The final meltdown
Rose Cohen fears she won’t make it to the end of the holidays.
Gauteng parents, I envy you and your companion provinces up north who’ve already survived "the straw that broke the camel's back" phase of the school hols. We coastal parents still have a whole 40 odd hours to go - and I’m not coping so well.

But since every catastrophe calls for crisis management, I’ve pieced together a 10-Step End of Holidays Survival Plan to see me to the finish line.

Step 1: Hide the smoothie-maker

Almost two months of history repeating itself daily has led me to this one (what can I say, I’m a slow learner). If you’re under 12, the smoothie-maker is a funnel for food experiments and apparently anything goes with milk - even tomato sauce and mustard.

Step 2: Change my name
Mom does not live here any more. Seriously, Mom is no longer the word. It’s the most overused expression in the world, if not the entire universe. I bet all those Martian moms out there are sick of it too. From now on you can call me anything else you like. On second thought, don’t call me. Please.

Step 3: Look for literature starting with the words: Dear Parents
There’s a letter somewhere in the house telling me to do my duty before the first school bell rings. If you read between the lines, it says something like: ‘We know you’re busy and stressed, but we really don’t care. Now go cover your child’s text books, label the stationery and stock up on healthy lunches, pronto.’ The Undersigned Teachers of 2009

Step 4: Password protect my computer
Despite the fact that I have mastered the art of having a pee in under 30 seconds, every time I return to my computer, something weird has happened. There are unspoken for downloads on my desktop and that lovely family photo I saved as wallpaper has been changed to a Star Wars poster.

Step 5: Don’t talk to other school parents…
Otherwise there will be conversations like this one:
Me: “So are you all set for school on Wednesday?”
Perfect Parent: “Oh yes, but where did you find that InstaMaths book? Waltons was all out.”
Me: “InstaMaths book? What InstaMaths book? We’re supposed to have an InstaMaths book?”

Step 6: Tune out
There’s only so much so-called white noise a person can take. I’m keeping my iPod and earphones handy. Shrieking, whining and endless DSTV jingles, be gone.

Step 7: Then tune back in, on cue
Just yesterday my dear preschool daughter, tired of being ignored, switched off my computer at the wall socket the very second I had polished a brilliant piece of work. Well hey honey, that worked, and now you’ve won yourself a round trip to the corner.

Step 8: Laugh a lot
I’m going to hang on to holiday memories such as this. My nine-year-old son had an insanely happy look on his face. He told me he was ‘hacking’ into this new programme called Mozzarella. “Mozzarella?” I quizzed. “Yes Mom, Mozzarella Fox,” he said, pointing to the Mozilla Firefox icon. Oh how we laughed.

Step 9: And then cry
It’s inevitable. Squeezing on those old school clothes and seeing how they no longer fit makes me weepy. My neighbour is bringing her daughter round, all dressed up and drowning in her clean, crisp Grade One uniform. She’s not even mine and I know I’m going to cry.

Step 10: Now you go
I’m all planned out. What have I missed? What do you still have to do before the new school day dawns?

What's in your Survival Guide list? Are you sad to see the end of their holidays?

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