So today I am feeling a little funny… it is indeed that time of the year when the longer holidays happen.  It is the time when those house monkeys, little people, or whatever you choose to call your children/teenagers, pack their suitcases and go on holiday with your Ex. 

So this year I was mindfully aware of those persistent wobbling shout outs of “they’re leaving, they’re leaving and soon” tapping at my grey matter. I took deep breaths and continued packing wet suits, hiking boots and other such requisites for a seaside holiday in the UK, getting everything ready to be packed in my Ex’s car. 

So here is the BIG thing, for most of the time, these gorgeous little people of ours are intrinsically part of our everyday life. We know holidays are going to happen, and even in the most chilled of estranged households with farewells full of care, love and adieus in song, once you close that door to your home the house still becomes oh so quiet… and I have a Bjork song going off in my head at this juncture and feel for a few minutes afterwards like I might explode with sadness.

I know I have not met any divorcee as yet who whoops it up as soon as their kids have left.  It is like the life tracks switch with an almighty ALL CHANGE, and our human emotions never fail to present themselves in their raw soft ‘belliedness’ as a sense of loss abeit temporarily. 

I find the first day the house monkeys leave properly hard.  I mooch about really very mindlessly, I may make a cup or several of tea then let them go cold. I casually flick through my social media which can be a soul destroying thing to do anyway during the summer holidays, let alone if you are a single parent, with eyes glued to the wall of family togetherness on holidays.  

And this is OK – of course it is, but just on this particular day of loved ones departure the LONELY WHAMMY hits. This year my Ex is taking the house monkeys to good friends – you know the old ones who you are both still in contact with, but this time it is with his lovely partner.  I feel sad and yet happy for them all – well why would you not? Oh and just a little bit sorry for myself.  

So next I fire up the laptop and go straight to a last min holiday website and where, just for a few minutes – actually it’s probably more like an hour, I transport myself off on a fanciful trip to Rome or a Greek island or somewhere where I can lie on the beach for the next couple of weeks that they are away.  Except… this isn’t going to happen, not this year – why because that really would be a huge, even unbearable avoidance tactic… why so? 

Because… I am committed to writing a book, based on this, my blog with all sorts of divorce experiences, a big dose of helpful stuff and a whole load of helpful and supportive gorgeousness.  I’ve also taken step off my comfort zone cliff and signed up for a course with Shaa Wasmund of Stop Talking Start Doing book fame.  So there is no way on earth am I going to be able to, just yet anyway, take myself off to a hot sizzling beach and idly zizz around with a cheeky gin and tonic on the side.
So how do we all get through the day THEY go away?  Are we our children’s dependants? Yes for me it does feel very much like it especially during times like this summer holiday thing. What I do is this, I always set myself a task and a half to keep me out of mischief… either a course to finish, a book to write or a house move – get me with the pressure thing! This year my task is to kick my book writing into touch.  

So for the rest of this first day, after the virtual mini break on said laptop, I go into being kind to myself mode. I do a little deep breathing to help calm my thoughts or combine both on a walk up into the woods near to where I live.  I perch on my fav tree stump and I breathe and I gather up the wilder, more unhelpful and busier thoughts and pop them off on their way off into the skies. I take in everything around me and think of all the wonderful things I am grateful for – this can be a long list on a day like today… I love being in nature because it works – it truly flippin’ works when you need to destress – it’s magic what happens to me after time in amongst the natural green stuff.  

My house is STILL deafeningly quiet, so I may say a casual “hi” to my inner teenager. I ignore the vast array of teenage playlists on Spotify and I put some of my own shake ass crazy tunes on Spotify and I rock it out for a full 30 minutes. Exhausting and exhilarating myself all at the same time and hearing the music I love!  I smile – how can I not when my body is all tingly from dancing, with amazing energy moving and whooshing through me, reminding me I am alive and happy!  

It is easy to hunker down and want to be a little small after our kids have left for their hols. We can either take the opportunity to have a pickety unkind pick introspectively, mess with our own heads and have a cuppa with the fear monkeys, or we can be kind and compassionate to ourselves. So we can re-tune into the different energy in our homes when it is just us, ourselves there and be with the quiet. Accepting and embracing the peacefulness of listening to the background noise of our home as it moves, the birds outside or to just being with our thoughts, kindly.

This year I have also bought a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo which I am curling up with tonight… I look forward to having a sneaky clear out of my house monkey’s enclosures and well, this just helps me feel a little nearer to them…  

Wishing you all wonderful holidays.  
Love Natasha