Parenting : The Holiday


My husband and I are currently having a disagreement. Nothing terribly unusual about that, but someone needs to give in, and I damn well don’t want it to be me.

The topic up for debate is holidays in 2011, will we or wont we bring Max? My husband is on the affirmative, and I am firmly on the negative.

I have never been on a proper holiday somewhere with my baby, who is almost now considered a toddler. Some might think this is kind of sad. But for me, it’s just how it should be. Maybe I should to define the word HOLIDAY. The dictionary states it is ‘A day free from work that one may spend at leisure.’ Hmmm. Ok. For me, the reality of spending my days caring for a toddler is quite hard work. To say it was leisurely would just be a flat out lie. I am literally running after Max, who is now crawling and crusing the furniture at speed. I am also constantly watching him, removing hazardous objects from his mouth. He eats everything in his path including rocks, twigs, shoes and toilet paper is a new favourite. There are also infinite nappy changes, 4 solid feeds a day in the highchair, 3 bottles  & 2 sleeps a day. And that’s just the basics. I love Max, and I love being his mum, but I don’t want to do this while I am supposed to be on HOLIDAY.

I have spoken with a few mums and dads who have taken small children on family holidays, and the overwhelming consensus is – a holiday with young children, can’t be called a holiday. It should be called a ‘change of location’. Because, young children don’t suddenly look after themselves just because your paying $500 a night to be on an tropical island. They just keep doing what they normally do. In fact, some parents even claim it can be harder. The kids are in an unfamiliar environment. They don’t sleep as well, waking during the night. And for breastfeeding mums, one friend explained that a time zone change between here and the UK meant her milk supply was out of wack. She had stacks of milk all night, and then not enough during the day. The baby was unsettled because she didn’t have enough to eat. In case you can’t tell, I’m already sold.

My husband is adamant that Max should come with us. Partly because he doesn’t get to spend that much time with him. But also because he doesn’t grasp the full on nature of 24/7 care. He is fabulous with Max, and to his credit, when he is home, he does the majority of the feeding/changing and caring for Max. It’s just that a few hours in the evening is not comparable to all day care, often starting at 5.00am. And if I had to single out the hardest aspect of parenting, it would hands down be its unrelenting nature.

I don’t think I need to define ‘leisure’. For everyone it different, but it usually involves doing things at your own pace. For me, its also doing things that I can’t do everyday. Reading a trashy book or magazine, lying in the sun with a mojito, shopping without having to navigate a pram around clothing racks which are never designed with enough space in between. Sleeping in, going to the toilet on my own and generally giving myself a well earned break.

So after much discussion we have made a deal. Speak to a few friends who have gone on holiday with their toddler. Ask them what it’s like. Was it enjoyable? Would they choose to do it again? AND, If after speaking with them, you still want to bring him, we can talk about it more seriously.

I will keep you posted with the outcome!

xx Amanda