidays! Yes, I’m uncharacteristically chipper. There’s a spring in my step and less cash in my bank account.
We did it, truly we did!
I’d like to take a moment to reflect on all the times I wanted to pack my bags and simply drive away, but didn’t. Another moment for holding my tongue while our kid developed her principal form of communication – contradicting me – and one more for not developing a drinking problem I couldn’t kick as soon as term started.
We all muddled through a long few weeks of “Mummy I’m hungry” and “Can we have the paddling pool out again?” and no one got seriously hurt.
During the summer holidays we took our daughter to her first music festival (I was performing and they offered me a family camping pass; it wouldn’t have been my first choice for a relaxing few days away).
The festival is an annual eco-friendly, mainly vegan, carbon-neutral type of affair, so basically the opposite of how we are as a family. I briefed everyone on how we’d cope without bacon and put less petrol in the car than usual, which seemed like the least I could do. How bad could compost toilets be?
Skip forward three days and we are different people. We have witnessed each other in states usually reserved for the first year at uni; we’ve held each other over steaming piles of human shit and sprinkled sawdust over each other’s offerings. Our kid has seen her first burlesque, her first contortionist, her first dude so off his face on ketamine he was slow-dancing a bin.
We milked a goat. We can’t go back to being the people we were before.
She still asks questions which I cannot answer: “Mummy, why did the pretty lady take off all her clothes and have a man in a dress squirt water over her?”; “What is tofu?”; and “Can I have some nipple tassles?” would be three examples.
“I briefed everyone on how we’d cope without bacon and put less petrol in the car than usual, which seemed like the least I could do. How bad could compost toilets be?”
Camping was a revelation, as three days in a tent will always be with the people you love the most. I’ve never known extremes of temperatures like it before. Sunstroke days and Arctic nights meant little sleep. We once found a Bavarian circus troupe rehearsing under our awning. Good times.
As we drove away, lightning struck a local wind turbine in a storm of apocalyptic proportions, which we took as a sign that we are more of an ‘indoor’ family than we’d previously assumed.
Summer was long and relentless. There was no chance of relaxation between work, shows and childcare. By the time school started this week I was at a particularly low ebb health-wise, and needed a break.
As much as I love having my girl home and doing stuff together, I’m happy to embrace that bit of me which craves space and silence. I used to feel guilty to want a break as I know I’m lucky to have my brilliant kid and loving husband, but I reckon it’s OK to need to sleep in, to sit in a cafe with a book, to leave the washing until we lose a cat in it.
It’s been a tricky few weeks but she’s now a very grown up year one student, and she’s got the attitude to go with it. The new shoes are on, her long hair is perfectly styled and her backpack is one of those bloody expensive posh ones that all the older kids have.
After last year’s difficulty settling in, I’m just happy to see her sprint into school in excitement this year, even if I’m selling a kidney on eBay to finance it.
With all her exciting and ‘colourful’ experiences of the summer festival, I just really hope her new teacher doesn’t ask her what she did over the holidays.
Read all of Daisy’s Motherhood columns here.
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Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.