How to travel without children

December 13, 2015

It’s the season where bloggers offer handy hints for heading home for Christmas with children in tow (here’s mine: iPad, spare clothes, giving baby to cabin crew), but after a long weekend sans famille to the UK, I feel some mothers might need some tips for travelling solo

1. Packing

Just pack what you want. If you forget something, you buy it at the other end. When travelling with children and forget something crucial (in our case an elephant that makes a heartbeat noise) expect meltdowns. Your suitcase can be dedicated to your stuff, not 1/4 your things and 3/4 sleepsuits, miniature socks and bottles.

2. The plane

Get sloshed on tiny wines, watch three films (I cried at Tim Allen in the Santa Clause the other day), eat an entire hot meal in one sitting, have a nap, drink more tiny wine…

3. Accommodation

I was staying with my parents. Their fridge is full of heaven. There’s a wood-burning stove. I had an entire double bed to myself. I want to move back in.

4. The panic

Within a few hours the novelty of pretending you’re young, free and single may wear off, and you’ll start looking around as if you’ve forgotten your child and left it somewhere (hopefully said child is with a responsible adult and you haven’t just done a runner).

5. Other children

By the first afternoon I found myself peering into prams, and waving at toddlers in the supermarket, desperate to tell their mums “I have one of those too” while showing them videos of the sprog.

6. The chat

Every person, without fail, will greet you then ask immediately about the children. I have genuinely forgotten what people asked me about before having a baby. Work? Dubai? Current affairs? Probably not the last one.

7. Daddy daycare

My heroic husband was on daddy duty (note: THIS IS NOT ‘BABYSITTING’, IT’S BEING A FATHER – do not let them call looking after their children babysitting) and did a superb job. He scored extra points for sending videos, keeping her happy and well-fed in clean clothes, but lost a few for giving her a ‘wet wipe bath’ one evening.

8. The pangs

You will most likely miss your children so much it feels like someone is twisting your guts, you’ll look at the above videos a LOT, buy them far too many presents, and ask for more videos. This is normal.

9. The guilt

You’ll have the pangs, but you’ll also have fun, and not have to worry about car seats, taking food, packing extra dummies etc etc etc. You’ll have lie-ins. And more tiny wines than you should. Between the fun, you might feel guilty (I did). It will pass.

10. Getting home

Confession: When I got back at 2.30am I went straight to my daughter’s room, scooped her up and didn’t care that she woke. I just needed to hold her, and for her to know that I was home. And it was heaven.

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