We’ve been on holiday this week, staying in Devon.
It’s been brilliant. We’ve been incredibly lucky to have a week of long, sunny days with clear, blue skies and Devon’s beaches are still pretty un-crowded at this time of year.
Flea has taken some early surfing lessons, we've ridden horses, and sandcastles were built – and destroyed – with much glee. There were stiles to climb and streams to paddle in, chickens to feed and picnics to be eaten. In short, there were all the things that summer holidays should have. And to top it all, we found the most gorgeous cottage, and have enjoyed a week of peace and quiet, just a five minute drive from the coast.
Pretty much perfect, then. And I’m shattered. Part of me wants to stay here forever and hide, while part of me can't wait for tomorrow evening, when we'll be home.
Single parenting is sometimes hard work – but holidaying as a single parent is another world entirely!
When you holiday as a single parent you’re responsible for the packing, the driving, the cooking, the unpacking and pretty much everything in between. You’re also the only adult available to entertain your child, so any idle dreams you might have of reading a book on the beach are best cast aside because you’re going to be spending the entire day building sandcastles, paddling, swimming, surfing or just doing that all important, “watching while my child does something”.
Relaxing on the beach doesn’t happen when you’re a solo parent – for starters, there’s nobody to go and get YOU an ice cream when it gets hot. And you have to trek back up the hill to the car anyway because your wallet is in the glove compartment – because you can’t take a purse or a camera on the beach when there’s nobody to keep an eye on it while you’re playing with the offspring in the sea.
But the worst thing? The worst thing is the sun cream conundrum. Even the most flexible woman alive would struggle to get sun cream on the middle of her back. So what’s a single Mum to do? Because, frankly, five-year-olds are not brilliant at putting sun cream onto other people. Flea tends to squirt half a bottle of cream over me, touch it in a desultory fashion, get bored, then tell me a bare-faced LIE like, “It’s all rubbed in now, Mummy.”
The answer is that a single Mum basically has to suck it up and accept that certain parts of her anatomy are now the colour of a tomato.
Still, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.