The missus and I have just returned from a short holiday to Hamburg. Although going on European city breaks is nothing new for us, there was one big difference this time – we went as a couple and left Toddler L with her grandparents. From recollection, this is only the second time in her nearly three years on the planet that she’s not been with Hay or I for the night, so it was a little odd being on holiday without her. Good, but odd!
We tend to do the majority of things as a family, so deciding to just go away as a twosome was a pretty big step. It’s not that we’re control freaks or anything. We’re happy for Toddler L to be with friends and family, but that’s quite difficult logistically when they live so far away. However, with a bit of planning, we managed to arrange a 24 hour trip to Germany the day after we’d been up north for a wedding so that Hay’s folks could look after Toddler L.
We had a good time. Hamburg was nice and we found a decent balance between trying to see the city and chilling out. We did a hop on, hop off bus tour, went on a paddle steamer around the port of Hamburg, had a wander and explore, ate and drank in two German beer halls (defo check out Altes Mädchen), had a dip in the hotel swimming pool and relaxed in our room. It was nice to have a bit of downtime and just hang out together like in the pre-kid days.
That being said, it did feel a bit weird without Toddler L though. It’s not like we missed her so much that we were unable to see through the tears, but there was an absence. As I say, we basically do everything as a family – including the dog – so being at 50% capacity was noticeable. It was a bit like when you’ve made all your substitutions but go down to nine-men after a sending off and an injury.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share a number of things you’ll probably find yourself inadvertently doing when holidaying without your kids because you’re used to them being with you:
1) You’ll find yourself missing the benefits and preferential treatment received by having a kid. For instance, no longer will you be able to board the flight early or go straight to the front of the queue at passport control – you’ll be forced to wait your turn like all of the other kid-less chumps.
2) A child-free holiday can only mean one thing – you’ll be doing it absolutely everywhere. In the airport, on the plane, on the train, on a bus, in a restaurant, in the hotel room etc. For clarity, when I say “doing it”, I obviously mean having a nap to catch up on years of missed sleep.
3) When in a restaurant, you’ll find yourself glancing at the children’s menu and thinking about what your kid would pick if they were with you. You’ll also be aggrieved that the waitress didn’t bring you an activity sheet and crayons to keep you occupied.
4) You’ll find yourself pointing out things of interest. The mistake though is that these things are of interest to a 3-year old, not a grown-up ten times that age. “Stop pointing out double-decker buses, Dave. I really couldn’t give a shit if the wheels are going round and round like the song”.
5) There will be a failed attempt to relive the glory days. You’ll both be up for a wild night which will see you check out all of the cool bars and return back to the hotel in a drunken state at 3am. The reality though is that you’ll be watching TV in bed by 9pm.
6) You’ll find at least one child-related item has made it on holiday with you. It will have no use without an associated kid, but it will have somehow smuggled it’s way with you – a rogue crayon in a bag, a used wet wipe in your coat pocket or a toy car in your suitcase.
7) Despite not having a kid with you, your child will still form the basis of 95% of your conversations and you’ll even find yourself doing things you would do if your kid was with you, e.g. looking at toys.
8) Even though you know that your kid is hundreds of miles away, you’ll still wake multiple times in the night, convinced that you’ve heard them make a noise from the other room. The mystery of the phantom cry.
9) Being able to drink a hot drink before it goes cold, enjoy a pint before it goes flat and eat your food without having to share it will be a scary and unfamiliar experience. You may even find yourself offering food to strangers’ kids in order to feel normal.
10) You’ll find yourself wistfully looking at places you know your kid would love if they were with you – the miniature train museum, the splash park and that awesome looking playground in town just look sad without your kid’s happy face in them.
11) You’ll feel like Usain Bolt as everything you do will be sped up. For instance, walking down the street will feel like sprinting as you have no reason to stop and look at every drain, hold someone’s hand as they walk on the wall or drag them along when they decide to tantrum.
12) You’ll find that you manage to have a lie-in of epic proportions – before kids, this would probably be 11am, however anything after 7.30am is now considered a lazy morning in bed.
13) You’ll find yourself in a conflicted state between missing your child and being pleased that you’re away from them. Either way, you’ll feel guilty and things won’t be right until your back home with them annoying you. Ah, normality!
So those are 13 of the things I inadvertently found myself doing when on holiday without Toddler L. Do any of these sound familiar? What would you add to the list? Let me know below!