Splash! A cautionary tale of the perils of lone-parenting (or the day my son fell in the sea)

On Saturdays I look after the boys by myself while Rob’s at work. We are like ships in the night, passing each other by as single parents through the week. His shift is the days I’m at work, and then we swap over while Rob works. It means that we’re sometime limited as to what we can do with the boys. For example, we can’t go swimming, and we might choose to not attend events where the boys’ interests would be split. But it is what it is, and we just get on with it. There is a luxury in doing things together as a family, even as simple as food shopping together, because you don’t have to second guess, and there is one parent per child if need be.

Why parenting alone is bad for the health of your child

My tongue is firmly in my cheek, there, of course.
Last Saturday I took the boys to the beach. I couldn’t find the wellies in my car or the house, and so we drove to Rob’s work to check his car, but still couldn’t spot them. Rob’s work is sort of near the coast so I left the car there and we walked there with the bucket and fishing net in the basket under the seat of the pushchair. James scooted most of the way, on his Christmas-present scooter, which was really good because he’s not had much confidence to manage such a long scoot before.
We arrived at the beach, ready to check out some rock pools, but where we popped out from between the houses at the promenade, we were closer to the sand than the rocks. No matter, it was easier to go down the ramp with the pushchair than any steps.
Read about the wonderful beaches we have near to Newcastle upon Tyne

I folded the pushchair up, and tucked the scooter under my arm. James had the fishing net, and eagerly approached the first giant sea-puddle he saw.
Noah skipped up next to him, and watched James swoosh the net from left to right. And at this point, for some reason, he toppled forwards and fell in the sea-puddle.


He was soaked through. His little soft toy cow Moo was sodden. Every item of clothing he had on was wet. He staggered over to me crying and I led him to the edge of the sand and onto the concrete. I didn’t want to be wet too; there’s no benefit in us both being wet, so I’m sad to report he didn’t get a cuddle until I’d stripped him off and wiped his snotty, teary face.


James, meanwhile, was shouting and skipping about on the beach, so happy to be at the beach and swooshing his net through the air. He hadn’t noticed Noah fall in, or if he had, it just hadn’t registered in his 4-year-old brain as a problem. He came over to me when I called, and saw me about to pop my coat on Noah. “That’s too big for Noah!” he opined. I told him Noah had fallen in the water, but he wasn’t listening, and asked if we were ready to go back to the sea. When I said instead that we had to go back to the car he was devastated. He couldn’t see why we needed to leave. I pointed out his brother had no clothes on underneath my coat; but he thought Noah would be warm enough.


So, we started our slow return to the car. It had taken us about 30 minutes to go 0.7 miles (I’ve checked on Google Maps) on the way there, and James was beyond reluctant to leave the seaside. The return journey took nearly an hour! Poor freezing cold Noah! I just couldn’t persuade James to walk at all. I tried piggy backs, and promises of sweets, and when you see that even bribes aren’t even working what can you do as a parent on your own?!
So the moral of the story? Don’t go to the sea with little children alone? No, we’ve managed that many times before. I guess the message is that we just do the best we can do, and get on with it. We’re all struggling, we’re all human, and we can only do what we can do. In this case it was walk really slowly and try not to drive myself insane by asking James to hurry along 50 times a minute. And wish that it was a day when we were out as a family and not all by myself!
Read 8 ideas for FREE days out with a toddler
When we got back to the car, James hopped right into his car seat and started reading his story, as though nothing had been a problem. When we got home we all enjoyed a lovely mug of chocolate milk and snuggling up watching a LEGO movie.
Peaks and troughs, this parenting lark; peaks and troughs.

Country Kids

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25 Comments

  1. February 8, 2017 / 5:34 pm

    Aw bless Noah I bet he was frozen. Sod’s law of parenting that things like this happen when your on your own with the children. Xx

    • February 8, 2017 / 8:52 pm

      Oh definitely! I should’ve done something less adventurous!

  2. February 8, 2017 / 7:27 pm

    Ah poor Noah!! You’ll remember these things forever ha ha! Good to see a blog post that is real parenting!! Ha ha

    • February 8, 2017 / 8:51 pm

      I know; poor little guy was so pleased to be in my coat and tucked up. He’s a cheery soul so wasn’t crying for long! He wasn’t too cold (I think) because our walk back took so long he managed to squeeze a nap in.

  3. February 8, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    I can understand this well. One of the hardest days parenting I had was taking Arlo to the beach when he was four and Lena was one last summer on my own. Arlo was getting too far in the sea while Lena was trying to run off in the other direction to challenge a flock of seagulls. I was so torn and fraught. Kids eh! Good on you for trying though.

    • February 8, 2017 / 8:50 pm

      Yikes; that sounds scary!

  4. February 11, 2017 / 12:36 am

    oh the poor little man he must have been freezing!

  5. February 11, 2017 / 10:01 am

    Ahhh bless him. I remember TJ doing this once and having to wear my big winter coat to warm up until we got back to the car!!
    Chocolate milk and the Lego movie sound the perfect way to warm up! #countrykids

    • February 11, 2017 / 10:17 am

      It’s a really good job I had a 3in1 coat on, otherwise I’d have totally frozen too.
      Good to know I’m not alone.

  6. February 11, 2017 / 10:45 am

    Ah bless him, I bet he was having a great time up til that point though!

  7. February 11, 2017 / 4:36 pm

    I have every sympathy with this. Farmer Nick really doesn’t like the beach and I always took my kids alone. This was very tricky when they are all very tiny. I felt I spent all my time standing outside toilets with one or another, returning spades they had borrowed from other children and at worst contacting the lifeguards when I lost one. Thankfully I always made it home with all 6 children. I promise it gets easier as they get older, and despite my fears they have very fond memories of beach days when they were young. I hope you didn’t freeze to death after donating your coat too!

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  8. February 11, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    Poor little man and hopefully he warmed up fast. Glad older brother was having a blast though! #countrykidsfun

  9. February 11, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    Great post, the joys of lone parenting are many!!!! I bet he remembers the day as great fun now though? Hot chocolate (or cake) cures anything. The beach looks lovely, can’t place it – Druridge? #CountryKids

  10. February 11, 2017 / 8:48 pm

    What a shame your boy fell in a sea puddle. Especially at this time of year. #countrykids

  11. February 11, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    For a long time I took extra clothes because mud and water seemed to lure us in…just makes for a good story as long as no one drowns. 😉

  12. February 12, 2017 / 9:37 am

    Oh no what a shame. Its a nightmare where our good plans don’t go as expected. Beach days sound fantastic but when one gets cold and wet it can be miserable x

  13. February 13, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    Gosh that must have been a chilly shock! #Countrykids

  14. February 13, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    Awww poor little thing. I hope he’s ok now and not got any colds or worse from the experience. #countrykids

  15. February 15, 2017 / 11:41 pm

    Oh poor little Noah! Isn’t it typical that something like that happens when you were on your own with the boys. I can imagine that walk back felt like it took forever. Hope the chocolate milk and the LEGO movie helped everyone feel better 🙂 #countrykids

  16. February 16, 2017 / 12:36 am

    Oh no, bless him! This is just the sort of thing that happens though, isn’t it, and you’re right, you just get on with it best you can. It looks like a beautiful stretch of beach, hope your next visit is less eventful! #countrykids

  17. February 16, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Ah bless him, thats terrible. I hope he got warm quickly x

  18. February 16, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    I can identify with this. This time last year I was a single mum. At the time my oldest was 8, my twins were 3 and I was pregnant. It’s bloomin hard work having a day out on your own.
    And even when you go out with your other half, you still feel like a pack horse when the children make you carry everything!

  19. February 16, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    Sounds like something that would happen to me! This is what happens when you leave the house 😉

  20. February 16, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    I used feel quite daunted taking my girls out by myself when they were younger. Your little boy looks very cute all snuggled up after his chilly experience though.
    #countrykids

  21. mydangli
    February 16, 2017 / 9:39 pm

    Oh bless, it’s not easy leaving fun behind! Looks like it would have been a lovely outing to the seaside had it not been for the unplanned dip! Good to get home to a nice cuppa though 🙂 xxx #countrykids

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