As a blogger, I (and my family) get to do some really fun things. A lot of this comes down to my ability to drop everything and be somewhere, which you can only really do when you don’t have a job and your kids aren’t in school. Given this is only going to be our reality for the next three months, you could say that I’m making the most of it and saying yes to a lot of things without really considering the consequences or the hard work involved from my end.
Case in point; going to the New Forest alone, with my children.
A beautiful renovated stables in the picturesque countryside, with no shortage of family attractions practically on the doorstop. Idyllic yes? Shame that my husband was working, but you can’t turn that kind of thing down can you?
I should say here first of all that we really did have a lovely time and I do not regret going for a second. But I’ve learned some things about travelling alone with the children…
1) Car journeys are mega whingeathons
We’ve already established that car journeys with kids aren’t the best way to spend your time, but when you’re on your own there is even less chance of you being able to retrieve a dropped crisp or toy, or being able to restart a DVD when one of them has kicked the screen and pressed a button ten minutes into a two hour journey. It is quite a challenge to constantly provide snacks whilst trying not to cause a pile up on the M3.
However, your children will not care about this little fact and will ask (nay, demand) anyway. Loudly.
And of course, despite my children having travelled hundreds upon hundreds of miles recently and actually never once needing a wee outside of planned stops (a miracle, I’m sure), as soon as I’m on my own and we are one mile past the services on the M3, suddenly there are whines of ‘I NEED A WEE’ and we’re having to dive into the closest ’emergency area’ whilst traffic whizzes past at 80 miles an hour; it’s that or have a car that smells of toddler urine all 23-degree weekend. (The wee actually trickled down and onto the shoes of the man with a broken down BMW. As if he wasn’t having a bad enough day).
Repeat for the other child (who definitely did NOT need a wee 16 minutes earlier) one mile past the next services.
2) Forget things at your peril
When you’re flying solo, then it’s impossible to nip outand get things in the evening as I’ve said before. If you’re a woefully under-prepared individual – as I would argue most people would be on just a few days’ notice – and you don’t happen to know where the local shops are then this can be pretty bad when you are staying somewhere and have nothing in the cupboards at all. Thank heavens for cereal-for-dinner!
Top tip: Pack alcohol.
3) Going to the beach is a bloody nightmare
You can’t watch your stuff and your kids at the same time, and the stuff is important but kids who are intent of flinging themselves into a very large moving body of water are also pretty important.
You can’t nip to the loo at all without packing everything and everyone up. WHO THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE RELAXING? And dear lord there is sand everywhere and this is terrible and the worst idea ever.
4) You are in charge of packing it all up again
When it comes to leaving places, I am definitely more of the children-watcher under normal two-parent circumstances. In fact most of the mess? Probably mine. I’m a nightmare.
Genuine story; on the morning that we were due to leave by 10am, we had somehow managed to sleep in past 8am, even the small one with whom I was sharing a room. This probably indicates how bad the previous evening was and how much sleep we’d all missed out on over the previous few days.
Anyway this meant rather a swift turnaround to get everybody up, washed, dressed, breakfasted, all the cups and plates washed and put away, all beds stripped and everything packed and in the car. As I went upstairs to make final checks they decided to open their suitcases and take everything out. Why? Who knows why. Who knows.
5) You will feel a real sense of achievement
Even for remarkably little. You’re in a strange place AND you managed to get the children asleep before 10pm and only drank one glass of wine as a reward before falling asleep on the sofa? Well done.
Bask in that glory, you EARNED it. Tell everyone.
6) Your children will be really grateful