Here are some classic examples of when my mantra has come into force. You can also apply it to day trips and shopping. Okay this may be wishful thinking if you're at your local shops. In any event, I suggest that all shopping trips are limited to my 1 hour 30 minute rule for the under 2's. The key is precision planning. This involves strategic mapping of the shops you need to visit. You must not dilly dally. You must not get side tracked. Any chance encounters with friends and the like must be limited to a brief "hi" "bye". This is not like the old days. This is extreme shopping. When the 1 hour 30 minutes is drawing to a close, alarm bells should be ringing together with voices shouting "get out, get out, abandon mission!"
Back to the mantra. My mantra. The mantra you can borrow and take where ever you see fit.
I WILL NEVER EVER SEE THESE PEOPLE AGAIN!When my eldest was 6 months old we decided to drive to Fort William in Scotland. Why we thought this was a good idea I don't know and.....erm.....I still don't.
Mantra kicks in "I will never ever see these people again, I will never ever see these people again" got me through the dirty looks, sighs and general evil thoughts coming my way. If you are one of those people, generally childless or so old you've forgotten, then please bare in mind we are fully aware our child is crying and if we could do anything to stop it we would. In addition, if we really didn't have to make the flight we wouldn't. Unless you're middle class and your life will not change just because you have kids (Muppet's) and you actually pretend that this is all fine - for the rest of us - needs must. There is no pleasure in travelling with children. So fuck you too.
Furthermore, smug first time mum's with newborns and the like your time is a coming. That little perfect newborn will be throwing his food, pushing others, not sharing and biting to name but a few in a blink of an eye. Fact so it is.
My sister (sans children), god love her, decides to get married in Italy. Because, well because she wants to. That's what the childless do. Her husband is English she is English. They like Italy. The wedding is there. Fanbloodytastic! Okay, we have to go. I can't miss my sister's wedding even though to get there I'm going to lose the will to live. So we combine it with a holiday of sorts - there's no way I'm going on a plane and coming back in the space of 48 hours.
|Meridiana not taking off|
Our eldest was 18 months (another shit age to travel with a young one) and I'm now 5 weeks pregnant with second and suffering bad morning sickness. We book a dearer flight with an Italian wanker airline called Meridiana (you bastards) instead of the cheaper BA flight. This is because the airport is nearer to the Villa and we figured we have a bad car traveller (see above) lets make it as short as possible.
The times were perfect for my little ones schedule. I'm a first time mum - he has a schedule. The flight time is ideal for his afternoon nap etc and I have it all worked out beautifully. We queue for 3 hours at Gatwick. Okay stop and think about this for one minute if you please. Entertaining. toddler. in. a. queue. for. 3. hours. This is as horrific as it gets.
Get to the check in. The flight is over booked. What? Come back at 11pm. So we drive home and drive back to board our 11pm flight. Get on flight - guess what? He screams the whole way - I'm now out of bottles of milk to pacify him with. He's beyond tired, beyond pissed off and his bedtime has been and gone. I don't want to live anymore. Even the little UHT mik cartons the air hostess is plying me with to fill up the bottle is doing nothing. He finally falls asleep when we land. We wait over an hour for our luggage and an hour for our car. Trying to drive on the wrong side of the road with Italian drivers so close to your bumper you can see their dental fillings, in the early hours of the morning with precious cargo = could sob, scream and murder someone all at the same time. Then we get stuck in traffic - TRAFFIC! At 2 am in the morning?! We arrive at the Villa at 3 am. We've missed a whole day of pre-wedding mingling and we have been up for nearly 24 hours. Mentally I'm not in the best place.
|You need a lot, and I mean a lot of these to fill up a baby's bottle|
My husband will never fly again with very young children. In fact, I'm not sure he'll ever fly again. In addition he will never go back to Italy. Let me tell you the wounds run deep. Only now we can just about mention (not talk) about that holiday. We are too scarred, too traumatised and still fragile even now 6 years on.
You see with very young ones you can't explain what's going on or why you're delayed. You can't reason with a baby or toddler that their ears are hurting because of cabin pressure. Personally I think flying is the shittiest way to travel even if its just adults only. They get away with murder and everyone is grateful. So you can understand that we have holidayed in the UK with a maximum 3 hour car journey limit. We had a lovely time in Great Yarmouth, West Sussex and Kent and the trauma is lessening now as the years pass!
|Teenagers are very similar to these|
So you'd think we'd learnt our lesson. Oh no. We decided when buddy was 3 months old that we would drive from Calais to Brittany. This time the eldest 2 are fine but we now have my step-daughter who is a moody teenager with an Ipod. Chocolate teapot spring to mind. Buddy breast fed the whole way - 11 hours on and off - yep pretty much. Sill least I was in the confines of our car and the mantra wasn't needed as such.
Last year we decided on Normandy and paid for the fast boat (2 hours or so) to Cherbourg and one hour drive to our holiday home. I am pleased to report back this is a far better way to travel.
This year the fast boat is fully booked. An omen? We now have a 7 hour journey from Calais to the Vendee with buddy (the other 2 are now travelling pros) who will be 2 years 3 months and doesn't sleep in the day. A blog post for another day I would say.
So why travel with children or why have children at all?! Well once you've accepted that the holidays of old (i.e relaxing by the pool, book, meals out) are long gone there's nothing quite like seeing a hoilday through the eyes of a child. We will have those holidays back, albeit it older and greyer, but I will have my lovely family memories and the getting there and back will be long forgotten.
I love our family holidays even if it does take a week to pack and a list as long as a mortgage contract. I can even tolerate my husband saying "this lot is never going to fit in the car". Yes it is cocksucker get packing. Why do men always say that? Keep quiet - this has taken weeks of planning and a week to pack. If I thought I could get away without packing something don't you think I would? It all needs to come with us. Keep quiet and just put the stuff in the car. That is all that is required of you.
I think the mantra can be applied at all stages of your holiday life. For starters when you're at the teenager deadly self conscious stage. You're actually pretty hot but you think you're fat - the youth is truly wasted on the young as they say. Then when you're travelling on a flight and your baby/toddler/child is screaming, running riot or throwing a tantrum the mantra is invaluable - I WILL NEVER EVER SEE THESE PEOPLE AGAIN. And when I strip off to what is essentially my bra and undies (aka bikini - bikini suggests skimpy we're talking big knickers and bra which can go in water here) for the first time, looking whiter than white, my mantra is a god send. I WILL NEVER EVER SEE THESE PEOPLE AGAIN!
And do you know what it really works. Go on give it a try!