Friday, 6 July 2012

233 - Les Vacances!

So in a few weeks time, me, the kids, the cat and my travel-phobic mother are driving to France.
I'm feeling excited and apprehensive. Excited because we're going to france, FRANCE! FOR THE WHOLE SUMMER! Apprehensive because I've got to get there....with the kids, the cat and my travel-phobic mother.

When opportunities come along you have to grab them, don't you. And I did without a moment's hesitation. I mean, five weeks at a 'mates-rates' cottage in south west France? - mad not to. And it isn't as if there's anything to keep me here over the summer. I know I'm lucky not to have work or family ties, and feel I've got to make the most of that.
The other thing is, I could really do with a change of scene.  I'm quite convinced getting away once in a while is what's kept me sane over the last 8 months. I am close to the end of my tether now. I can sense it, especially at the kid's bedtime. I snap so quickly and everyone's on bad form. We're all counting down the days to the end of term, but then I think they'll be with me 24/7....until september. And I love them to bits, yet can't help feeling the walls are closing in...

So France will be great, France will be fantastic - I know I'll be doing the same old daily drudgery: the washing, cleaning, cooking - but somewhere warm and hopefully sunny. Honestly somewhere with a little less rain would be good at the moment.
We've stayed there quite a few times before so know the score. It's charming, rustic and pretty basic. There's a washing machine but no other mod-cons. No TV and no phone.

Now the reason I haven't mentioned any of this before - My mother. And the twists and turns of the, 'will she, won't she' saga.
Mum found it so hard commit. She really wanted to come, that was never the problem, she just HATES travelling and is completely terrified of flying.
When my mum comes over from Ireland to stay with me, she has a marathon day-long bus/ferry/train journey. She doesn't come very often.
The drive from here to France isn't the big worry, it's the trip home on her own. She has to get back for the first week in August, and boy, have we been on a rollercoaster ride trying to sort that out. We looked at all the options: trains, buses, planes, her partner flying out to meet her - everything.
I'd have a call one week saying she was coming; the next week it was off again.

But then mum rang me a few days ago and said she was going to do it; she was going to fly. All the other options almost seemed to stress her out more, because they were long and complicated. At least with flying it would all be over in 2 hours.
I really am proud of her. I know it's a huge step, but can't help thinking I'm going to have an increasingly anxious mother on my hands, as the flight date looms.
Anyway flight booked, and I swear seconds later she was questioning my ferry route to France.
"Why don't you sail to Cherbourg instead? The drive looks much shorter, surely that would be more sensible."
Sensible? "...I've booked the boat already mum."
"And what about the cat, the cat's going to hate the journey you know."
I know! Of course she has a point, but questioning things that have already been done or stating the blindingly obvious is  not   going   to   help   me.
We're probably back to the 'end of my tether' chat from earlier on, because I could feel myself tensing up. I've got to deal with three whingey moaners in the back of the car (+ the cat)...and that's enough for me.

It is going to be FINE. It will be lovely to have some company. Some adult chat. Some help.
And if anyone has any tips that might help calm my mum down before the flight, I'd be very grateful! Apart from the stiff drink one - I've already bought a large bottle of vodka.


  1. Sounds like your Mum is really making a big effort to go on this holiday with you, I hope you will both have a great time!
    Re how to help her... That might seem a bit naff, but how about visualisation? Personnally if something worries me I feel better if I play a film in my head imagining it, in a positive way obviously ;)
    With your Mum it could be a relaxation/visualisation exercise where you talk her through it, encouraging her and giving her propmts to imagine the trip. Or you could just have a discussion about it, describing every step and enhancing things you think she might like(that's what I do with my children!). Does that all make sense?!
    Good luck!

    1. Yes it does! Thank you for your helpful advice. I will try visualisation with her - I think she may have tried this before. A few years ago she went on a Fear of Flying course and was taught a number of techniques. She says she found tapping helped - not absolutely sure how this works, but no doubt will find out more during the journey down!

      I am really grateful she's coming, and know it's been an exceptionally tough decision for her to make.
      I'm quite sure she's going to love it when she's there - just need to keep her calm x

  2. How about she finds someone to look after? I used to be terrified of flying, I still don't like it, but once I had to look after small children (and hide my fear from them) I found it got easier. I travel for work quite often, generally with a group of teenagers and even my boss didn't know how scared I am. I hide it by keeping busying and making sure everyone else is OK.

    1. I think you're right, if she had someone to look after I'm sure it would help. In fact I tried to get my sister to come for a bit with her 2 full-on toddlers so mum could fly back with them. They'd have definitely distracted her! Unfortunately it didn't work out. It must be hard for you having to fly with work, but sounds like you deal with it really well x

  3. Someone I work for mentioned that Virgin do really good courses to help people with flying phobias. Might be worth seeing if anything is run at any of the airports near her - Belfast?

    On a more important note - does this mean 5 weeks of no blogging? I will miss you if it does :-)

    Am going to do the reader appreciation award post soon, but i had the versatile blogger one too to do, and I am without internet at home at the moment so havign to sneak all this in around work...

    1. Don't worry about the RAA one, especially as your internet is down - what a pain you have to wait until wednesday! Anyway I haven't done the VBA and I've got no excuse.
      Thanks for your suggestion too - mum has done a course run by the Uni in Belfast. it did help, but not quite enough. I just hope the worry about the trip home doesn't spoil her holiday.
      I'd like to keep blogging when I'm away, I'm not sure how! but maybe I'll be able to find somewhere with free WIFI. Would that work?

  4. I hope you have a fabulous time away, all of you :-)
    Must be so hard with your husband away, I hope you all have a wonderful time, it sounds lovely.
    And selfishly I hope you do find some free WIFI because I'll miss there not being any blog posts from you :-)xxx

    1. That's so lovely of you Jo :) I'll definitely have a good look for free WIFI - don't think I'll be able to read and comment as much as I'd like, but will make up for it in september! xxx