Next week, me and my three kids are off on our first holiday abroad, post separation. To Club Letoonia in Turkey. Just me. And them. (And a large bottle of gin, haha.)
Holidaying alone with kids is one of the things the two million single parents in the UK dread.
At first thought, the prospect of going it alone in a strange place, of keeping the kids alive ON YOUR OWN and getting anything resembling an actual break isn’t exactly a thrilling one. Is it even worth it?
I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do this year for a holiday. Daddy Pig and I talked about going away together, as separated parents. We’d actually separated two weeks before last year’s trip to Club Letoonia. And managed not to kill one another. We had a good time with the kids. So we knew we could do it again.
But when it came to it, getting time off work was difficult for Daddy Pig. And I knew, deep down, that a holiday abroad on my own with the kids was something I needed to do. So, when the lovely people at Club Letoonia invited me and the kids out for a week, there was obviously no doubt in my mind. It will be our fourth year at this amazing resort and there is nowhere I would feel more comfortable doing our first holiday abroad. Just me and the kids.
It’s another milestone to hit. Like getting rid of the Christmas tree. And lighting my first BBQ.
I need to know I can do it.
A chance to reconnect.
When I think about going away with the kids on my own, I am actually quite excited. It’s been a whirlwind summer, where I haven’t seen that much of them. I’ve been frantically selling The New Mum’s Notebook. They’ve been looked after by a combination of me, the au pair, Daddy and grandparents.
I miss their little faces and quirky ways. Nine days away with them is going to give us that chance to reconnect. (Also bicker, despair and seek out the Mini Club haha.)
I am a little apprehensive, of course. Anxious, even. It would be weird if I wasn’t. This is not just the life of a separated parent but also the life of one who is prone to anxiety. FEAR of the unknown. But fear is just that. False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. It isn’t real. It hasn’t even happened. And it probably never will. Over the past year, the beloved universe has helped me process these anxious thoughts. It’s helped me plough on, regardless, reminding me every step of the way that it has my back. Reminding me to have faith in myself. Reminding me that it is always there.
I’m not at all worried about being ‘alone’ on holiday – you’re never alone with three small people in your world – or tackling any of the typical ‘couple’ things alone, like mealtimes, chasing the kids around the room to put on suncream or having a late night drink on the balcony.
I just want to keep us all safe. And maybe, that is something I would like to share. The responsibility of keeping us all safe. Of getting us all onto the plane, without realising I’ve actually left the boy in Duty Free. (Mum, if you’re reading this, please don’t lay awake at 3.00 AM worrying. I’m kidding. We’re going to be just fine. I’m sure I won’t leave him in Duty Free.)
Because, it’s always a little unnerving doing something for the first time, isn’t it?
Then you do it. You look back. And you wonder what on earth you were even worried about.
Because you totally smashed it.
Home from home.
I am so grateful to be going back to Club Letoonia, a paradise in Fethiye, Turkey, which we first discovered back in 2013 when we had two kids.
There is great comfort for me in going somewhere we know so well. And it is going to take away a lot of the unknown. We have good friends there (both staff and guests) and, when we drive through those security gates, it’s like arriving home. Just with way more sunshine, spectacular coastal views and never having to cook or put the dishwasher on. Amen to that.
Every year, Club Letoonia manages to surpass itself. Or maybe we just fall a little more in love with it. Returning to the same place, far from being boring, saves days acclimatising and trying to figure everything out. Our holiday starts the moment we get there. When we arrive at Letoonia, we know what the room will be like (we usually have a lovely family bungalow with two rooms – this year we’re having one big family room), the kids are comfortable roaming the beautiful piazza, we know the swimming pools, what time the mini disco starts and we all look forward to Showtime in the amphitheatre, each evening.
Every year, I get to see my kids become a little more independent and exercise even more freedom, without me worrying about them. This is going to be of paramount importance this year, with only one pair of eyes to watch over them. Although, the Turkish love kids so much that there are usually a hundred pairs of eyes on mine, especially my blond boy and girl. Our dear friends, the boat boys, are expecting us and the boy’s adopted Turkish family are already there.
Oh. And there’s a free kids’ club. For five hours a day.
(Say. No. More.)
We can do this.
I obviously don’t really know this yet, as I haven’t done it. Yet.
But I have Christmas trees and BBQs to remind me that I can.
I also know, from the messages and emails I get, that there are A LOT of us facing milestones through separation, bereavement and solo parenting every day. Two million of us, to be precise. And that these milestones can be unnerving and downright scary.
But, I am ever coming to the conclusion, that the unknown is not the scary place we sometimes envision. It’s a place of illumination. A place that allows us to discover desires, strengths and abilities we didn’t even realise we had. A place that takes our vulnerability and turns it into something magical. Something powerful. Something so much brighter than its origin.
So actually? I do know that we can do this. You. And me. Whatever milestone or hurdle we’re facing today. We can do it.
In fact? We’re going to go one better than that. And totally smash it.
All the love to ALL of you out there facing milestones head on today. Shine brightly. Club Letoonia are kindly hosting our family on our forthcoming holiday this August. All opinions are, of course, my own and this will be our fourth visit to this wonderful resort for our summer holiday. You can follow our first ‘solo’ holiday abroad (pictures and videos) on Instagram and Facebook.
Club Letoonia. The facts.
- Club Letoonia is located in Fethiye, Turkey a 45 minute transfer from Dalaman airport
- You can book an all inclusive package through Thomas Cook or First Choice (1 week all inclusive based on 2 adults with Thomas Cook from £1320 this September and £1051 in October. 2018 prices from £1318 in May/June, £1610 in July/August and £1530 in September decreasing again in October. Children under 2 are free)
- Or book flights separately (Easyjet, Thomas Cook Airlines and BA fly to Dalaman from all major UK airports) and all inclusive accommodation directly with the resort (1 week all inclusive based on 2 adults sharing, from £1282 this August, £1013 in September, prices decreasing in October. 2018 prices start from £690 in May/June, £1192 in July/August, decreasing in September/October. Children under 2 years are free
- Unlike some destinations, all inclusive here means all inclusive. There are NO hidden extras. Only the a la carte restaurants, candy floss and popcorn are additional
- Facilities: Family bungalows with one/two rooms, Mini-club 4-12 year olds
Mini-disco, 3 restaurants, 3 additional a la carte restaurants, 7 bars, 3 outdoor pools, 1 indoor pool, water slides into the sea, daytime activities programme and evening entertainment, weekly beach party with dancers and fire eaters, children’s playground and pool in kids’ club area, 3 private beaches in addition to the vast peninsular that also has sun loungers and hammocks, Serenity Spa, boutiques, gated premises and security guards, 4 km to Fethiye town by shuttle boat, departing every 30 minutes, 4* plus rating, 4.5 Tripadvisor rating