The sunshine is making the summer hols feel tantalisingly close, isn’t it?
In our house, we’re on total summer countdown – Flea’s got just a few days of school left and then we’re FREE – eight and a bit weeks to do what we please, no enforced early mornings or racing between rounders practice and lifeguards club and cubs and goodness knows what else. I can’t wait.
But it occurred to me last week that in my excitement about summer, I’m in danger of switching one sort of hectic for another – our summer plans include a couple of overseas trips, an activity holiday for Flea, some day trips to London…
I’m excited about all of these things, of course but if I’m really, completely honest what I want right now – crave, almost – it’s some peace and quiet. Just some time where everything stops.
And yes, that’s about work and social media but it’s also about parenting.
Being a parent is pretty full on. Of course it’s wonderful and special and all that sort of thing, but sometimes you do find yourself wondering what amazing things you might think of if you weren’t constantly thinking of the 500 things you need to do to keep a small person fed, clothed, educated, happy and healthy. Not to beat a drum about it, but I do think single parenting can be especially like this – there’s nobody to share the load most of the time, even just to give you a quick break each day, for a few minutes.
This year, Flea hasn’t been staying overnight with her Dad, so it’s been some time since I had a full weekend (or night) to myself. And I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t something I miss horribly. I’m not sure if that makes me a bad mother, but sometimes it’s nice not to feel responsible for anyone aside from yourself.
And then I remembered something. Earlier this year, I was sent a One4All Gift Card to review.
Rather pathetically, I struggled to know what to spend it on. Possibly, I was paralysed by choice – you can use One4All cards at pretty much every major high street retailer, the major “experience” websites, even several travel websites. I wondered whether to buy a camera accessory. New clothes? Meh. I could buy an “experience” but I’d have to pay for someone to come with me, and there didn’t seem to be many open to kids of Flea’s age, and it seems an imposition to ask someone else to pay for the privilege of doing something with you, and basically? I couldn’t decide to save my life.
Then this week? Brainwave.
After she finishes school, Flea is heading off on a break with PGL to review a kids-only holiday with lots of water sports and climbing and all the things she loves. And I’ll be home alone. I was planning on working but then I realised I could use my One4All gift card to buy the one thing I’m really craving – peace, and space, and time.
So I used my voucher to purchase a solo trip to Champneys for a few days. I’m equal parts excited and terrified. On the one hand, I’m not sure whether only weirdos and serial killers take breaks alone. But then again, I can’t help thinking how bloody fantastic it will be not to have to talk to anyone for days on end.
It’ll be just me, the robe and slippers, and a new book or two – hit me with your reading recommendations in the comments!