travel

'More parents need to get on board with the "car holiday" concept.'

MG Motor
Thanks to our brand partner, MG Motor

So lately motherhood has been rather overwhelming.          

Actually scrap that: motherhood is always rather overwhelming, which fluctuates in intensity by the hour.

But the past few weeks have been more intense than normal. 

My toddler is fast approaching two, and I don’t like to pre-judge these things but I think we’re going to have some really (sorry buddy) 'terrible twos' situations with this little human. 

Alongside this rampaging toddler, my big boy who's 6 years old is also meltdown central right now. 

He’s in grade one this year, and it’s been a big change from prep – more learning, less playing. And it’s taking him quite a while to adapt to the new status quo. 

My heart. Image: Supplied.

I try hard to be a calm and present parent amongst the tantrums and demands, to respond evenly and with love to their emotional ups and downs, but some days I just can’t and don’t. 

Yesterday I missed big time. 

We’d basically run out of food so I couldn’t put off the grocery shop any longer. I try to do the shopping solo, or with just one child whenever possible, but being school holidays, it was no dice Mama.

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I had to bring both boys with me to the shops. Gulp, I knew we were in for... something.

I’m felt incredibly guilty afterwards, but almost as soon as we arrived at the shops I was basically barking at the boys every ten seconds. Snapping ‘put that down’, ‘no, I already said no lollies’ and ‘stop that’ in ever more hysterical tones, reserved for only these types of scenarios. 

And yes, I know that I could just grocery shop online and save myself from these situations altogether, but I find online shopping creates more work, pre-planning and organisation to be home for the delivery in my already chaotic life. 

It's not much help when your fridge is already down to one sad cucumber, a few condiments and off milk. Plus, I'd rather choose my own fruit and vegetables. (Is that... weird?).   

Two of my three favourites. Image: Supplied.

After braving that chaos, we got home; I dumped the groceries on the bench, put the cold stuff away, got the boys cups of milk to drink, plonked them on the couch in front of a Bluey episode (or three) and escaped to the car. 

This time alone.

It's my new thing. I call it my ‘car holiday’, but the car is literally... stationery. In the garage. 

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It’s purely just my “me” time that I've carved out for myself. When I sit in the car, it's like time and all responsibilities are suspended, just for a little while, and I'm by myself for a small pocket of time. 

No one calling my name repeatedly. Making demands for more snacks. No tiny hands reaching for me for a few minutes.

Doors locked. Podcasts on.

It might sound strange, but believe me, it’s life-giving. Like a smoothing (and dimly lit) mental recharge. I like to think of it as my own sensory deprivation tank... basically just that I'm not floating in water and I have the ability to snack.

I actually love it.

I have the MG HS All Wheel Drive (it's called Essence X, and time spent alone in there is one of the most exciting parts of my days lately). The comfort levels are very much high on the scale there, making it the ideal 'car holiday' scenario.

It feels super luxe, as it's pretty spacious (not tank-on-wheels spacious, it’s just nice and roomy). 

Even if I'm on a ‘car holiday’ in the driveway, I recline the comfy electric sports seat back, open the sunroof, look up at the sky and our trees overhead, turn the podcast up or my tunes (I’m loving Haim’s latest album) through the Apple Car play and just enjoy my own space for a little while.

It's kind of changed my parenting game (for the most part: those grocery trips are still something else). 

I'm mostly in the garage doing it, but if I’m just in the driveway, I can literally see my boys sitting the whole time through our front window (to make sure everything's in order). But it still feels like I’m pausing for a breather.

The car has become my sanctuary in lots of ways these last few months. 

Like most of us, I thought we’d be further on the other side of this pandemic right now. But because we’re not, my husband and I have had to find new ways to deal with the cabin fever that hits us sometimes due to ever-changing border restrictions, and the unpredictability of where we can go (and when). 

Our response had been to become more regular daytrippers, which, pre-pandemic, we previously reserved for just now and then (and also before we had my sanctuary on wheels). 

When restrictions allowed us to, we’ve had some really lovely weekend and day trips close to Brisbane over the last few months, which we've cherished. 

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So far we’ve zipped up to Australia Zoo at Beerwah, headed to Mt Tamborine to do the Rainforest Skywalk, gone to the Redcliffe foreshore a couple of times so the kids can ride their scooters and bikes, and had picnics up at Mt Glorious under the trees. 

The boys have loved it, and not minded the car trips versus the fun pay off when we get there.

We used to try and not drive for more than an hour so the boys didn't get too antsy, but the MG HS has made our driving time fly, and be much more comfy for the four of us. 

The boot space is perfect for us, as we can house everything we need – groceries, scooters, pram, picnic basket and blanket. I'm also a bit of a safety-nerd with anything involving the kids (like prams, car seats and our family car in general); it’s got a 5 star ANCAP safety rating, ISOFIX mounting points for the kids' seats, and MG Pilot Safety Technology which eases my mind significantly.

We're never had a car with Autonomous Emergency Braking before this car, which crazily is the car itself actually braking in the event of a potential accident. Touch wood, we never need it, but it definitely helps us feel a lot more secure with the kids in the car if we ever were in that situation. That feature is part of the MG Pilot Safety Suite, which thankfully is not just in the car we have, but all HS models.

Image: Supplied.

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It's also super quiet inside when we're on the road, so the boys can get any naps in while we're driving (anything to help day naps, I'll take it!). This is brilliant as our little one napping in the car means we can hit the road early, come home late, and it just works for us really well. 

His life-giving sleep falls in the middle of the day, so anyway we can alleviate mid-afternoon outbursts of irrational feelings is welcomed by my husband and I.

I know our day-tripping isn’t quite the same as popping down to Melbourne or Sydney for a weekend willy-nilly, and it doesn’t replace our longed-for trip to the UK to see our family there. 

That trip is the one we're hanging out for. But we'll get there, eventually.

But for the here and now, we’re taking pleasure in what we can achieve in smaller strides, when it's safe to. And that's appreciating what we're lucky enough to experience locally. 

While I'm writing this, I'm very mindful that majority of the country can't move around right now, and travel as we might like to, especially to see our loved ones. All of us are facing so much uncertainty and change, and scared to make plans too big or too far into the future. 

But what we're holding out for are even the little wins; the local things we can look forward to, and the smaller trips that still feel big and exciting to our boys.

So as I hit pause, like many of us, on hitting the road with my family to relax and unwind on our own adventures, I definitely recommend recharging solo in your garage or driveway on your own 'car holiday'.

This MG beauty has definitely delivered quiet time and some extra peace for me, mentally.

My ‘car holidays’ are scheduled in firmly for the foreseeable future. I encourage anyone (parent or otherwise) to find what helps you survive (or thrive) in the times we're living in.

If you're looking for your next family-friendly car, experience the ultimate in driving comfort and enjoyment with MG HS. With refined style, uncompromising safety and dynamic performance, the MG HS sets a new standard in SUV.

Feature Image: Supplied/Instagram @mg_motor_aus

MG Motor
With refined style, uncompromising safety and dynamic performance, the MG HS that sets a new standard in SUV is now available with All Wheel Drive. Get more with the MG HS Excite X and MG HS Essence X. More versatility with All Wheel Drive, more space, more safety technology, and more peace of mind with 5-star ANCAP rating and seven year unlimited kilometres warranty. At $43,690 driveaway all options included, the MG HS mid-sized SUV is the more you’ve been looking for.