There’s plenty of school holiday guides for kids around, but what if they're staying with the grandparents or having a sleepover at a friend’s? What the hell do you do with yourself then? Don’t panic – here are 10 amazing things to try, just in case you’ve forgotten how.
1. Poo in private
If you do one thing on this list, do this. Reclaim toilet-time without the tots tearing down the door like barbarians or insisting on sitting on your lap because they “miss you”. Breathe in (not too deeply though) and savour not stopping mid-stream to rush to a kid ‘emergency’ (hungry / fighting / Lego up nose). After that, spoil yourself with a nice, long hot shower with no infants underfoot or having to explain your genitals (again).
2. Sleep in
Don’t be surprised if your mind and body fight it initially. They’ll scream at you like a deranged drill sergeant “WAKE UP, SOLDIER! CHORES DON'T DO THEMSELVES!” Be brave, roll over and try and remember how good more than six hours sleep can feel. Given you’ve been living on adrenalin for years, it might not happen overnight, but it will happen. And if it doesn’t, try eating a big breakfast and coming back for a second attempt. Then have lunch and a nap. Repeat daily.
3. Catch up with friends... and speak in complete sentences
As a parent/carer, you start to think cross-stream conversations are the only ones you’ll ever have. They go something like this: “Yeah, the new job’s going well… DON’T EAT THAT OFF THE GROUND!... my new boss has already asked me… DO YOU NEED TOILEY? WHY ARE YOU GRABBING YOUR DOODLE THEN? … sorry… what was I saying?”
With your munchkins out of the picture, try catching up with adult friends at an ADULT venue and revel in full, finished sentences with ADULT words. Appreciate that your D&Ms can finally be deep and meaningful. If you’re ready, you can even talk about something other than kids.
4. Go to a café
Stay as long as you want. Don’t order takeaway and go to a park. Read the newspaper, not just the front page. Email some friends you've been meaning to write for ages. Order what you want and eat it all yourself. Don’t fret about anyone sticking straws up their nose or up-ending the sugar bowl just for fun. Have a second coffee just because you can.
5. See a movie
Get crazy and go to a night session. Crazier still, go with your partner and see a film together. Watch one for mature audiences only with adult themes – that’s right, no helium-voiced chipmunks or depressed dinosaurs in sight. Grab some popcorn and a choc-top and don’t share them. Don’t take anyone to the toilet during the film. Despite all your natural instincts, don’t rush home after. Grab dinner (see option #6), discuss the film, maybe go see another one.
6. Go on a date
Remember hanging out with your partner alone? We don’t either but we’d like to try it again soon. Deliberately book a restaurant that doesn’t have a kids’ menu or highchairs or colouring-in books. Cut loose and try eating after 6pm and talk about hot topics other than your favourite Minion or which one is the damn Ninky Nonk in In The Night Garden.
Grab a nightcap or three, stay out past 9pm, laugh, flirt, take a walk, line up for over-hyped gelato, go home, make out, make love even. Just take precautions unless you want more kids and even less sleep.
7. Relax at the beach
Relish not packing swimvests, floaties, snacks, buckets and spades. Just a towel, swimmers and sunscreen. Maybe a book or headphones. Enjoy swimming in the deep end. Enjoy not swimming in warm spots. Lie in the sun and be amazed no-one’s stomped sand onto your towel, shat themselves or screamed for ice-cream a thousand times. Take a moment to reflect on how far you've come as a parent and what you've learned along the way. Maybe even wander up to a pub and grab lunch and a cold drink. Combine with option #3 for amazing results.
8. Read a book
One that doesn’t have illustrations, rhyming couplets or stories about bunnies, pirates or farts (unless you’re into that sort of thing). Instead, try a grown-up book. Sure, the words are bigger and the line-spacing smaller, but it’ll be worth it. Accompany with a hot bath and a glass of wine for ultimate satisfaction.
Listen to Kinderling Conversation:
9. Recover from a hangover in your own time
See option #2. Feel blessed the only thing screaming at you this early is your liver / brain / dignity. Feel even more blessed you can spend as much time in the toilet as you need and aren’t elbow-deep in dirty nappies or pushing a pram around the hood in 40-degree heat.
Instead relax and bask in the glow of knowing the hardest thing you’ll have to do all day is decide what to watch on Netflix and how the hell you can get a bacon and egg roll delivered to your house. Or maybe two. With chips.
10. Call your kids
And tell them you love them. Appreciate that this break has made you realise how much you miss their adorable faces and all the crazy things they do. Then ask Grandma if she could cover one more night because there’s still more on this list you want to try.
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