Beating Off The August Monster
Written by
Fi Phillips
May 2012
Written by
Fi Phillips
May 2012

It isn't even June and yet I'm already counting down the days until the summer holiday begins. No more getting up at 6am. No more preparing packed lunches, reading school newsletters, or scouring the house for change to pay for miscellaneous school fees. It will be peaceful, restful, and above all organized. Who am I kidding? I know from past experience that days, no, hours into the holiday, my two little darlings will be fighting and demanding my attention. 

" Mum, she hit me."

"No, I didn't. I just patted him."

"Mum, I want someone to play with," from my son.

"Mum, I want some time to myself," from my daughter.


I'll begin to envy my husband escaping to work, grabbing the car keys from him when he returns so I can run away to the supermarket. My precious time for writing will be devoured by what I've come to call the August Monster in the form of trips to museums and parks, refereeing my children's disagreements and demilitarising the child created war zone that I used to call the lounge. 


I do, however, have a few coping mechanisms for this time of year, methods that drag my sanity by its heels through the holidays.

  1. Lists - if an idea occurs to me during the maelstrom of the holidays, I note it down, creating a list of inspiration. I usually keep this list on the note app on my mobile phone but other years I've carried a small notepad with me. It might just be the tiniest seed of an idea but by leaving myself a note, I can examine the idea in more length once the children are in bed.
  2. Picking my children's brains - the wonderful benefit of having children is the chance to throw creative ideas around with them. To be fair, they're never short of ideas themselves, often setting them down in PowerPoint presentations or creating little books with paper and pencils. It gives brainstorming a completely new slant.
  3. Projects - I set my children up with a project and while they're engrossed (which doesn't always last long), I sneak away to my laptop and write. You'd be surprised how much work you can get done when you know you only have fifteen minutes' grace.

This year, I may add another weapon to my arsenal in defeating the beast. I've decided to get up before my children on a morning to write for as long as their dreams keep them. Fingers crossed, my husband doesn't want to chat.

Let's be friends

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