The first article 10 Lies Divorced Mums Tell Themselves struck chords in women far and wide. And I realised after I wrote it that the lies didn’t stop there. Us, mums, also tell ourselves lies about travel. One of my favourite things to do in the world, besides eat. Do you feel like any of these lies are stopping you from single parent travel? Let’s put a stop to that.
You’re a single mum now. That means one income to meet the needs of your family. Travel does not have to be expensive. You can take a road trip, you can camp, you can do a night in a hotel or a fly on the cheapest flight you find through email specials (I once got a flight for 2 cents!). There are so many hacks for making travel more inexpensive for you.
Some of us mums find it more affordable. If you were, like me, supporting your family, one less mouth to feed, one less airline ticket, makes travel all of a sudden, a lot less expensive.
The kids will outrank you
Maybe you already have a big family so this is barely a thing, but for me, I now have 2 kids and 1 adult to watch them. But my kids have grown in leaps and bounds. Divorce is not pleasant for most parties and an unfortunate side effect is that children deal with adult problems and grow up faster. They also want to take care of mum and during our travels have become specifically helpful.
It will be boring
Sometimes we crave adult conversation and the thought of being on vacation with kids might be a buzz kill. But it really isn’t! Recently the kids and I road tripped from Melbourne to Sydney. It took 2 days of roughly 5 to 6 hours in the car. I was never bored. My kids entertained me, they shared their lives with me, they joked with me and shared their dreams with me. Little humans are never boring.
Accommodation will be difficult
I’ve actually had an easier time getting accommodation for the three of us, then the four of us. In Bali, they will offer me 1 king-size bed, and the two doubles found in most hotels is great for the kids to share and then one just for me.
Families don’t consist of 3
Families come in all shapes and sizes and while the typical family pass was 2 adults and 2 children, more and more destinations have been adding alternatives. Plenty of attractions still have a long way to go, but it’s happening for big families and smaller ones.
To be honest I found travelling with my two kids easier. Like there was one less child to look after. But I guess that depends on your own strengths. I was always the planner and booker, so nothing changed.
The hardest part was not being able to have time out, which meant I just had to book strategically. 3 weeks in Bali, I booked a week in a resort with a kid’s club so I could have some me-time.
Being a single mum became so normal so quickly, that I didn’t find vacations any harder than everyday life. In fact, it’s easier! No school lunches, no football drop-offs, no bedtime rules. Everyone is super relaxed and exhausted that evenings become nice and quiet.
You won’t have any time to yourself
This is probably one of the biggest worries I had becoming a single mum. With my children’s father choosing never to see his children I had full-time care of them. Which meant… 24×7. At home, the kid’s grandparents became surrogate parents and I managed to keep my sanity thanks to them, but what was I to do on vacation?
As mentioned previously this is where strategic holidaying comes into it. My recent 3 weeks in Bali I planned to enjoy every part of holidaying with my kids. One week completely with them, just us as a family. One week with my best friend and her 2 kids, all having fun together. And one week with my partner, the new family member.
Spacing out my vacation in this way enabled me to have sufficient time with my kids, as well as myself.
Plus, there’s always the kid’s resorts, in-room babysitting services, and family/friends to utilise. Invite your mum or your sister. Go somewhere with low-cost childcare or just book a resort with a kids club so you can get out for a few hours for that spa pamper package.
Then don’t forget the evenings. They might be there, but on vacation they are tired. And most evenings I find myself with headphones on and my laptop watching movies until exhaustion overtakes me too.
It’s too scary
Solo females often feel threatened in certain travel destinations. Toss in being a mother and the fear can be magnified.
I’ve never been scared of travelling, not alone and not with my kids. I’m not interested in living a fear-based life. But I certainly do make wiser decisions when I’m alone with my kids. And if this is a fear for you than just make smarter choices to help that anxiety. Eat-in your hotel in the evenings, visit tourist spots, or just trust in the goodness of man. People can actually be wonderfully helpful given a chance.
You won’t meet anyone
Perhaps not so much a phobia for those introverts out there, but as an extremely social extrovert, this scares me more than not having time to myself or any of the other points. I don’t want to be just with the kids!
Kids are a wonderful way to get to know other people. Kids often find playmates anywhere, at an airport, at a restaurant, by the pool. I’ve met some of my favourite people in the world, because of my kids.
My best friend is from the mother’s group I attended when my daughter was born. My favourite travel buddies have children the same age as mine. You will meet people.
Maybe you single mums are thinking “I don’t mean that, Erin”. You are wondering how you can possibly meet a ‘someone’ with the kids tagging around. You can! Your kids are not baggage, they are some of the best pieces of you, your heart walking around outside your body and that ‘someone’ will need to love them as much as you…
But we don’t want to jump into that too soon, so why not book in the kid’s cub or the nanny for that night out.
He’ll never hand over the passports or give permission
Perhaps the hardest part of travelling is having the permission of the other parent. Many relationships are strained and often parents can find themselves using the children to get back at the other parent. If you are that parent refusing your kid’s travel just so he/she can’t take them, consider making decisions based on them, not you.
Kids benefit so much from travel and if it is safe to do so grant your kids the freedom to fly and enjoy the rewards.
There are times and place to put in precautions. If your partner has no home, no ties and has threatened to remove the kids then yes, listen to that voice and act. My children were on the Australian airport watchlist for some 2 years to avoid the threats made about moving them to Israel or taking them permanently around the world. So, I understand the cautionary position.
But in most instances, both parents have lives and ties to their residence and genuinely just want to take the kids on vacation. Don’t ruin life for them, because you feel he or she ruined your life.
If your partner is refusing to allow you to go, then consider court action. Courts can override a parent’s unreasonable position if need be. They can also be mediators in possession of passports.
Don’t ever attempt to take the children away without permission, many a person has been stopped at the border for that foolishness. Even my children’s own father got caught with that act while moving from the US to Canada without me present.
Make sure you are prepared to ask the parent before the tickets are purchased. If the answer is negative then consider getting the court system to help you out. The answer may not be no, it may just be a complicated yes. But you have options!
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