When you go on ‘holiday’ with children….

So we have been away for 4 weeks now and have one final week to go of our glorious holiday and I thought I’d reflect on that time and see if I can’t offer a little insight into this whole holiday with a child thing. Just in case any of you were thinking of doing it anytime soon (maybe don’t..).

Here’s a little list of how awesome it is to holiday with a child. It’s just like before kids, trust me….

1. Holidays are about exciting transport. That tingly feeling you get in airports because you know you’re about to go on an adventure? No that tingly is pins and needles in your arm because of all those bags you have to cart with you. It’s having a 10 minute ‘discussion’ with the airline hostess as you try to convince her the 10 items of hand luggage you have are actually only 1 piece of hand luggage. Would she prefer it if you didn’t bring all these things and the child screamed the entire flight, or you bring all the things and said child screams for just 3/4 of the flight? Up to you hostess, I know which one I’d choose. Or is there option C and we could maybe pick up the kid on our way back? 

2. Holiday are about sleeping in. You know those holidays when you were young and carefree? Where you could really take the time to catch up on all that sleep you miss out on when you work 9-5 and ‘only’ get 8 hours a night? Yeah that’s gone. You know how you only get 5 hours of broken sleep a night at home? It’s less on holiday. You think your kids don’t sleep well at home? There’s now a million new reasons for them not to sleep. That’s not my cot, I ain’t sleeping woman. It’s darker here, I have to stay awake. It’s lighter here, I can’t sleep. Yup, it’s my linen but ‘something’ isn’t right, it’s a trick, nice try dad, I’m not sleeping. People used to see you after your holidays and say how rested and refreshed you look, now they will see you after your holidays and say how you must be looking forward to your break coming up. Feel free to hand them your child and get back on the plane.

3. Holidays are about eating out. Yup, absolutely, if you’re happy to eat the meal one at a time while the other one distracts the child with one of the 20 thousand toys you packed into the nappy bag, one of the 5 million different snacks that the child doesn’t want because he wants what is on your plate, even though you know he won’t like it. If you’re lucky enough to find a cafe with a high chair then you may be able to eat your meal hot, but that’s in between picking up the 20 thousand toys 598 times over 30 minutes because, you know, that’s the best game in the WORLD. Thankfully New Zealand has a lot of fish and chip shops. Go on, you know it’s easier. 

4. Holidays are about an empty suitcase and shopping. Yeah it’s an empty suitcase, as in its empty of anything that’s yours and chocka block full of the ridiculous amount of crap that needs to go everywhere with your kid. A suitcase per night that you’re away for is about the right amount I’d say. Don’t you dare forget that monkey, or that spoon, or that pair of shoes because didn’t I tell you mum? I can’t sleep without that monkey and I won’t eat off any other spoon and there’s no way I’m letting you put THOSE shoes on my feet!! And you thought they made a lot of washing at home? Think again. Mess is attracted to holidaying children, don’t ask me how, something to do with some science and stuff. It’s facts. And I’m not even going to talk about shopping. Don’t even bother. 

5. Holidays are about seeing the sights. What can I say? Thank god most kids under 5 get in free, because they truly couldn’t care less about that historic landmark or that spectacular view. And obviously it’s really relaxing to stop and just breathe in the landscape, the hills or the water or the sky. But don’t take more than 36 seconds okay because then he’s going to need food/toys/nappy change/distraction/picking up/putting down/throwing around/cuddles/sweater on/sweater off/help finding his shoe/hat/mittens/toy…you get my drift. 

6. Holidays are about doing things together. (Especially after 8 nights of fish and chips…). “I heard there’s this really lovely walk up to a view point, shall we check that out today?” Sure, absolutely, do you want to go this morning and I’ll go this afternoon? Oh, bless, you thought we could all go together. *sigh and a head shake* (you know the one). Maybe it’s just our kid and his feeding issues that brought this one up, but i’m sure if you stopped and thought about it you’d realise how much nicer that activity would have been if you’d just gone on your own, right? You want it to be this fantastic family outing, but you know all your kid wants is to bash that balloon around and definitely NOT sit in the car seat thank you very much. 

7. Holidays are about getting back some of that intimacy with your partner. Hahahahahahahaaaaaa hahahahaaaa. 

8. Holidays are about family time. This one is legit folks. It’s 100% family time. There’s no grandparents to come and give you a break, no friends popping in with cake and coffee, no playgroups to wear out the kids, it’s just you guys. No break, no rest, just family all day and all night…

So before you buy those tickets or book that hotel just stop and take a moment to change your expectations a little bit, and maybe call it a ‘family change of venue’ rather than a ‘family holiday’. 

In all honesty though we have had the most amazing time, but each and every one of the thoughts on this list passed through our minds at some point or another. It’s not a holiday like it used to be, but if you can let that go, it’s totally worth it. 


“My baby is a great sleeper”…said no-one, ever.

There’s that one day during the first year of your child’s life that you sit down with your cup of hot tea and your novel and you think something’s very, very wrong, why is he asleep, I should check him, he’s probably not breathing, like the only reason he could possible sleep this long is if he’s dead right, this tea is too hot, this cannot be real. Then there are the other 364 days of that year that you stand by the cot rocking him a little tiny bit too vigorously praying to anyone and everyone that he will just close his eyes. I spend a lot of time talking/crying with other parents about babies and sleep. For a little human being that needs a great deal of rest they sure don’t want it!?!

Here is a little list of things that can reduce a grown adult to tears, hopefully of laughter as you read, but remember that parents cry real-exasperated-I-give-up tears as a reaction to these evil, evil, evil things. 

1. Other people’s children. Do children even go to school at all these days?! It seems like there is always a child outside your window crying/playing/screeching like a banshee. Where are the truancy officers, it cannot be school holidays AGAIN?!! And shouldn’t these kids be inside on the Xbox anyway? MY child will not be like that, he will play quietly and gently in the garden respecting all other parents and their wide awake despite four hours of rocking/jiggling/singing (if you can call it that) babies.

2. Rubbish day. We dread rubbish day. It’s once a week, why is it every single week? And why the heck hasn’t someone invented silent trucks yet? And why wouldn’t the nice recycling man not be open to my fabulous suggestion of please placing each jar and tin and bottle individually and gently into the truck?! And perhaps if you could park the truck at the end of the road and just walk down to get the bins thanks? That would be great, much appreciated. 

3. Grass. More specifically, growing grass. Another machine that would be immediately embraced by the parenting community would be silent lawnmowers. Mrs next door I swear to god you mowed that lawn yesterday!!!!!! As for you Mr diagonally opposite, you were definitely out there mowing this morning and you’re out there mowing again this afternoon. And honestly both of your lawns put together aren’t as long as our lawn which hasn’t seen a mower in the last 6 months (who am I kidding? Twelve months). 

4. Car doors. Seriously we have soft close kitchen cabinets and I’ve definitely used one of those fancy soft close toilet seats, where the hell are the soft close car doors??? And you definitely weren’t hiding a soccer team in that family wagon, so how do four of you possible need to open and close the doors 49 times before you make it inside the house?Don’t come home in your car during the day, or at night actually, just don’t come home. In fact probably best if you move away. Far away. 

5. Cots/bassinets/Moses baskets/Pepi-pods/any baby sleep receptacle: how is it that babies are allergic to the very thing that was specifically designed for them to sleep in? It doesn’t matter how long they have been blissfully asleep in your arms for, doesn’t matter how many times you’ve coughed, or jiggled to test the depth of sleep, the second they feel their head touch their bed it’s like panic stations as those eyes whip open and stare at you, ‘you think I don’t know what you’re doing woman?! Nice try, now pick me up out of this snuggly, warm, perfectly made cot of HELL and get me back in your arms, you’re not DOING anything today, how many times do I have to tell you?”

And finally…

6. The most evil disturber of sleep ever invented that half of us can’t live without, the pacifier. Oh you trickster, you bringer of false sleep, you magical comforter turned sleep destroyer!!! They want it, they blissfully suck it, they fall beautifully asleep, right? Deeply, soundly asleep, like we do the second our heads hit the pillow these days. It lolls out of their mouth and you let it sit there because you’re too scared to move, they roll their head over and it falls out. Still asleep? *sigh*. The relief. It’s done. Magic. 

Then BAM, crisis-mum-it-fell-out-of-my-mouth, where is it where is it WHERE IS IT!?!!!! 

Don’t fight it parents. Sit down with a hand towel (a flannel is not enough, trust me) and cry. He’s not asleep anyway, so you can sob as loud as you like, while you dream of the day he’s a teenager and he won’t STOP sleeping.