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1st lone holiday with DC post split. Terrified. Advice please.

(25 Posts)
goodenuffmum Thu 18-Apr-13 23:00:39

Please help me understand this...

I asked my H to leave 6wks ago. He told me he didn't love me in October but it took me 4 months to finally get the courage self esteem to tell him to move out.

I'm going to counselling which is helping me and going to AlAnon meetings about my abusive parents drinking and to a lesser extent, H's.

I really want to give my dc something to look forward to. We haven't been on holiday for 3 years because of H changing jobs to a low paid (but more enjoyable for him) job which left us in debt.

I can afford a week away in a camp site, (I can't work out how I am now out of my overdraft only 6 weeks after he left after being massively overdrawn for a year hmm) but am terrified of going on holiday with my dc by myself.


I thought I had done the hard part by asking my H to leave. I have been coping with a full time job and trying to support my dc through the devastation of their df leaving sad

So why the hell am I scared of a holiday?confused

Walkacrossthesand Thu 18-Apr-13 23:14:24

There is quite a lot of practical stuff to manage when taking DCs on (self catering) holiday as a lone parent, so it's good to feel a bit worried - it ensures you think through how it will work! Navigating your way to the campsite with only 1 adult in the car; finding supermarket and getting provisions in with all the DCs in tow; always having to do everything together because there's only 1 supervising's very different from everyday life as a single parent, or a family holiday with 2 adults. Plan ahead & have a great time! How old are DCs? (PS my top tip - take spare set of bed linen to enable untraumatic bed change in case of nocturnal vom!!) :-)

skyebluesapphire Fri 19-Apr-13 00:15:46

How old are DC? I only have the one, but found our first holiday last July quite traumatic, but my mum came along to ensure that DD had a good time and didn't have to just put up with me crying all the time. I went away on my own with her in October. Both times to a self catering caravan holiday.

Tips for survival.

Depending on how old DC are, you will have to carry everything yourself. Therefore do not take more than you need of anything! Do not take anything that is overly heavy.

I always have a Tesco shop delivered the morning that I am going away and pack it straight into coolbag/boxes etc so I don't have to buy food when I get there.

Allow them to take a favourite cuddly and 1 toy and 1 gadget (nintendo etc).

Stay on a camp with plenty to do - kids clubs, park, swimming pool etc. I had never used a kids club before last October, but going on my own with DD it was a Godsend. She was occupied every morning and we went swimming every afternoon. We went to the entertainment every night, where she had a disco and I drank wine. We had a lovely week.

When I went with XH we just used the caravan as a base and went out every day. On my own, I never left the park for the week. This year I hope to find a good mix of the two, so will find out about local attractions before I go, facilities, cost, any reductions for buying in advance online, get the postcodes etc so know how to get there.

I am staying at a Parkdean site in a caravan for 4 nights in May and it cost me £95 through The Sun holiday promotions. Holidays don't have to be dear. If you think that camping might be a big struggle on your own, then find a cheap caravan park and save yourself some work.

See if a friend would like to go with you, friends of mine usually go with 2 or 3 other families and all book pitches next to each other.

I have also got 2 nights in a seafront Travelodge in August, family room, cost £27 one night and £24 the other.

Lavenderhoney Fri 19-Apr-13 05:55:29

I take the dc on my own as my dh doesn't get much holiday and when he is off we have family commitments - so I take them alone for the camping. It's great fun. Exhausting but fun.

Great advice here. Top tips from me-

Depending on where you go, vaguely plan your days with your dc. I look at what's around and pick what we like. Donkey sanctuary, beach, local park, stay at site and have fun, a few night walks and I have star walk on the iPad for stargazing.

- meal plan for ease for you. Plenty of stuff that's quick and easy, pasta, pasta sauce. Lots of snacks and treats. Plan for picnics ( dc think chocolate biscuits on a rug are a picnic ) you can take those barbecue disposable things and chuck sausages on them. And tell them stories round the "campfire"

- order online from the local tesco and get it delivered in the 2hr window you plan to arrive. Ask the camp people if they will put the milk etc in the fridge for you and you will do the rest.

-how old are your dc? I am very relaxed away- they scoot round in pjs, get covered in mud, go to bed pretty much when they want,I don't overly fuss about baths as long as teeth are clean and I include then in loads of decisions.

- lots of books to read whilst they race about with new mates. I go to the local charity shop on arrival and buy toys, books and games.

- take wellies, old bread, loads of old clothes like track suits for dc to scramble about and not worry about dirt.

- collect memories everyday, write down a holiday diary and keep momentos. Create a scrapbook when you get home which the dc will love to look at. This also helps with any feelings of being overwhelmed as you just remember its supposed to be fun and get the dc to help.

The first time I was a bit hard on myself and wanted everything to be perfect and ended up putting myself under pressure which wasnt really there. I had raised dc expectations myself!

So the next time I was more relaxed and didn't set goals then took the fun out of it. Dc loved picking dandelions for the camp rabbit so we did that most morningssmile no need for uber mom to make an appearancesmile

Concentrateonthegood Fri 19-Apr-13 06:32:30

I'm guessing its not the practicalities that is scaring you. I've been in the same position. Just prepare as much as as you can to take that sort of pressure of you. Make sure you all feel safe and get on and enjoy the thrill of doing something quite major on your own and with your kids. Your confidence will grow and it will be the first of many new experiences, I'm sure. What I found were other families were happy to chat and associate with us and actually be really inclusive. More importantly, your children will remember this holiday all their lives and they will be proud of you. Have fun! X

goodenuffmum Fri 19-Apr-13 23:11:33

Thank you ladies.

I've only checked in now because I didn't think anyone would have taken the time to answer, so thanks!

My boys are 13 and 9, so well able to help with bags and a bit of responsibility

I am going to print off your replies and go for it.grin

concentrate you are right, it isn't the practical bits so much as the confidence firstly and being able to maintain a brave face without having another adult to talk things over with.

I think they will be proud of me, because I have been open about being hurt by their df's leaving. Onwards and upwards!

welcometomysillylife Fri 19-Apr-13 23:26:31

Well you are a braver woman than me. I would have loved to take my dc on holiday last year but chickened out. I kept thinking of the evenings when the children would be in bed and I would be alone. And the travelling too I would have found difficult. It's all doable of course, with the right mindset (not mine!)

goodenuffmum Sat 20-Apr-13 00:12:19

welcome Im not brave at all. I've got so used to checking everything out with H that Im almost paralysed with all the choices and options I have to do and make as a LP.

I'm 6 weeks alone and coping better than I ever thought I ever would, but sometimes the responsibility is so scary!

I'm trying really hard to make big changes in my life. I want to be a happy parent and give my dc great memories and experiences. I'm banking on the fact that most of what we dread never happens hmm

Walkacrossthesand Sat 20-Apr-13 01:20:47

I know what you're saying, goodenuff - one of the hard things about lone parenting is not having a partner to discuss things with. But you've got us! And 3 people on this thread already have reassured you that you can have a lovely holiday with your DCs, and given you some ideas for how to overcome possible difficulties . The 'being alone in the evenings' bit can be hard, true - but on a family campsite there will be evening activities that your DCs are old enough to stay up and enjoy, you can take some good books to read, and enjoy the fact that you are there, on holiday. You will come home with pride, great memories, and probably some new friends. Go for it!

Lavenderhoney Sat 20-Apr-13 04:41:03

Goodenuff- well done for giving the dc a holiday. They are old enough to get involved with planning and getting you tea in the morning toosmile mine are still small but I try to get them to be in holiday mode, ie how to be on holiday, we are all on hols and we don't stress about timings of lunch, breakfast, dinner, bedtime, or what we have- In fact I like them up late, playing and having fun whilst I read my book.

I'd let them stay up a bit later and go to bed when they like tbh. And the great thing about being the only adult is you get to choose plus if you a change your mind its ok, and you will really bond with the dc.
Also, there will be no arguing and bad atmosphere. You might see some of that in other families on hols and be grateful its not you!

I met loads of people too, and no one asked where dh was. If they do, do you have an answer? You don't have to talk about it to people, if you don't want to. It's your private business after all. What will your dc say? You could just give them a stock answer . I doubt you'll be the only one on your own anyway.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 20-Apr-13 09:31:55

I've been a lone parent since birth. The early years were a bit tricky but, once he got old enough to pull a suitcase, holidays were far more interesting. My tip is to let the kids take the lead occasionally. If there are three of you and you're away for a week that means you can choose the main activity two days each. Gives the DCs a chance to be in charge (which they love) and you'll all get to find out a bit more about each other's interests. Win win.

blueballoon79 Sat 20-Apr-13 09:38:20

I can understand why you're nervous but once you're there it will be fine.

I took DS away for a week a few months after leaving his father.

I was initially nervous about travelling and activities to do and also what I would do on a night whilst he was sleeping.

I actually really enjoyed myself and was able to take DS to lots of places and both of us loved it. The nights weren't a problem either as I was so tired from running all over with DS that I'd read a few pages of a book then be asleep myself!

You're bound to feel nervous about something you've never done before, but it will all be ok!

PatButchersEarring Sat 20-Apr-13 10:47:33


Sorry if this has already been said- only skim read.

Have you heard of Single Parents Travel Club?

Me and my DP went through a very rough patch a couple of years ago. Thankfully, we did end up sorting it out, but holidays as a LP were one of the things that I was mentally trying to prepare myself for. I came across this club, and it looked ace!

Perhaps Google them and see what you think.

Have fun!

springyhappychick Sat 20-Apr-13 11:41:55

I've done endless hols with my kids - including hols abroad - and not once wasn't I scared shitless as we prepared to leave. I tried to work out what the fear was about (particularly as I'd done it so many times before) and it was something along the lines of .... resentment that I had to do it all myself. ie a fear of hard work ( blush ). That, and the responsibility.

But we had some AMAZEBALLS hols. Really fabulous times. You pull together somehow and it is so good for you all to be working as a team (of sorts!). As for being awake when they're asleep at night - pah! on hol they go to sleep in your lap/on the floor at midnight. That's what happens on holiday, the kids stay up. Otherwise you're sat there on your lonesome and it's no fun. Ditch the routine, do what you like.

I did find camping a bit difficult tbh - esp abroad with our own gear! - but your boys are older and chances are they'll be pitching in (arf did you get that pun?) and helping out. Or, rather, make sure they pitch in and help out or you're left to do it all on your own, which is horrible and too much work.

Try not to let the boys see you're struggling - it will only make them feel responsible for you, which is not good for them. healthy support is fine but nothing heavier.

Have a great time! smile

MaBumble Sat 20-Apr-13 11:42:32

Oh! I was you 12 years ago. Including the healthier bank balance with less money!

Yes it is terrifying. And exciting. And some bits won't work to plan. But it will be fine. Include DC in the planning and discussion, it's an adventure for them too. Make sure you have more warm clothing than you think you need (I didn't, camping virgin, first night was bloody awful)

It's ok to be afriad, but deep breath and do it anyway smile

springyhappychick Sat 20-Apr-13 11:46:28

btw even if it goes wrong you cope somehow and make some fun out of it. We;ve missed planes, boats and trains and it's all been fine ie we ended up having an 'adventure' - which was what I told them through chattering teeth and they believed me. I ended up believing it myself wink

downunderdolly Sat 20-Apr-13 14:19:00

Hello Goodenuff

Gosh of course its daunting only 6 weeks in but it sounds like it will be lovely break and you sound lovely too.

My DS is only 5 but we have had hols (just him and me) for the last 2 years and have, broadly, had a wonderful time.

Although its not what I planned or wanted, there as some very nice aspects of going on holiday as a lone parent...including:

- not having to discuss what you want to do and just doing what you feel like - you can be much more spontaneous
- that said (and just me and DS much younger) tend to horse trade and make it into fun evening activity. ie mummy picks some things and DS 'picks' some things and we pretend to vote on some activities
- Your DC much older but for mine sometime have a bit of carrot and stick (if you promise to try new food (if we are overseas) and XYZ at the end of the week we can go to X shop and buy X
- cut yourself some slack. If things go tits up for a bit - and my first proper holiday away was the week my divorce came through (OW/separation leaving horrid shock so not in good place) and although day of divorce super lovely day, day after wheels fell of both me and DS (due to me being in bad/teary mood) we (although in an apartment) just watched DVD's all day and ate pasta pesto and crisps...didn't kill us and we had extra nice day the next day when normal service resumed
- if you are somewhere like a campsite/family orientated place which it sounds like you are, honestly, other parents practically sought me out to chat to as I think fed up of their own company and never felt like 'charity' case - never had any awkward questions, sadly lone parents aren't an anomoly any more
- and remember to breathe. you clearly have made some critical and important decisions about your life of your own volition. if you can do that you can do anything. and you can always ask for help with practical things (tent/stuff like that)

Good luck with creating new memories


<waves to Springy (mini hi-jack) and tells her (and you) DS and I are off to camp at a safari park next w/end and then in June mental roadtrip to the largest Rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere (we are in another country) and on the up (more or less)>

springyhappychick Sat 20-Apr-13 23:49:55

Go Dolly! Go Dolly! Go! Go! Go! <waves back>

girls, this is a star person ^^

Lovingfreedom Sun 21-Apr-13 00:02:22

You'll be fine. The kids are old enough to be helpful. Find a camp site where there are plenty of families and big enough for the kids to explore themselves.

You'll find if you struggle with anything practical some well meaning guys will help you out.

Let the kids find a gang of friends and take a pile of books or a kindle so you keep yourself occupied.

Lovingfreedom Sun 21-Apr-13 00:03:43

...oh and congratulations on clearing your overdraft. You must be coping really well grin

LadyLapsang Sun 21-Apr-13 11:36:19

You will be fine and I'm sure you will all have a great time. I'm not a lone parent but I have had lots of holidays without my DH over the years, including worldwide travel. The children can easily help you plan the journey and map read / follow the route (if you don't have sat nav). I suggest taking some treats for you and them e.g. book you have been looking forward to reading etc. etc.

Make sure you have a first aid kit / everyday medicines you might need, rehydration salts, nurofen etc. but its surprising how helpful and understanding even very young children can be if you get sick yourself.

springyhappychick Sun 21-Apr-13 12:34:04

If you'll be travelling for a long time, get together some rucksacks with little bits and pieces they've never seen before - like a christmas stocking, lots of little things to discover and play with and eat

I specifically bought cheap rucksacks for this and handed the rucksacks to them once they were buckled into their seats in the car/plane/whatever. It became a tradition.

Svrider Sun 21-Apr-13 14:21:21

Not sure if this is relavent but please make sure you have rac/ aa just in case
Also check oil water and tyre pressure on car
Good luck

goodenuffmum Sun 21-Apr-13 16:57:40

Thanks everyone for the great advice.

It's heartening to know that so many of you have done it and enjoyed it!

I think driving in Holland alone would be a step too far but Im going to ring tomorrow to check availability.

Will be really cross if I miss out because I have dithered for so long!

Wish me luck!

springyhappychick Sun 21-Apr-13 19:29:01

Good luck! You'll be fine smile

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