But I realized over the last school holidays that there was something in particular about that book that had stuck in my mind. They suggest in the book that you make your house the fun house to hang out at. The fun house for your children's friends to spend time at - a house in the community where everyone knows they can go if they want to see friends. They suggest that getting a pool is great when you have teenagers.
Since we're renting and aren't going to be building a house anytime soon (well, really, in my lifetime), I never envisaged that the pool would be a part of the deal.
But I did always imagine that my house might be that fun place to be. Especially with lots of kids. And yet it's not. I like having kids over, but I'm not initiating great gatherings of teenage boys to play computer games all day while I bake endless amounts of food for them. I'm not organizing fun craft afternoons for the girls.
What happens is that I get to school holidays (and this is not just a working thing, I felt the same when I was home full time) and I kind of want to hibernate. I think I want to escape a little from the intensity and frantic pace of life in term time. And my kid's are happy enough too. No great cries for playmates or visitors. Our inner introverts kick into gear big time.
I struggled during the last holidays to be OK with this. This is me and my family and we're not who I thought we would be. We all get peopled out quite quickly. And I wonder sometimes if being in a largish family fills up a significant part of the people energy quota and if you're introverted that quota isn't bottomless (mind you, the Hughes' have four children so not much of an excuse).
My gut feeling is that I do need to make more of an effort and push on through my comfort zone (but, boy do I feel like life is a lot of 'pushing through' at times).