Katelyn Catanzariti writes...

As the summer holidays approached, I began to note a distinct change in attitude in the playground at drop off.

People seemed to be excited, almost giddy, at the prospect of the looming break.

“‘I can’t wait until I don’t have to get them up and out the door so early every morning,’” one said.

“‘Oh god, yes! I can’t wait to just be able to hang out in our pyjamas, or just throw the kids in the garden for the day!’” said another.

As their fervour grew, so did my own sense of dread.

What was the matter with me? Why wasn’t I excited about this special time with my kids? It was the first proper school break I had experienced with all three kids at home, as previously they had been in all-day nursery settings.

Rushing the kids out of the door first things in the morning was one of my favourite times of the day! Second only to putting them to bed at night.

It’s not that I don’t adore them, because I do. It’s just I have diagnosed myself with a whinging intolerance. And that seems to be their preferred method of communication.

They, in turn, seem to have an allergic reaction to ‘being outside’ and ‘playing quietly’ and ‘listening to me’.

The combined effect of these aversions make for testing times. I feared at least one of us (me) might need hospitalisation.

Six weeks. 44 days. 1,056 hours.

Some mothers welcome the extra time with their children that the holidays bring – me, not so much.

Before the holidays I stockpiled games – water balloons and pistols; paper and paints. I bought up half of Roald Dahl’s back-catalogue and dreamed of building a fort in the garden in which we would read, perhaps while picking blackberries off the bushes and sipping homemade lemonade.

Ha, bloody, ha. I made it to 8.39am on the first morning before turning the TV on.

Into our third week now, I have begun to use the TV as a way to bribe the kids into getting outside and ‘playing’. My three-year-old son was caterwauling and moaning for ”cartoooons” yesterday and I frogmarched him to the back door, plonked him on the back step and instructed him that if he wanted to watch a cartoon he had to go and have 15 minutes of ‘fun’ in the back garden.

As I got dinner ready, I watched him wander morosely around the garden half-heartedly whacking a stick against the climbing frame and filling and emptying a bucket Hin the sandpit half a dozen times before he sidled up to me, eyes hopeful.

We’re off abroad this weekend. I don’t expect much to change: ‘whinge’ is a language understood throughout the globe. But at least I’ll be able to work on my tan while the kids drive us to distraction!

Anyone interested in how we’re coping can check out my blog, "Summer Horrordays".