As much as going away can be lovely, with four young children there is also the potential for chaos, disappointment, stress, even utter disaster. With each child you have this seems to increase tenfold – how does that work?
Packing for a weekend away is no different to packing for a week away, it is still a military operation, and seems to require a similar amount of ‘stuff’. As I lay everything out on the spare bed in the build-up all seems well. Come the morning of departure, I can be heard saying things like “nobody speak to me, I’m concentrating”, as I run through in my head if we have everything for everyone, for every eventuality and question if we actually need things like a baby monitor.
Living with a man who is so relaxed he’s horizontal doesn’t help one bit – plus he’s only like that until he can’t find the specific shorts he wanted when we arrive and realises I didn’t pack them, as well as packing the ‘wrong’ toothpaste – anyone else live with someone like this?
At some point on the journey I begin to relax and instead spend the time providing snacks to the children who are ‘starving’ less than 10 metres from home. Combined with “Are we nearly there yet?” it’s the most ask question…”can I have a snack Mummy?”. They’ve normally eaten everything by the time we reach the motorway!
So, what makes the perfect weekend away with children when you have so much to think about and so many variables? Does such a thing even exist our childless friends ask?
Every family is different of course, you will have your own criteria about what makes for a happy, fun, weekend away, but for us, the perfect weekend away comprises the following:
- 4 excited children
- 2 excited adults
- A car load of ‘essentials’
- Singing the journey away
- Fully charged tablets for when the singing becomes too much
- A drive through Starbucks (do not attempt without this ingredient)
- A family-friendly hotel with enough space to mean we aren’t all sat on each other’s heads and somewhere that avoids the need for the grown-ups to hide in the bathroom whilst the children go to sleep
- Somewhere where the children can run, just run, without being jumped on by dogs off leads, and away from any traffic
- A sense of humour – something will always go wrong or challenge you, a sense of humour is vital
- A big bath and a powerful shower where grown-ups can re-energise and feel treated…I know, we are easily pleased these days
- Room service
- A good movie
- A lush family breakfast with something for everyone – buffet style always goes down well
- Somewhere to play
- Somewhere to explore
- A camera for recording memories
- Good food with Gluten Free options
- Good New Zealand wine
- A sense of adventure
- Plenty of ice cream
- Mix the bulk of ingredients together, saving love, patience and a sense of humour to sprinkle on top
- Bake for the whole weekend
- Enjoy with the most important people in your life
Things to remember:
Time is precious. You will never have this day again. Children grow fast. Make memories, forgive quickly, love hard and make every day an experience you share together.
Think about where you spend your weekend, where you can ‘try’ to relax, where your children can just be children. As much as we love the excitement of a city, our perfect weekend would be a country retreat, away from traffic, shops and the bright lights, because there is nothing more wonderful than watching children enjoy the great outdoors and just being together.
Of course, if there happens to be a high ropes course in the tree tops, a swimming pool, and a play area then that would be even better. Whilst these aren’t essential ingredients, they really do improve the taste of the weekend.
Happy heads, happy tummies, happy feet, happy hearts, happy days….oh and did I mention Starbucks?
This is an entry into the #JoulesExplorers competition – why don’t you enter too!