An emotional rollercoaster: 5 stages of a day out with the family
A rare clear spot in the weekend diary means only one thing to Rachel Brady: a day out with the family. Here’s how it usually goes down, in 5 scenarios most families will surely recognise… But is it all worth it? Absolutely, she says.
1. Deciding where to go
The kids are down. It’s Saturday night and I spot we have nothing to do the next day. I suggest a local National Trust property with the kids. He nods. “Sounds good” he says, without looking up from his iPad.
“What are you looking at?”
(The answer is ALWAYS one of the following: cars/BBQ techniques/how to brew your own beer)
“Volvo 4X4 review…” he says, still transfixed.
“So it’s agreed, we’re going to the National Museum of Underpants tomorrow, then?”
“Sure” he answers.
2. Getting ready to go
“Coats! Gloves! Hats! Wellies! Spare clothes!” I shout. Not sure who to. My husband is notably absent from the scene, looking for his waterproof jacket upstairs. I get increasingly hot putting the children in 5 layers of outdoor wear as though we are about to climb Everest. One of them starts crying as the other one accidentally kicks them in the face whilst trying to put their welly on. I trip over the dog’s lead, who is going ballistic as he realises he’s coming too.
It’s. Utter. Chaos. I am sweating. But we are finally ready.
“Right. What can I do?” husband asks, smiling, as he comes into the kitchen looking fresh and relaxed.
3. The journey
After 5 minutes and 43 seconds in the car, it begins...
“Are we there yet?”
“How long till we are there?”
“15 minutes.” I say, knowing full well it says 29 more minutes left on the Sat Nav.
5 minutes later “Mummy, how long till we get there now..?”
“I told you, about 15 minutes.”
“But you said that 5 minutes ago, so it should be 10 minutes now?”
Well, at least he’s getting some maths practice.
“Let’s play Eye Spy!” I say, feeling jolly.
4 year old starts: “…beginning with fuh!”
Literally stumped. All of us. Somewhat unreasonably frustrated that we can’t get it she screams at the top of her voice: “FURRY SHEEEEEP!!!!!”
4. The destination
We made it! Coffee in hand, we mutually agree to put our phones away and enjoy an actual conversation. The kids are playing nicely together.
We enjoy a moment of shared smugness: Look at us! Kids playing outside and not on a screen. We are basically amazing parents!
Our rapture is interrupted by the older one crying; he has fallen in the muddy stream and then the terrible realisation dawns: I forgot to pack the spare clothes.
5. Going home
After a silly, incorrect and JUST PLAIN WRONG joint decision not to let the kids play with our phones going home, in 3 minutes, both are asleep.
“NOOOOO!” We have destroyed any chance of a quick and easy bedtime later. But hey, at least we are spared the joys of “Are we home yet?”.
Once home, bathed and PJ’ed up, husband and kids watch a wildlife documentary together until really rather late. I review my photos of the day.
I laugh at the pictures of the oldest covered in mud. He was wet, but happy. I smile to myself about the youngest’s tantrum in the car about eye spy. I’ll remind her of that when she’s older.
Checking my diary, I notice a free Sunday the weekend after next, and start planning…