?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Our column opens up the life of a single mum – juggling life, love, work and of course kids on her own.
Sal Higgins is an author and journalist and mum to five kids, ranging in age from 19 to two, and is now raising them on her own. Her estranged husband has the usual alternate weekend arrangement, which means most of it’s down to her. She lives just outside London with her kids and their dog, Jamjar.

Here, she tells of her new life, the ups ands downs, the laughs and tears and the search for a new love – which, of course, will be her children’s new dad.

School holidays. Love them, loathe them; it’s six weeks of fun and challenges along the way. I like them. I like not having to follow the school routine, that the clubs my kids go to are ‘on holiday’ and that we can have long lies if we want. Not having to be a place is fantastic. And our late movie nights snuggled on our soft squidgy sofa together is beyond fab. Maybe I need to get out more – but for me, it enriches the soul.

During the summer months, I take my kids on holiday – and then sign them up for various sports camps in the area for the rest of the time. And of course they spend some time with their father. He’s still being difficult, quite unable to move on, and I think gets great joy out of separating the children from me. But actually, it is during these times, that I get a break.

I sleep. Spend hours of catching up with favourite TV shows and get to work without feeling guilty about not being with them. And then I sleep some more. And my children return to a re-energised and invigorated mum. And so the holidays go very quickly for me.

But for many the school holidays are tough. Parents who have to work and organise child care have it the hardest. Six weeks of paying childminders and holiday clubs is expensive. And maybe the reason why so many young teens end up hanging round parks or walking about the streets looking for Pokemons. (Oh and don’t get me started on that bonkers craze… I seriously do not get it. My kids love it of course, but I hope it crashes and burns quickly, as I’m seeing too many children walking about looking at phones – AND NOT AT THE ROAD!!!)

Anyway, I digress…

Back to the holidays. For one, I think teachers and kids shouldn’t get six weeks off. I mean what other professional gets all this time off? And I think kids gets bored with six weeks’ holiday… even with all the clubs and holidays, I personally think it’s too long.

I think three weeks’ off is enough. And the next three weeks should be spent in a summer school – give student teachers this job; let them take classes and learn how to deal with kids/lessons. Get the children back to school being busy; maybe have more sporting events and activity clubs?

And the teachers can use these three weeks, working, but catching up. Working a shorter day, but developing lessons and organising.

I think if the holidays were just three weeks’ long, parents and children would all be much happier. And OK teachers wouldn’t like it, but there are still all the other holidays to look forward to… petition anyone?