After a disastrous Bank Holiday weekend with the kids I turned to some great advice from the Happier podcast in Episode 168: Remember, this is supposed to be fun! In this episode Gretchen and Liz talk about not letting your expectations, goals and plans get in the way of going with the flow. I tried this out a couple of weeks ago when I took the boys away for the weekend by myself (Hubby was sunning himself on a cricket trip in Portugal. No comment).
The boys love cycling so I planned a trip to Hicks Lodge forest where we could hire mountain bikes and explore the trails, followed by an overnight stay in a hotel. As soon as I pressed the Book button I began to panic. I was being too ambitious; the weather would be awful; they’d fall off their bikes; the 4 year old would have a meltdown; one of them would get lost; I’d get lost. Generally the whole trip would be a disaster.
But after listening to Gretchen and Liz’s advice I gave myself a talking to, gritted my teeth and embedded “Remember, this is supposed to be fun!” in my brain. And I have to admit, it actually worked!
Yes the boys fought. Yes there was meltdowns (and not just from the 4 year old) and yes, of course I got lost once (ok, maybe three times). But instead of clinging on to each of those moments and putting those ones together to build a picture of a failed weekend, I saw them for what they were … fleeting. For the rest of the time, it was wonderful. Brilliantly, memory-building wonderful.
So this week, just when I was resigning myself to a half-term of shouting and vast wine-consumption, I remembered the cycling weekend. And I just went with the flow. They played better, they entertained themselves and most importantly they relaxed. Which after all is what I remember from my childhood. Long lazy days where time was of no consequence and I could drift along doing whatever came into my head. I know it won’t work every day but sometimes we just need one day of respite to give us the energy to get back in the fray.