Well it’s June and after a run of good weather I think we can say Summer is here!! So much fun to be had – swimming, camping, fairs, road trips, adventures to enjoy and the beach is calling.
We moved down to the South Coast for this very reason. Away from the hustle and bustle of the ‘big smoke’ with nature and wildlife on our doorstep. It’s with this enthusiasm that I wake up every Saturday at 6am (if I get to lie in that long) bounding with energy, packing the car with twin stuff, dog stuff and parent stuff, while planning a route for the day’s adventure. A couple of weeks ago we headed off to Camber Sands, a few before that it was a campsite in Basingstoke (I know, Basingstoke right, but it’s gorgeous and you should definitely check it out http://www.campingunplugged.com) and Dorset and Devon get regular visits.
I’m so excited to see the world with my little family, I throw myself in with gusto. And I have an envible Instagram feed that tells the tales of our little trips… full of spontaneity.. smiling sandy faces… salty kisses… and chips for tea.
But what you don’t see is what’s happening on the other side of the camera.
Because all these little trips are not just blissful days of making memories with my family… they are that but they are also, if I’m completely honest, pretty stressful. And not just on me, but on my husband, the kids – even the dog feels it.
It all came to a head on the last trip to Kent. A stressful day was rounded off with a rush back to the car to get home – yapping dog and two screaming kids in tow – and then it happened. One of my sons fell over in the rush, head smashing on the idyllic cobblestones. THANKFULLY he was alright, a big cuddle and a little sit down on the pavement and it was all better, but it was enough to rattle me.
The guilt of the day’s events hit me hard. I felt terrible for pushing my family with a long car trip and a billion things I wanted to see and do – when let’s face it, they would have been happy enough to stay at home and play in the garden (or, while we’re being really honest, watching peppa pig).
With this guilt fresh in my mind, I’ve made a resolution. I need to slow down. The desire to be spontaneous and have great adventures, while definitely coming from a good place, isn’t what my family want or need.
My kids find wonder in everything. Literally everything – the rubbish on the floor, their reflection in a spoon, a spanner from the shed.
I’m not promising to stop all trips and we will definitely camp and travel lots. It’s what we do and who we are, but the desperate need to do something spontaneous on a Saturday morning needs to end. When the urge takes me I need to ask, who am I really doing it for?