I debated whether or not to post this today. I lost my grandfather yesterday, after a long battle with prostate cancer. I am utterly heartbroken, but he loved our blog because it made him chuckle! (He was a father to three boys, I think he identified with quite a lot!) So I have decided to carry on…
It’s that time of year once more when families across the country take a week or so out to spend some ‘quality time’ together. Sun drenched beaches, beautiful swimming pools, chips at the seaside or if you are like us, a few days glamping in the woods in Wales.
On Friday we are daring to pile the entire family into the car and make the epic (it wouldn’t be epic at all, if three young children weren’t involved) journey across to the other side of this land for a long weekend of wellies, wine, fires and outdoor living in a beautiful alachigh tent which I suspect is more luxurious, spacious and less muddy than our current residence.
There are Monsoon showers and a roll top bath in the spa-like shower block and reflexology has been booked for the reflexologist (me)! Ahhhhh, heaven…
I really can’t wait. But in order to reach this nirvana we I must first endure the mammoth task of getting everyone packed and ready to go. A wise friend of mine once gave me a very good piece of advice about holidays with children, she said “as long as you are prepared to do the same shit in a different place you will never be disappointed.” I would say that’s a fair description of holidaying with my little darlings! With this in mind I start “Mum packing” in earnest.
The art of “Mum packing” is quite a complex skill, developed over decades of mum being the one who has to pack everything for everyone including her husband/partner, and it relies on her abilities to consider every single eventuality in every combination so that when her brood arrive on holiday in the pouring rain kitted out for a week in the sun, she is ready with the rain coats and umbrellas.
Here’s how it works:
Order sleeping bags from Amazon for the eldest two children. I know we are glamping, but I really want them to have the full camping experience… whilst I’m lounging in a King Size bed.
Begin the list writing. I like a list for everything…clothes for everyone, bathroom stuff, food, jobs to do before we leave, you name it, I list it. Meanwhile husband is watching the Tour De France.
6am: Add more items to the lists that have been bugging me all night.
8.30 am: Go to work all day.
5.00pm: Come home to do dinner, bath and bedtime routines.
8.00pm: Get some coursework done. To add to my holiday stress my coursework was due in two weeks ago and despite hours and hours of work it still isn’t done! I need to get as much as possible handed in before we leave.
10.00pm: Look up journey times to campsite and X’s by 10 for realistic journey time with three children.
10.30: Collapse in a heap and go to bed.
My fabulous mother takes the children all day so I can focus on coursework. The house is an utter tip, all the clothes are dirty but I don’t care! Today is my day to get this work done. I type and type and type.
Husband, who is not at work, washes car, does laundry, cleans the house, PLAYS WITH HIS REMOTE CONTROL CAR!
When the children return I feed them, do the usual routines, chuck a load of washing on and then work until I fall asleep.
6.00am: Hang last night’s washing before it starts to whiff.
6.30am: Do the online shop, which will arrive tomorrow ready to pack.
6.50am: Email my tutor with a long apologetic email about the whereabouts of my work!
7.00am: Add more bits to lists, get children up washed, fed and dressed.
8.00am: Husband agrees to have the children so I can continue to work as I need to hand it all in tomorrow…
9.00am: Husband takes children to the camping shop to get new welly boots for the eldest one. I am braced for a day of work and laundry, when suddenly all the power goes off! Then I remember, we have a planned power cut ALL DAY today! AUGHHHHHHHH!
9.10am: Have a cold shower because the boiler isn’t working without electricity.
9.15am: Get dressed, warm up and open lid to laptop ready to work… It’s got no battery!!!! I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANY MORE!!
9.30am: Do as much work as I can on paper in the dark.
10.00am: Drive to my reflexology treatment room with my laptop and charger! Charge laptop and whilst I’m there do a load of promotion at the Charity’s open day for a new group I am running in the school holidays. I have a new venture called the Do try this at home school! Find my Facebook page and have a look if you want to! (shameless plug!)
11.30 am: Drive home with charged laptop, work for rest of the day then do the usual routines with the children and work until I pass out…again.
WE’RE GOING AWAY TOMORROW!!!
6.00am: Up with the babies and adding things to lists. Charge camera, feed children. Put washing on.
6.30am: Email from tutor arranging for delivery of all of my work to her house this afternoon.
9.00am: Tesco delivery arrives. Hang out one load of washing, do more washing.
9.30am: Bribe husband and eldest son to wash the car!
10.15am: Go to visit my lovely Grandad and fill car with diesel.
12.00pm: Have an overwhelming desire to clean the house! Why is this? I manage to clean the bathroom, do another load of washing and tidy up a bit… that’s about my limit today. I used to clean the entire house from top to bottom before every holiday. It’s a mum thing!
1.00: Spend two hours trying to find clean, dry clothes for everyone and making piles on the bed, these will have to be ironed so they are flat enough to pack tonight…husband prunes plants in the garden…this is clearly an essential task before you go on holiday!
3.30pm: Drive to Canterbury in the clean car to deliver work.
4.30pm: Arrive home for usual dinner, bath and bedtime chaos. The children choose tonight to really unleash their craziness and three year old refuses to go to sleep. Mummy loses her shit and daddy is called in!
7.30pm: Diva still screaming, I jump in the bath and conclude that I should definitely shave legs and armpits for fear of being mistaken for Big Foot when wandering through the woods. Make mental note to pack razor!
8.00pm: Not one thing from my list is packed! Iron all of the clothes and pack as I go.
10.30pm: Finally items have made it into bags.
6.00am: Up with the boys. Husband takes a nice leisurely lie in until 7am, when he then saunters downstairs gets himself some breakfast and has a cooling bath…he’s hot and sweaty. (Probably after all that packing).
7.30am: I am still packing things, making breakfast and packed lunch for everyone (except me) and trying to remember vital things like where I’ve put my tea.
7.40am: Husband unpacks the bathroom bag looking for his razor.
8.00am: Husband has a nice sit down with the iPad. He pretends to be looking at the journey times and destination. He’s actually watching RC car videos on Youtube. He sees my face and starts loading the car.
8.30am: I have employed the help of Cbeebies and Disney Collector on Youtube to amuse the children so I can have a wash and get dressed. Husband is polishing his remote control cars ready for their holiday!
9.30am: Everything is finally packed and loaded into the car. All of the lists are ticked. I am exhausted and braced for the 200 mile journey with three children! I think I’m going to need a holiday after this…
PS: Note to burglars. We have now been on holiday and returned home! Also all of our possessions are covered in baby spit and toddler fingerprints!