You’ve read all the books, the glossy baby magazines with the pretty pictures and you’ve spent hours scrolling through Pinterest. You’ve got all your baby ‘must have’ items, the pram, the buggy and the scandi-chic nursery and to be honest, you don’t really think beyond this, but what about when that baby turns into an actual small person? A child? What other essential items do you need and where do you get your ideas from? What happens is, you generally get ideas from other parents. A friend will tell you how amazing something is or you’ll see someone using something and realise you need said item, but does anyone share with you the items that are slightly ‘off piste’? The items that might not have been tried and tested, that might not spring to mind but that might be needed when that beautiful (non mobile) being becomes an unmovable, unstoppable force? That’s where I step in to help. You’re welcome.
Normal service is resuming here on the blog. My power is slowly returning after being sapped in the summer break. Now that it’s October, my holiday to France back in August seems like a lifetime ago, which is essentially what the previous month feels like when you get to my age. My holiday was with my family, and by ‘family’ I mean my husband, the kid, my parents, two older siblings, their respective husband, wife and kids (fourteen of us in total), not many people can say they’d holiday in such a way. It would, I imagine drive some of you bananas but we all get along really well (read as, not in a Waltons-esque way, but we all like a good laugh and a considerable amount of vino). I’ve written two previous posts about our holidays together but this time, having done an epic drive to and from France a few times now, I wanted to write about how we get through it semi-unscathed with the kid in tow.
I’m into week two of the Easter Holidays and boy, am I finding it a little on the difficult side. See, the kids nursery stops for the holidays so that’s me out of my lovely day and a half that I have to myself and I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve found it really tough. That day and a half is when I ‘get shit done’. I write, I edit, I surf the net, I waste time on social media (obvs) I do admin, house-min and most importantly get the chance to sit in a coffee shop uninterrupted. It’s much needed time away from my sidekick, as much as I love her. She’s full speed my daughter, a bruiser in a princess dress, a Duracell bunny, she’s all go and no, I wouldn’t have her any other way. But, as we sidled into week two of the break, because she’s with me with 24/7, I’ve been reminded how incredibly moany, whiney, and three year old-esque she is. My patience has worn thin. I’ve uttered more empty threats in the last few days than I have in the last year. The only thing that has been giving me comfort is the amount of other parents I’ve seen muttering and shouting at their own children to, ‘WILL YOU JUST LISTEN!’. Thank god it’s not just me.
Toddlers, the mini tyrants of this world. They are the Kim Jong-un of the small people. We love them but toddlers are hard work, fact. Anyone saying otherwise is delusional, lying, or has help. And despite being so little, they contain a huge amount of energy that springs into action from the moment they open their eyes in the morning. I’ve yet to find an off-switch. Especially when mummy has a hangover. When I think back to those early hazy days with a new-born, they’re like the holy grail. Okay, okay so there are some sleep issues and you’re running on empty, but when you finally venture out of the house, leaky boobs strapped down and downstairs bits not aching anymore, you can generally sit (or do the manic rocking holding the baby) and drink coffee and talk to friends. And I mean, actually have a proper five minute conversation uninterrupted. You’re not having to physically grapple muffins you haven’t paid for or chase after your child whose legged it with the next tables pastries. These are some tasks that are utterly impossible with a smallie in tow.
We went away recently with my entire family (fourteen of us in total) and it was a wonderful time, but how on earth does one cope with so many people?! If you get along with your family like I do, then group holidays with them can be great fun, you’re on holiday with people you love and want to spend time with, you get along with everyone and know the general traits of those with you, you get free child care and you make some fantastic fun memories. But, but, but, let’s not rose tint (or rosé tint, ha!) it, it can be hard work especially if like me you’re going away with quite a large group. There’s always a lot of clearing up, swimming costumes and shoes on the floor to pick up, dishwashers to empty and potential arguing between the kids etc. It often is your routine at home but multiplied. So, if you want to get the most out of your time away, and if you want to come out the other side unscathed, here’s my tongue-in-cheek guide to surviving a big family holiday.