Parenting blogger Anya Harris relives her experiences of a one-parent break on the laid-back Greek island
On our recent Mark Warner holiday, the children weren’t filled with the same kind of anticipation that I was. All they could think about was swimming in the lush-looking pools at the Lemnos Beach Resort and the Greek food I’ve been waxing lyrical about to them for as long as they can remember.
All I could think about was how long it had been since I’d laid down on a lounger with the sun on my face and how #awkward it might be travelling to a family resort as a single parent. Although I’m used to being on my own with the children, families can be fickle, and the potential for embarrassment was huge. As it happened, I needn’t have worried because the activities Mark Warner offers means you see lots of people alone while their other halves are off playing tennis, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking or mountain-biking (all for free), and you hardly see anyone with their children because of the variety of kids’ clubs.
Plus, there is a very friendly ‘Solo Traveller Drinks and Dinner’ at the outset of the week, so you can meet up with others in a similar situation. But I wasn’t looking for company, I was looking for me. I wanted peace and space, to try to find my old self from before having children and my subsequent divorce. Because lots of people looked alone, I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Also, crucially, the children were off being looked after and taught how to play tennis, sail, windsurf or kayak too.
These amazing opportunities would never be afforded to us at home so I felt it was important to make the most of them. We spent every afternoon and evening together, but in the mornings, it was just me. Yikes! I chatted, lazed about, read a book, watched a lot of the action and considered joining in the aqua aerobics.
The old (desperate to be liked) me would have taken part every day. The new (desperate for a rest) me chose not to. One of the other residents took us out on a laser yacht one afternoon. He couldn’t get enough of the sailing and his wife kindly lent him to us for a while. It was wonderful and we will forever be grateful for that – despite being scared stiff, with it being my first proper outing. I joined in the beginners’ lessons but never gained the confidence to go out alone. The old me might have had a go but she would definitely have gone water-skiing because she learned how to on a Mark Warner holiday years ago.
The new me decided against them both because I suffered some concussion recently and thought it was silly to risk either. I needed to bring myself up to date. There is much left of the older me, but I also discovered and brought home a new part of me. The peace and space provided, the times spent just having fun with my children learning new stuff and skills and not worrying about endless shopping and cooking and washing and so on, gave rise to it. Relishing in their delight, enjoying all our excellent meals together and seeing what they did with their freedom too, was a joy. And it wasn’t #awkward at all.
Read more about single-parent holidays with Mark Warner. Holidays to Lemnos in Greece start from £649pp and include British Airways flights, full-board accommodation with wine, resort transfers, childcare from 2 years (4 months–2 years is chargeable), drop-in evening crèche, windsurfing and sailing with tuition, mountain-biking, tennis and fitness activities.
Anya Harris runs the blog Older Single Mum.