This is going to be interesting.

In a few weeks time we are going to risk all the sanity left in our world and go on holiday. With a baby. For the first time in 7 years. Gulp.

I’ve done a few holidays with babies, the last notable one being the HESFES filled with mud with 4 children under 7 on a hill, in the rain and a tent that was really too big for me to put up on my own. It was quite a challenge and the thought of doing it now, even with 4 far bigger girls, fills me with dread. I’ve become a total woosy in the last 7 years. All my intrepid camper has upped sticks and buggered off 😉

I do actually really like camping. We have 2 tents, both of which suit the times we use them very well indeed. One is huge, best suited to being up for more than a week at a time but very flexible in how the space works. The other is small and speedy and we have all (all 6 of us, not all 7) slept in it but it tends to get used as an extra room rather than a place to live for a week. The girls use it when we go places we want to have space for them in the garden of a house that has not enough living space for all of us through the day. I must admit the last couple of years of holidays in cottages have softened me up. I think from next year we will have to start camping again and I’m dreading it just a little. The trouble is, once you move in a herd, the options for family holidays without the aid of a lottery win become a little limited.

The trouble with camping, even lovely campsite camping, is that I just do like to be comfy. I hate sleeping on the floor because I’m too lumpy and bumpy for it but I hate airbed too. My compromise Thermarest is lovely but bulky and there isn’t much room in our car now! After 6 children I need a toilet break about 4 times a night and restricting liquids isn’t an option because I get stinking headaches, so I end up grumpily traipsing to the toilet block or obsessing all day about getting a bad nights sleep. And I’ve ALWAYS struggled with getting cold at night, so I fret about that too, as it makes me feel bizarrely sick if I get too cold. I’ve overcome plenty of my issues with buckets and arctic sleeping bags but really, I just like to be comfy. Although I draw the line at the camping bunk beds and air mattress with a headboard my neighbour showed me the other week. Glamping isn’t really my thing either.

I know if I get back into it, it will be fine. I do. I remember being perfectly happy back in the days of regular camping. I love it. When I go on my own with the kids, as I used to, I even used to get thinner. It’ll be good for me. And our favourite Devon campsite has WiFi. How wrong can it go?

Back in the olden days, we used to do holidays with toddlers with my siblings and parents. Given my parents no longer reside on the same continent as each other and neither do my siblings, this is clearly not much of an option now. (Plus, it used to be reduced to unspoken passive aggressive angst ridden warfare, which took the fun out of it slightly). Hopefully having the girls on hand will make having a toddler on holiday slightly less exhausting than it could be, but in the mean time I probably better enjoy this holiday as being the last time for a while I’m not worrying too much about fire, ponds and piles of horse dung for babies to pitch themselves in.

They were so small. How did that even work?


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  1. says

    We are going on our first holiday at the end of August (after both of my girls’ birthdays). It is a three hour plane trip then an hour drive (because you can travel for that long in Australia and still be in Australia!) We are staying in a holiday apartment, and I simply have no idea if we’ve bitten off more than we can chew but oh well, I need to get away! Wishing you luck. Wish us luck!

  2. car says

    I was all set to take my girls camping for 2 whole days without a husband, even had the car loaded. (I thought I was nuts but was willing to give it a try.)Then it started raining and ended up raining non-stop so we stayed home. I was willing to go sleep on the ground with a baby, but I hate camping when it’s wet and being trapped in a tent with a baby and a almost 5 year old is a truly scary concept. I think you’re right to give it a try now before Bene starts running around and trying to eat rocks and bugs. Have fun!

  3. says

    Oh Merry, I could’ve written this post, especially the bit about sleeping/weeing/drinking, even down to the headaches!
    I used to love camping, but haven’t been in quite a while, and no plans to go any time soon either. we are desperatly in need of a holiday, but right now even camping is out of our budget.
    I have camped with a 6 week old Sid, and that was hard, but lots of fun.
    Hope you have a fab time. x

  4. Angela says

    Going camping with one little was interesting. I was so proud of myself for making it all night without having to get up and stumble through the dark to the restrooms! And I wasn’t nearly as cold or uncomfortable as I thought I would be. J bought us really nice sleeping pads that fold up compactly – Summit brand.

  5. says

    we got a lwb transit van (6 seats) so we could camp :-)
    I take 6 inch thick foam for sleeping (double cosleeping bed) and woodburner for our tent. our fridge goes in the van…wee bucket is also essential!

  6. Molly says

    We’ve just returned from a week glamping and it was wonderful. As a hardened camper married to a man with a severe camping phobia, glamping felt like a compromise. We all loved it – the toddler most of all. I must admit though, that one day I hope to do the proper camping thing. That’s if I can ever fully convert my husband anyway…

  7. Mrs Hojo says

    folding playpen. essential. Wind breaks to make safe the front area outside the tent. 3 coolboxes. I think thats it, oh and lovely friends to visit!


  8. says

    I’m not quite brave enough for camping at the moment. I have the same problem about needing the toilet several times a night, and also a bad back if I don’t sleep on EXACTLY the right kind of mattress and a tendency to insomnia at the best of times… BUT I know it would be fun and the rest of the family would love it, so I think we will do it. Can’t afford it at the moment so will just be going to my mum’s instead, but maybe next year. I hope you have a lovely holiday

  9. sarah says

    Chidren are keen to go but I can’t bring myself to it. Abroad in campsites with all mod cons and good weather then maybe, perhaps if enough arm twisting was done but the thought just brings back memories of childhood holidays, brownie and guide camps and makes me shudder. Thankfully mother in law is an enthusiast and will take them for me :)

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