When it comes to going on holiday as a single parent and for the first time, it may feel quite different, daunting and unfamiliar.
You may even find yourself looking over at other families and for a brief moment envying them for being “intact” and wanting “one of those.” All very normal reactions.
I remember the first time I went on holiday with my girls, just us, no one else. It was a self-catering holiday in Corsica.
It was fun, exciting but I did get extremely tired as all planning, looking after and decision making lay on my shoulders. There was no one there to ask, “What do you think?” or “Where shall we eat tonight?” That was hard.
But at the end of the day, when I lay my head on my pillow, I could only smile and feel happy, glad and grateful that I managed to do this and that my girls were having a good time. It was truly worth it.
Those were also the moments where I would ask, “would I want to go back “there” and be married to him?” I would imagine if him with us right now and an uneasy feeling would immediately wash over me and I knew what the answer was.
I would acknowledge the challenges but be grateful for the opportunities of a new life that I alone can create and write.
If you’re going on holiday for the first time this year as a single parent here are some things you might want to keep in mind:
4 Top Tips on Single Parent Holidays:
- If you want an easy life, choose an age appropriate destination that your children will love and enjoy. Don’t take a toddler to walk the beautiful ancient streets of Rome. That’s asking for trouble. Water and child focused events and activities are all that matter to them.
- You will find it awkward not being with your ex-partner at times but that’s normal and that’s ok. Remember that one time it was you, as a family, where the other people are around you are, but you were unhappy. Would you want to go back there? Not for anything I would assume. Isn’t it funny how you notice other families on holiday much more now than when you were married?
- Don’t feel guilty if you go to a hotel and drop your child at the holiday activities centre from 9 – 5. If your child wants to go, let them. Hurrah for you! They will have a blast and you can sit, breathe, swim and do what you want, all the while knowing that they are having a great time. Enjoy. When you come together at the end of the day, they will be able to share the most wonderful stories with you!
- If you forget some important something or other at home, like your child’s favourite teddybear, it’s ok. It may be hard at first but they will manage. Don’t be too hard on yourself because you forgot his/her pyjamas but brought yours. It’s fine. It happens. You had plenty to organise and think about, forgetting a couple of things is really not a big deal.
Single parent holidays can be fun if you keep your child’s age and interests in mind. So enjoy, have fun and don’t feel too bad if at times you wish you had stayed at home and that you really don’t like your children and wonder, out loud, why you even bothered!
It’s normal, very normal because at the end of the day, we are only human!
Soila is the founder of The Divorce Magazine and creator of the online course – Helping Children Cope with Divorce
She is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families and is the author of “When Love is Broken. A read-together book for children and parents going through divorce and separation.
Soila holds an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from UCL (University College London), is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and a trained Family Mediator.
Soila is Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.
You can contact her on 07850 85 60 66 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org