It’s summer holiday season now and could I ever use a holiday?! This summer of sailing is more like a trip than a holiday or vacation. There is very little relaxing and it is definitely more work than just staying at home.
About a week ago, we were feeling sooo good, loving this life and then bam! We are currently deep into some parenting challenges and feel pretty shattered.
I realized we have been with our girls 24/7 for nearly 2 months now. We have had a few visitors but no real break. Thankfully we have a few coping mechanisms and one of them is coffee. My wonderful husband makes coffee first thing for us every morning. I know for sure that I couldn’t do this adventure with anyone else. A good partner in parenting is so important.
We do trade off occasionally so one of us gets a break but it’s usually to go ashore and have a shower or some other self care activity. Sometimes I just need someone else to entertain my girls, which is why we go on adventures off the boat all the time. The world entertains them, whether it is a coffee shop, a playground or just a walk along a quiet island road collecting berries.
I also like to seek out locals to talk to as they have a wealth of information on the area we are in but also most people like kids and capture their attention for a moment. Even if the attention is fleeting, I am grateful for the wee mental break. I’ve definitely considered trying to find a babysitter but I tell myself that this is just a summer. In a month we will be home and we hopefully have more help either from daycare, family or I’ll be looking for a babysitter for real.
We do choose to spend a lot of time together as a family because that is what this trip is about for us. We are trying to create and build bonds with our girls now. We are also trying to instill resilience and grit into our girls subconscious so they can draw on it later in life. These traits come from experiencing challenges and working through them to move forward. This is something that we do everyday out here.
Living on a boat isn’t easy. When we are tied to a dock the boat is relatively still, when we are at anchor the boat moves with the wind, currents and passing boat wake. When we are sailing the boat is moving side to side as we tack or gybe our way along. All of these are more challenging than living at home where the ground stays still.
We do have some home comforts like refrigeration but we don’t have pressure water or hot water. We have just enough space for the 4 of us and often the boat feels too small. We use the cockpit and deck space under the Bimini to extend our living space in the evening. Maddie is a growing boisterous toddler who can fill our small salon easily with her movements, voice and toys.
Many of our challenges are ones we would have at home. We are trying to encourage independence in Maddie but then everything takes longer. Like getting dressed or in our case, every time she goes into the cockpit she has to put on her life jacket. She has also recently figured out how to escape out of her bunk, which is quite frustrating. She can be quite a jack-the-box escaping multiple times in a couple of minutes. We have googled ways to prevent this and are now armed with a plan. We will see how it goes…
Maddie also practices yelling and running at times and this is when I wish I could just open the door and send her into the backyard to run around. This is one reason we are always on a quest to find a playground.
Amelia is nearly 7 months old and has grown a lot on this trip. At first she would just lay on her back, roll and play with toys. Then she started crawling. We had her in a round bassinet but then a couple weeks ago she nearly escaped out it. Now she is pulling to stand and cruising around. The only fully safe place for her is in her bunk in the main cabin because the lee cloth is quite high. I just feel like I’m just barely keeping up with her development.
Now that Amelia is eating solids, meals take longer and are way messier. This is when I wish we were at home with a tub and I’d just give her a bath afterwards.
Of course the other aspect is the interaction between the two girls. One minute everyone is happy playing peekaboo and the next Maddie is screaming because Amelia took her toy. Maddie doesn’t fully grasp sharing yet and Amelia just wants anything and everything in her mouth.
At this point we are knee deep in dirty laundry, out of fresh produce and short on patience.
We have been making our way down the Sunshine Coast and I couldn’t be more excited to get to Gibsons!