If you think I was built to camp, you can think again.
But since the summer hols are no longer anything to do with me (thank you, parenting), I conceded to 4 nights glamping in a lodge at Hidden Valley in Wicklow.
I didn’t regret it. Well, I did. But not for the reasons I expected.
Here are my 12 Stages Of Going C(gl)amping With the Kids:
- Smug Parent-ness. How smug was I when I made the reservation – finally, a decent parenting move; a holiday that was really fuck-all to do with my needs and all about giving the kids something to look forward to at the end of the summer break and that would create memories to last a lifetime. Go, me.
- Confusion. So we’re camping but we’re not camping. What do we need? Where do we eat? Hidden Valley say they have cooking facilities so I probably don’t need to do anything. Just give Ass Monkey the info and wait for him to feed us, as usual.
- Packing. Packing for clamping is much nicer than packing for a flight. Warm blankets, wellies, flip flops, marshmallows, downloaded movies and, most happily, BEER. You can’t bring beers on a flight, you know.
- Panic. You have no sleeping bags because you’ve never been camping before, you dope. Also, Ass Monkey has been so sick for the last few days you are considering having him hospitalised. Which is a huge convenience since you have no idea how to cook for the kids over a camp fire. Thankfully, you’re not expected to pitch a tent.
- Cleaning. Why is there always so much cleaning to do when you leave the house for more than a minute? Also, why is Ass Monkey always threatening to be hospitalised when there is so much cleaning to be done?
- Relief. You’ve picked up sleeping bags from Argos and you’re on the road, entire family intact. First thing kids want to do when they get there is ‘get into the swimming pool’. Errr…
- Excitement. We’ve arrived. The sun is shining, the lodge is cool, the staff are beyond nice. We check out all of the activities and the kids go bananas for the playgrounds, climbing frames and slides. They also spend a ridic amount of time throwing stones into the lazy river, delirious with happiness. It’s the little things..
- Shame. You realise that you’re the worst glampers ever. You don’t have any BBQ utensils, plates, knives, lighters or, most importantly, wine glasses. HOW DID YOU FORGET WINE GLASSES, YOU FOOL?! (Side Note: Ass Monkey needs a commis chef/PA)
- Wasps. An official stage of being outdoors. The fuckers.
- Rain. The rain pelted down on two nights of our stay and I was never happier for our little lodge with it’s little plug sockets so that we could watch movies on the laptop with the kids. And so that I could fill my hot water bottle. Yes, I managed to pack that but not wine glasses. Yes, I am a granny. Yes, thank you.
- Washing. Ourselves, the car, the blankets, the thousands of socks, the wellies – everything and everyone are filthy after 4 days and nights in the outdoors. We had epic walks in forests with rivers running through it, rammed each other gleefully on bumper boats, waded in the river in search of fish, visited baby animals at Tinahealy Farm, stayed up late toasting marshmallows and drinking hot whiskeys, bounced on bungies, ran in water balls, played crazy golf.. the dirt was actually worth it.
- Happiness. It was a great trip, the kids had a ball, we’re totally relaxed on the back of it. My only regret? That we didn’t go sooner.