Travelling with kids this Christmas? Make a list, check it twice. And pack gin
Sarah Long arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met her Mr Miner soon after. They're based on the NSW Central Coast and he does drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) to country NSW. Sarah came out to Oz as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!
I have just finished the calculations, and this year I have travelled approximately seven squillion kilometres. Alone, with a toddler. All in aid of seeing Mr Miner (AKA Daddy).
OK, maybe I’m exaggerating slightly. But we’ve certainly done a lot of driving, just me and my co-pilot. Whether to work to see Daddy, or to meet him at our farm between shifts. It’s meant that Mr Miner and Mini could have time together that they would have otherwise missed out on.
Anyway, given I’m now an expert in travelling alone with a toddler, I thought I'd share my top tips on travelling with kids this Christmas.
Write a list
When you’re packing with a little one it’s important to plan thoroughly and write a list of everything you could possibly need. This should include at least 25 outfit changes for both of you, for every season, just in case the weather turns; toys despite grandma having a million at her place already; and every single sleep aid your darling needs (even though none of them actually work). For added bulk, throw in nappies, towels, sheets and at least 20 bags of Christmas gifts.
Now, give that list to your toddler to chew into pieces and scatter around the house.
Pack in plenty of time
Try to pack your bags a day early, so you can get the car packed when your toddler is in bed and save on stress. Alternatively, you could run around the house like a mad-woman, throwing everything you can find into your largest suitcase (no, it doesn’t matter that you’re only going for the weekend), while your little helper runs along behind you, methodically removing every item you put into the suitcase, leaving a trail of destruction. Next, run up and down the stairs to the car, overloaded with bags, a travel cot and two strollers, while screaming soothingly, "Shhhh, it’s OK. Mummy’s nearly finished!" Your toddler meanwhile will roll around on the deck screaming as if you are abandoning them forever.
Time your trip according to naps/meals
For a smooth journey, it’s best to synchronise with your child’s napping schedule. But let’s face it, by the time you actually get 38 bags packed into the car, you will be at least an hour late and your overtired child (see screaming above) will fall asleep as soon as you turn out of your street. I know what you’re thinking, great, peace and quiet! But no, no, no, my friend. They will now sleep for 40 minutes and then be awake for the next 5 hours 20 of the journey. Brilliant.
Pack a picnic and healthy snacks for your road trip
Rather than stop at fast food places, why not pack a nice healthy picnic and find a park to stop at en route? Well, because the minute you do that, it is guaranteed to piss it down with rain for the entirety of the journey, or at least 10 minutes before you reach that park and have already passed all the nice warm, dry fast food places. And now you are stuck in the car with a stir-crazy child who just wants ‘chippies’. Also, those lovely blueberries you packed instead of lollies are scattered all over the car and there’s half a banana mashed into the upholstery.
Plan your stops
Set aside time for 'fun' stops to ensure you don’t have to be in the car too long and can both get out and play in the fresh air. Alternatively, try not stopping at all and just lob snacks towards the back seat as your little darling becomes increasingly irate. Winning.
How about a nice nursery rhyme CD that you can both sing along to on the way? Or how about pulling your fingernails out one by one? Because that’s how annoying the CD will be on the seventh play when you’re only half way into your journey.
Sure, pack nice books and toys and singalong CDs, but realistically what you want is a screen. Forget the screen-time rules, plug them in and let them go for the duration.
Just remember, it’ll all be worth it when you get to the other end and you can spend some quality time together this Christmas as a family. Or if you’re as lucky as me, with your in-laws! Now, where did I pack that gin?!
Our Miner's Girl also has her own website: check out her blog here at http://minersgirl.com/
And here's lots more from Sarah on Mining Family Matters:
- In sickness and in health: when Mummy gets man flu
- It's been 14 months, and I'm still not satisfied
- A new mum's naughtiest fantasy: snuggling, lounging and relaxing
- DIDO work roster makes for weird and wonderful first Christmas for our Mini Miner
- Playing Mummy and Daddy
- Making new friends when your partner works away and there's a baby in tow
- Amid the chaos of early motherhood, making time to give thanks
- Pre-baby jitters and nervous nesting, DIDO style
- The trials of trying to conceive when your partner works away
- Exhausted? Sometimes it’s OK to say just say 'No'
- Don't fall for Facebook fantasy. Step away from the socials and get into life
- When the FIFO shoe’s on the other foot
- 'Quality time' is any time we're together
- Who's more tired? Who cares – just help me out!
- More sex, less nagging? Sure, I'm happy to try that...
- When opposites attract
- Life lessons from a Wonder Woman who knew what was important
- It’s not all about the money!
- Shaved legs, painted nails and sexy PJs: it's fly-in day!
- Beating the loneliness blues when your partner works away
- Why I'm sick of 'cheating miner' stories
- Listen up boys and I'll tell you the secret to the first-night-home loving
- Things that go bump in the night
- FIFO does get easier – here’s why!
- 2014 – my year of positivity
- Burns survivor Turia Pitt on staying strong, the love of family and the importance of goals
- Work hard, smile and join in - how my parents prepared me for life
- Three-word phrases for simple communication
- The guilty pleasures of a woman left alone
- Help - I've started to nag my miner about marriage
- Goodbye is always the hardest word
- Don't be lonely when your miner's away. Enjoy precious 'me time' instead
- How to handle food intolerances when you work FIFO
- Lost that loving feeling? Go back to where it all began
- The great escape: holidaying out of a relationship rut
- Time for a DIDO relationship spring clean
- Reliable, flexible, super-organised ... 10 reasons why mining wives/partners ROCK
- How to make friends and really irritate them
- Relationship rules for DIDO DINKS
- Curse of a DIDO girlfriend: the fear of missing out
- After two years, a DIDO relationship is still love on steroids
- Body clocks and DIDO rosters: a rather stressful combination
- How anxiety counselling changed my life and prepared me for Mr Miner
- Making new friends - an essential tool in mining life
- Here's why I don't talk to Mr Miner while he's away at the mine site
- Sex confessions of a DIDO miner's girlfriend
- Roses are red and DIDO rosters make me blue
- Mixed emotions and my first mining Christmas
- All you need is trust
- How to make your own Prince Charming
- The guilty pleasure of 'man moaning' about my Mr Miner
- Down days and risotto
- How I met my miner
- Making your own life in a mining town
- So what's Orange really like?
If you've got a question for Sarah or would like to tell your own tale about mining life, we'd love to hear from you. Click here!