Sun, Sea and Surprising Outcomes

Hi all, sorry I’ve not written anything for a while. I’ve been on a family holiday abroad. Our first!! I’m currently hiding from my children again. I managed to sneak upstairs with a cup of tea and two custard creams up my sleeve (literally not figuratively) to have a few minutes peace to think about what to write. I suppose I should talk about the holidays and what the reality was like in comparison to my expectations.

I had a counselling session the day before we left. In some ways this was a bad idea and in others it was a stroke of genius. Bad idea because it meant my anxiety was pretty high and my stress levels were pretty high too because I was cleaning and packing and managing excited children all day before the session. But then it was also genius as it meant that Tim had to come home early so I had his support for longer than usual. It meant that I could actually sit down for an hour which when I did I realised I hadn’t done all day, and also had a cup of tea, which I hadn’t done since breakfast. (At this point I remember I have a cup of tea going cold next to me…mmm slurp). So anyway we discussed how I felt about the holiday, my stress and anxiety levels and also my expectations of it. I was starting to get worked up about the journey, getting there on time. I was concerned at what the boy’s reaction to the airport would be even though we had prepared them for everything that was going to happen. There was always a fear that they wouldn’t get through the doors, security, on the plane put on their seatbelt, or get off the plane, in the hire car, etc. etc. I told my counsellor I wasn’t expecting to get a lot of rest as we were going with my parents so I would be chasing after the boys but also helping mum out with cooking, washing, cleaning etc. If mum wasn’t sat down relaxing I would feel that I couldn’t either and also if Tim was entertaining the boys or dealing with them I would feel I should be too. Feeling judged by my parents and by Tim and by the imaginary society that is judging me every day for being a worse mum than I think I should be. My counsellor reassured me that the anxiety of getting there was perfectly normal and my stress levels of getting ready were also perfectly ok. We went through what else needed to be done and it made me feel less overwhelmed.

My big tip: Write lists. I had a number of lists that I kept scrapping and writing new ones.  There was a thing to pack list, a liquids list, a plan of action for the day before, a plan of action for the day of and a Tim list of jobs! I kept crossing things off and slowly I got there and I felt ready. I didn’t know what the holiday was going to bring, would I be able to relax? My counsellor told me to try and do something for myself every day to find the confidence to say to my parents and Tim what I needed. If I needed to go for a walk, read quietly or just be by myself. So I now felt more prepared and ready.

The day of: After a few more hours of organising and cleaning again, after the kiddos had made a mess I drank a couple of glasses of wine and relaxed in front of the telly. I had a restless night, but I expected that. We got up, dressed and out of the house before our schedule, got to the airport way before schedule. The boys were super excited and amazingly well behaved. No freak outs, no tantrums just gorgeous excited boys. They loved the plane, they loved taking off and landing. We got to the villa no problem and so our holiday began. As usual I was deaf as a post after landing and for me it lasts for at least 24 hours. The first evening we went to the local for dinner and a drink. I was an absolute zombie. I was not only exhausted from travelling but I was now crashing after a day full of adrenaline and high cortisone levels. I was prepared for this, as was Tim. It is good to expect these things and be prepared for them. I had my rescue remedy on standby for the trip, my sleep balm ready to relax later, headphones and headspace, just in case.

Anyway, we had a lovely holiday. I didn’t feel like I needed to go off on my own, I didn’t need alone time. I got plenty of time to sit and relax and warm my skin in the sunshine. I brought a book, a notebook and I didn’t open either, I didn’t need to I just sat in peace, drank sangria, wine, beer and I watched and played with the boys in the sea and sand and piggy in the middle. All chores were shared, even granddad and daddy washed up! We ate well and really enjoyed ourselves.  We cannot wait to go back!

I was all ready for a huge come down after we returned but to be honest there wasn’t one really. I was so relaxed and warmed and full of lovely memories of the boys I didn’t feel the huge sinking feeling of returning home, even though it was 20 degrees colder. I have had a couple of quiet days, days of not doing much but school runs and eating. But I’ve turned the corner now and it’s all ok. Just looking forward to our next adventure.

From (a slightly more freckled) Lala, with love xx


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