I’m Mum, but I’m also 32-year-old Kim. Just because I’m now a Mother doesn’t mean I have to stop doing all the things I used to enjoy right? Life is all about balance they say, which in reality is more difficult than it seems. After having Theo, James and I became, well…BORING! We had gone from the couple who would hop on a flight for a little weekend break in say New York, or decide over breakfast to live abroad for a year or just go down the pub with friends during the day because it was a Saturday, to now…. when the best part of our week is Saturday night curry and Game of Thrones. so we decided our New Years resolution for 2017 was to say yes to more things, and start remembering the fun people we used to be. So when I got offered the opportunity to go to one of the biggest festivals in the world how could I say No.
Mum’s can do festivals to right?
Saying Yes was the easy part, I had to organise everyone and everything. This wasn’t going to be as simple as just saying farewell and leaving for the airport, oh no this was a case of making sure Daddy was happy with plans, grandparents were on hand for assistance, Doug the pug was going to be walked, bags for swimming and nursery were packed, a list of ideas was written of places to go for sunny days and rainy days, washing and ironing was completely up to date, Ocado shop was ordered and delivered and all parties involved knew what was going on and on what days. This was as well as me managing to fit in having my hair done, my nails done my legs waxed (as we all know they needed it) and basically just getting my own s**t together. I’m not going to lie there were points I thought to myself ‘is this worth it?’ to top it all off I went through what every parent goes through many times in their children’s life…Feeling GUILTY! That feeling in itself is enough to stop you from doing anything ever! I felt guilty for leaving Daddy on his own with Theo, I felt guilty for leaving Theo on his own with Daddy, I felt guilty for leaving Douglas alone with both of them, I just felt guilty for just feeling guilty. Am I a bad mother for wanting to go away on a jolly for a few days? Probably not, but my gosh I felt like the worst mother in the world. However the pennies had been paid and the tickets had been booked, there was no turning back now.
The day arrived, the journey to the airport was made and I found myself sipping on my bloody Mary in the upper-class lounge, the feeling of guilt still very much there but now being slightly overshadowed by the feeling of utter relaxation. Once on board I made my way to my seat, nested (as most passengers do) and got ready for the 11 hour flight ahead of me. Now at this stage apart from being sat down for the whole 11 hours this felt no different to leaving for work. but 11 hours sat with no one calling ‘mamma’, or yanking at my top for my attention or handing me bricks to help build a tower, no this was 11 hours of just me watching what I want on TV, drinking as much or as little wine as I chose and eating whatever I wanted….I was officially in holiday mode.
The flight to LAX flew by (couldn’t resist), we don’t need to go into the Ins and outs of what I got up to on the flight cause lets face it that wouldn’t make for a very interesting read. I was greeted on touchdown by a landing message from James letting me know Theo was fine and had been a good boy. The girls and I went and picked up our car and started the drive to Palm Springs. This is where I wish I was Kim Kardashian and had my own private jet to fly me, cause the traffic was like the M25 at rush hour and we needed to go around the whole thing twice (slightly weeping just thinking back). I believe it was about 4pm we set off and we arrived at the Coachella at 1am (hands over face emoji would usually go about here). Apart from the diabolical traffic we had to make several stops to Walmart for tents, food, alcohol and other necessities. There were many stops for the toilet and one stop for McDonald’s, but finally we made it, not to our 5 star hotel but to a campsite where here we had to carry our belongings from the car to the campsite, pitch the gazebos and tents and sort ourselves out, all this in the black of the night with only the one flood light to guide us. Lets just say it was a long night. By the time I climbed into my 2 man tent, zipped myself up in my sleeping bag and lay my head on my blow up lilo the long day had been forgotten and the neck ache kicked in.
Coachella had officially begun, the atmosphere in the campsite was electric, there was just this air of excitement. I had woken up to the smell of medicated marijuana (which is legal in the state of California) and the sun beaming down on me. I had experienced my first trip to portaloo and came back unharmed although no longer with nose hair. I was ready! We started the day with yet another bloody Mary, which now seemed very out-of-place in our campsite as most just had beer, but we carried on regardless. We bathed in the sun then took a little stroll to the farmers market (yes there was a farmers market) I had crushed avocado on toast (I’m so LA) then we headed back to get ready to go into the festival. Todays lineup was Stormzy (only know the Ed Sheeran song he did ), The XX (never heard of them), Banks (no idea), Steve Angello (vaguely recognise the name), The Martinez Brothers (who?) & Radiohead (ahh a name I know). Before kids I probably would have known about 90% of artists at a festival but a couple of years off and I have turned into my own mother. Not to worry, I surely haven’t forgotten how to dance and drink? The night is not lost yet.
To give you some idea on how this first day went… after a mid-festival nap we returned to watch The XX perform who finished at 9.50pm we then went to listen to The Martinez Brothers (where my side step clap dance was well and truly out-of-place) at 9.55 and left at around 10.05pm. This was then followed by some Jerk Chicken until we then all decided we had enough and trotted back to the tents for an early night. not quite the wild first day I imagined, but slightly relieved. midnight is still 2 hours after my bedtime after all, I had to give myself a little tap on the back. in all honesty I went to bed not only dreaming of a hotel bed or best of all my own bed, but also seriously wondering if this party side to me just wasn’t the same as it used to be.
Homesick feelings starting to emerge.
Today was a better day, I had spoken to home which gave me a little spring in my step, my nose had got used to the portaloo, and we had even managed to have a shower (lets not dwell on the fact this was the first shower, we had baby wipes). We did things a little differently today, we strolled over to the Farmers Market this time I got a quinoa salad (I know I know ) and coconut water, I sat by the charging station to charge my phone for a good hour and then soaked in the vitamin D till it was time to get dressed for DAY 2! Today however was the first real battle of Kim Vs Mother. Just to give you a little background information. The old me would have rocked up to a festival in her daisy dukes, floral headband and strappy top, with so much makeup on you would need sandpaper to get it off. The mother me is now seen in nothing other than ‘active wear’ even on days that I haven’t been to the gym. Hair is usually washed once a week and my makeup is only used on ‘special occasions’ or for work. I was now at a huge festival with the likes of Kyle Jenner and Victoria Secret models walking around this was not a place for ‘active wear’ this was a place for Daisy Dukes. Oh the horror! My now slightly more wobblier legs had to come out, my pigmented skin was now on show, and my tummy pouch was no longer covered in baggy tops. This was it… my mum body was being let out on the town for possibly the first time. This was going to take some serious amount of Vodka.
Todays lineup I knew a strong 80% of artists, we had Bastille (Rhythm is a dancer cover), To door Cinema Club (pretty sure Radio 1 has played them), Mura Masa (not a clue but surprisingly good), Martin Garrix (I am still 32 not 82), DJ Snake who bought out Lauren Hill (sister act 2 is my favourite movie) and Finally Lady Gaga (who doesn’t know her?).
Just like in my 20’s we snuck in miniature bottles of spirits to keep costs down, and spent the whole night just buying diet coke (watching the weight). The more vodka that was consumed the less I noticed my midriff was hanging out for the world to see.
Just walking around the huge space, it was evident as to how different this festival was to UK festivals. There were designated drinking areas, it was clean & tidy, there were places to go and do yoga & Pilates, arts & crafts even a beauty bar, vintage market and convenience store. If this was any UK festival I guarantee there would be 16 year olds vomiting on themselves or with their boobs hanging out, litter everywhere, people urinating anywhere other than the toilets and most probably……RAIN! Not only did Coachella have guaranteed sunshine but it guaranteed beautiful people, incredible outfits and pieces of art, it felt like a little community of people getting together that all have a passion for music, fashion and art….This was definitely NOT a UK festival.
Feeling very homesick and missing out on Easter Sunday with my family.
I had woken a little sombre this morning, with the feeling of longing to get home. But this was the last day of the festival and tomorrow I was heading home so I needed to suck it up and enjoy the last day. It started the same as usual although by day three, the sleeping on the floor was starting to take its toll on my neck. Do I have time to squeeze in a massage at the massage parlour before I leave I wonder?
The usual daily stroll to the farmers Market, this time treating myself to an Acai berry bowel (my body is my temple and all that jazz), another sit by the charging station (my phone hadn’t been over 30% battery all weekend) and finally another shower. By the afternoon it was time to get dressed and head in for the last day lineup: Future Islands (?), DJ Khaled (err), Lorde (Yes), Justice (tumbleweed) and Kendrick Lamar (not to be mistaken for Lemar from X factor). Maybe it was the feeling of knowing I was going home tomorrow or maybe it was the last day festival feelings but we were all well and truly in the festival spirit. We had done an amateur photo-shoot on the hill, enjoyed some crab chips (which is literally just crab on chips) and raved like…I’m not sure what we raved like but we raved. By the time Kendick Lamar came on the miniature vodkas had been consumed and we were all in a very happy place, so happy I didn’t even notice my white girl mum moves coming out to what I can only describe as gangster music (apologies if I offend anyone). I do believe every other word was a swear word and he was doing some type of gun dance in which his hands mimicked a gun shape. However I was in my happy place and so when in Rome…got down with it and joined in. “If you can’t respect that, your whole perspective is wack” (Wanna be heard, Kendrick Lamar)
Today my look of choice was the bohemian look, white floaty dress, pom-pom sandals and Grecian plaited hair, perfect for last day festival vibes, although didn’t quite work when I pulled out my twerking moves.
The last day of the festival was over, I had drunk one too many vodkas and was ready to call it a night at 12.30 (I’m so hardcore). As I lay on my makeshift bed head slightly spinning, I think about how proud I am of myself. I think about the many times I could have chickened out and not come at all, and I think about how much I miss my boys and how I can’t wait to see them.This was going to be the last sleep in the sweaty tent cause tomorrow I will be coming home.
Excitement for coming home.
Much like the day we got here, leaving day was going to be just as long. 4 very hangover girls, 4 tents and a gazebo to pack away and another round trip of a peak time M25. The journey back to LAX was just as relentless as the journey getting here, so to soften the blow another trip to McDonald’s was needed. We finally arrived at the airport, having missed the first flight home because of traffic we were rolled onto the later flight (thank goodness for working for an airline), however we had 6 hours to kill until our flight….What should we do? Only one thing to do….Santa Monica Beach!
After another very long day we are finally all nested in our seats home, the dry shampoo still holding in my Grecian plaits from the day before, the smell of the campsite still wafting in the air around me and my Coachella wristband still placed proudly on my wrist. My adventure was over. I was so excited to be getting home to see my family, the ache I felt in my heart just to get home and hold them both was even stronger now and I was longing to finally be back in my own bed, but there was a sadness that my little adventure was over. I strangely felt I had conquered something huge by going. It seemed so long ago that I was organising everyone and making sure everything was going to run smoothly in my absence, little did I know that everyone can manage! Daddy was amazing, Theo was as good as gold, grandparents were on hand and although I’m pretty sure I was missed life at home didn’t crumble as I expected it to. I came back to everyone having all 10 fingers and all 10 toes (except Douglas obviously)
Not only was this an accomplishment for me but it was for Daddy too. I should have a little more faith in future. Sometimes as mothers we think we are the cord holding everything together and maybe 9 times out of 10 we are. Stresses we put on ourselves I think sometimes is our own doing. Would the world have ended if the Ocado shop wasn’t done or Daddy didn’t have a list of things to do? NO he would have managed. This whole experience has certainly taught me that, in my strange little mind I want to be the person who holds it together, I secretly want everyone to struggle a little more when I’m not there, but why? Basically to make me feel better and to feel needed. But actually knowing that everyone can get on with things shows me I have done my job well. It’s not just about me, it’s about all of us working as a family so that when Mummy or Daddy go away it’s not a military operation in the days leading up to it. I would say it was gold stars all round.