Traveling with 3 kids is not all sunshine and lollipops. And not just for the parent. There are times when decision fatigue is high and stomachs are aching with hunger, and this was one of those days.
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Okay, forgive what is potentially terrible sound as I have just taken my phone into the bathroom where we’re staying while the kids are sleeping. It’s 10:00 at night and I thought I might just record this for everyone because it was so helpful for me to hear. Right before we left, I’ve got a beautiful friend and her name is Pru, and actually met Pru when I was living in Dublin.
And she had a baby. Beautiful little boy, big blue eyes. And she was pregnant with her second one. They’re very close in age and she needed some help. So amongst the work I was doing, I think I had three jobs at that stage, was a help crew out for a few hours each week and we became friends. She moved back to Australia. Her husband is Irish, but she was Aussie and she brought the kids up in Melbourne. So I babysat them when they were little.
Years later. We’ve always stayed in touch, Pru and I. Her kids babysit mine. And in fact, we’re going to be seeing one of them when we’re in London because she’s doing an exchange with Uni. Anyway, that’s a really long way to say that she and the kids were over for dinner the week before we left to say goodbye. My kids adore her children. I mean, adore them. Yeah.
Anyway, that’s another story. And Pru just said to, you know, there’s going to be some times where you’re just going to have to call an ice cream day. I was like, what’s this about? And she just, you know, just sometimes there’s nothing else for it but ice cream. Just know that tricky days will come and sometimes it’s just going to be enough to get out, have an ice cream and have that be the day. I just loved that. I love any time women can give them a great big permission slip to just take the edge off everything. No, things aren’t perfect. We don’t have to do it perfectly.
And it’s enough to just sometimes get through a day. So I had the ice cream days in the back of my head, knowing that they’ll come. So today we had our first ice cream day, but it wasn’t ice cream that we ended up getting. Let me tell you the story. So we were sort of up and out early. We were actually staying for the first time. I’m recording this while I’m in Copenhagen and I am, like, lapping up this city. I really, really love it.
Here, just get me out and about. I don’t even have to be doing much, just walking the streets and oh God, it’s just heaven. Anyway, it’s the first time we’ve stayed at a sort of a proper hotel. There’s an entrance foyer where you don’t have to check yourself in. The reason why I did it was because I thought by this stage of the trip we just might need it to feel easy. And there’s a pool here, there’s pickleball courts that didn’t get to play on. There’s a buffet breakfast, right? It’s your buffet breakfast stop. Which I mean, basically a pool and a buffet breakfast is the kids have hit the jackpot.
I didn’t even tell them what was going to be happening, but it happened. It’s all their dreams coming true. They would just stay here the whole day and be in the pool anyway. It’s attached to this kind of I don’t even know what you’d call it, health center or something like that. We could go ten pin bowling for free here. It’s a thing. This morning we went out to the breakfast and saw X Factor signs everywhere and within an hour or two there was a line right up the street and they were obviously doing X Factor Denmark auditions. Anyway, it’s sort of one of those places.
It’s been great, but it’s also the place like there’s not even a fridge in this place. Like not a thing to help with food and eating. We buffet breakfast enough. Sometimes we’ve gone back for two breakfasts. I’m not going to be shy about it. We get there early, fill them up, go do something, go back, have some croissants for morning tea. Living it up, loving life. Today I had some work to do today.
I had two coaching calls that I had to deliver. One for the change room, one for my change crew peeps, and that was between twelve and two. So we got up, we had an early breakfast, came back, my son had his tutor, so he’s got a beautiful tutor, Melissa, who’s been helping keeping him on track with Maths and a whole load of things. She’s amazing. And then after that I went and walked and got a proper coffee because hotel coffee, whatever came back. The girls were doing some schoolwork. I knew I had to give them a big runaround, so I actually took them to the pool this morning. They were going bananas.
There’s diving boards at this pool, it’s next level. They were in absolute heaven. Exhausted. I exhausted them because I needed them to be quiet for 2 hours. And it worked. They did some schoolwork and then they packed their bags because we’re heading out tomorrow. And then they were allowed to go on screens if all that stuff was done wonderful. Then 02:00 sort of came and there we were.
We had to make some decisions about what we were doing for the afternoon, so I had some ideas. I had also asked them to research for things that they might want to do in our last afternoon and night in Copenhagen. Now, I don’t know if that was mistaken. I think I’ve realized that we do not do that when the hours are literally ticking down. Because what ended up happening was like a scene out of a comedy show. But it wasn’t comedy. It was my life, and it was real, and it was hard. So sort of kicked off with just your general throwing the ideas around, this, this.
And then I realized that they were a bit hungry, so I thought, there’s some apples and bananas. Just put something in their tummy. They hadn’t eaten, not since breakfast. We didn’t go back for second breakfast today, so it was just an early breakfast. And then I started to realize, like, okay, we’re not going to be able to come to a decision here. I explained to them what decision fatigue was, which then had them very confused because they’re like, Are you sick? Is that a disease? No, it’s not. Oh, my God. It’s not a disease.
It’s just a term that people use when they’ve been making lots of decisions and they’re tired from making decisions. I feel like I’ve got decision fatigue right now, and I just kind of hit it all of a sudden. Like, I can’t make another call about what we do, and that’s why I’d thrown it onto the kids. I’m like, let’s see what they come up with. And they came up with brilliant ideas, but they couldn’t agree. So then an elaborate scoring system was created, and it was like, top three choices. Number one choice is worth ten points. Number two.
And I’m thinking we’re not going anywhere. Because then it was like, okay. People weren’t happy with which was the top choice. I’m not voting at this stage. I’m just sitting here witnessing the breakdown that I received in front of me. And then, you know, one of these why don’t you go down? Because one of them was to do the bowling. Like, not even go out into Copenhagen, but just do the bowling. Okay, if that’s on the list, why don’t you go down to reception and see if it’s actually open? It wasn’t open.
It was closed on Tuesdays. Okay, that’s off the list. And that triggered tears. And I thought, oh, we’re in trouble. We’re in trouble here. And I just knew, you know when your mum brain is going, looking at things, thinking, they’re so hungry and they’re also so tired, I just need to get them out of this room and eating something and out, and then things will be better. They’re hungry, they’re falling apart in front of my eyes, and I need to get food into them. I just need to get them out the door.
And then it started raining, raining, raining. Then it all became a little bit dramatic. Well, we can’t then do this and this. You didn’t even want to do that. I didn’t say that. I just said and it’s like my son literally walks out the door. It was too many words, too much emotion going on for him. I reckon he was outside waiting for his sisters at least 20 minutes.
Can we not hear a knock on the door? I can’t get them to like, They’ve just lost it. They’re in that place. We all know what it feels like to be in that place. Nothing makes sense. Nothing’s going to make you sort of feel better in that moment. And I remembered what Pru said, and I thought, I think this is what she means by ice cream days. And I thought, okay, I got to bring something to the table here, because while I might be a bit over, it all right now. Someone needs to lead the charge.
This experiment has not worked. Not on this day, after that morning, and no food. And it’s all been a lot. Bless them. Bless me. We’ve been going for a while now, even although there’s lots more to go. I said to them, you know what I think we need to do? And they’re like, what? I mean? I said, I think we need to go and do a challenge. One of those ones at the supermarket.
And they’re like, what do you mean? And I said, It’s a challenge at the supermarket that you’ve seen, know, YouTube or whatever. Bloody freaking Norris nuts or whatever. The girls watch and they’re like, oh, my God, yes, we could go to the supermarket, and we’re only allowed to buy things in the color that we’re wearing. Yes, Mum, brilliant idea, because by this stage, it’s about 430. I mean, it had gone on and on and on, and I just couldn’t get them out the door for the food that they desperately needed. And so I just started to make up stuff. I just started to be like, what would be so exciting to them that I can get them to somewhere where we can get some food? Because no one could agree on what for dinner. I mean, they were all over the shop.
But this challenge united them. I mean, it was a stroke of genius. I don’t even know where it came from. And then, okay, so all right, shoes on. Let’s just go. While I had momentum, we had to go. And then I had this most amazing chat with my youngest, and she said, Mum, because I said, I know you were really angry in there. You were saying things that didn’t feel okay to say.
I don’t think it’s cool that we say that stuff in our family. And I just wanted to know why. Where was that anger coming from? And she said, Mum, I just think I have been with people nonstop since we left. I get no time to myself. She’s saying this, she’s nine, and it feels like bubbles inside me. It feels like I’ve got these bubbles always building up because they’re so annoying. And then they build up and they build up and then they pop. I pop.
I get so angry, I don’t even know what to do about it. The thing she’d said was, I feel like punching you in the face. To her sister. I genuinely get that she did. And we’re not a hitting family. Artists don’t allow it. I said, Right, so what helps? And she goes, well, you know, there was one other time where I just popped and I knew exactly the time she was singing of because the bubbles just build up. And so now the bubbles have probably gone down a bit, but they’ll start building up again because I don’t have any space away from them.
She’s like, I think they’re fine to be together all the time, but I’m not. And she’s right. The other two are extroverts. They fill up. They get energized by people time. Of course, they’re normal humans. They need downtime, too. But she’s absolutely an introvert.
She needs a whole different level of space also. Just ability to just come back to base and regulate herself. She needs a lot more quiet time downtime. She needs space from people. This is something that has been obvious for years and years. She’s the child who is absolutely quite capable and really enjoys sitting, creating, playing by herself. Whereas the other two are like, Can I have banner over? Can we go and do something? And I just thought, what a beautiful way to try to explain the feeling that’s happening inside her. And we just held hands and walked to this supermarket and then she said, I’m really hungry.
I’m like, I know you are. And she’s like, My tummy sort of hurts because I’m super hungry. I’m like, yeah. So we got to the supermarket and they’re walking around and they’re like, Put the timer on. We’ve got two minutes, guys. And they couldn’t find anything. The way that they decided to do it was they could get whatever they wanted based on the initials of their name. And it was a bit of a I mean, they were excited to be there, but it was not great in terms of output.
They were a bit disappointed. It wasn’t the best sort of supermarket. It was a little local thing. But they’d spotted this lolly shop across the road. Lo and behold, I end up in this lolly shop reminding myself, this is my ice cream moment. This is my ice cream day. I got to just lower the barrier right now because we were needing to get dinner by this stage. It’s almost 05:00 and we walk into this lolly shop, because the lolly shops here are like candy stores.
They’re the ones where you’ve just got rows and rows and rows of different types of lollies in those containers and you scoop stuff out into a bag. It’s that. So they’re all going around just trying to work out what’s what in Danish and the different words for things that doesn’t match their initials. And they had an absolute ball. I reckon we were in there for at least 15 minutes, 20 minutes, as they made decisions, as they looked at different things, as they figured out how much of staff is fair for everyone to get. It was a total win for the team, not for the teeth or the sugar crashes that I might have to deal with tomorrow, but they’re actually pretty good at regulating not having too many lollies. So we did that and then it was about dinner. One of them was like, I literally cannot walk because I’m so hungry.
So I’m just looking around, trying to find this place, somewhere to eat. And we had found something, but one of them didn’t agree and I just knew that they were about to. Literally my middle child, she says, Mum, you know when you’re when you’re just trying to hold back tears, but you’re not too sure why you’re about to cry? I’m like, yeah, babe, I do. Because, of course, I mean, they didn’t have any of the lollies. They weren’t just in there just gorging on them. We had to find somewhere for actual proper food. So we ended up finding this burger joint. We sat down, we ordered some burgers and they were actually really good burgers.
And they came, but we were waiting and they’re like, oh, God, I’m so hungry. These poor kids had, like, a piece of fruit and breakfast and they’d had a massive swim, they’d had a lot of emotions. They’d walked around. Oh, God. And it was just this moment where I thought, I’ve literally got to get them now. The ten minutes until their dinner is coming. And so I actually pulled out just some paper from my bag. I’ve been carrying some games with us wherever we go, but I’d forgotten the games in the rush to just get them out the door.:
And I had a piece of paper and I found a pen and we played hangman, which we’ve been doing a lot as well. I’m like, Here, who wants to? And it engaged them and it distracted them. And then our burgers came and it was like the best meal we’ve ever had ever in our life. And they were so happy. And I can’t believe that was our day, our last day in Copenhagen, this city that I’m just enjoying so much. I would have just loved to have seen a few more things. And it was an ice cream day, it was a bit off the rails. And I talked to them on the way home, so we’re sort of laughing and everyone’s feeling very jolly.
They’ve got full tummies, they’ve got some lollies. I mean, they feel like they’ve hit the jackpot and they’re like, can we please can we just go back and watch bear Grills, because they’ve really gotten into his challenges episodes. Never have we watched that before, ever. It was just me trying to find something that all of them might be engaged by. Instead of every time we got to watch something, it would just be arguments about which movie they were going to watch. I thought, we just need a series. We just need something that’s going to engage all of them. Anyway, that’s turned out to be a happy experiment.
And I said, yeah, of course we can. Meanwhile, the sun is shining. I’m walking past all these fabulous bars and restaurants. It’s all just so gorgeous that you go down steps into bars and cafes and restaurants here, because they’ve built out like, the lower floor of things and it’s just like it just kills me with its coolness. And there I am, just this mum walking her kids with lollipacks back to our hotel room to watch bedrooms, just thinking, wow, Pru was right. I need to allow space and make it absolutely okay that some days are going to be ice cream days, or in my case, a lollies day, because it just cannot be. It’s not as though we actually have been going hard. It might look like that, but really, I have tried to incorporate lots of downtime.
The travel days in particular are a kind of a write off. I know when we get somewhere new, it’s enough to find a supermarket, stock up on a few bits and pieces, orient ourselves a little bit and then just relax. I mean, carrying the bags, figuring out new train systems or buses and flying sometimes. It’s actually quite a lot for the kids and for me, tiredness and low energy is our nemesis right now because it literally stops us in our track. So a lot of what I’m doing is trying to manage everyone and what they need. But some big lessons today in terms of letting go, in terms of always having food on standby, because we’re leaving tomorrow. I just had depleted the stores of snackage and bits and pieces and I thought, we’re going to be heading right out at 02:00. We can get something for lunch and have a light dinner.
It’ll be great. But that did not happen and we had what we had and it was the day. And now it’s what? Now it’s almost 1030. It’s going to be an early morning tomorrow. As we set off for Ireland. Can’t wait for I’m just giving myself a pat on the back for getting through what was a very messy afternoon, when I felt like my brain just wanted a little bit of its own holiday. I really like, oh, I just I need to switch off and I can’t. I am being pulled into this.
I have to find a solution. Turned out YouTube food challenges were my inspo and we got there in the end. That is the story. I am grateful to my friend Pru for letting me know. Ice cream days are normal and they’re going to happen and we get to just roll with it. See you soon.
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