There’s nothing like a family holiday; the promise of endless afternoons by the sea, exploring new places and creating a lifetime of happy memories. Until of course you remember the realities of travelling with little ones! There’s no denying we love our brood (and wouldn’t change them for the world), but once in a while, there’s nothing like reminiscing about a time when we were footloose and fancy free!
Before children: You take the executive decision just to take hand luggage, filling it with 7 bikinis, 2 pairs of shorts and some flip-flops, leaving enough space to bring back a bottle of Ouzo from duty free.
After children: You pile up the buggy, car seat, 37 different toys, sterilising equipment, muslins, sun protection suits, three changes of the kids’ clothes for each day and the changing bag that’s been packed to within an inch of its life, before stuffing your black jersey dress that will see you through just about every scenario into the suitcase that’s literally groaning at the seams.
Getting to the airport
Before children: You chat excitedly about your upcoming trip, optimistically reeling off all the things you’ll see and do. Obviously, you’ll update your Facebook page with the obligatory envy-inducing status to wind up your colleagues.
After children: On the one day you actually need to be somewhere by 6am the kids are impossible to rouse pre-sunrise. After 3 tantrums, 11 arguments and one return trip back to the house to grab Blankie, you finally get to the airport.
Before children: You sit back, relax and enjoy the flight, perhaps dozing off until you are gently woken up for your meal. You even treat yourself to one of those mini bottles of red wine, before settling down to an in-flight film.
After children: You find your seats, and smile apologetically next to the poor soul who has the misfortune of sitting next to you. You spend the entire flight convinced that at any moment the baby will decide to scream the place down and you’re too terrified to get up and use the loo. You glance over to your partner who has been wearily answering your toddler’s incessant questions for the past two hours, giving him a sympathetic look of support.
Before children: You’re the first off the plane and you breeze through the airport, trolley bag whizzing behind you, feeling smug that you don’t have to wait with the hordes of people at Baggage Reclaim.
After children: After what seems like an eternity entertaining/scolding/bribing your child, it’s time to disembark. You drag your brood to Baggage Reclaim: only to be welcomed by your battered buggy which looks about as good as you feel.
Before children: You had the foresight (and time. And energy) to peruse the bestsellers list in Waterstone’s, taking advantage of the 3-for-2 offer – you’ll definitely get through them all. When you’ve had your fill of reading, you tune into your Spotify playlist that you meticulously put together weeks in advance.
After children: You’ve loaded up the iPad with an abundance of mindless games to keep the little ones sufficiently occupied while you steal a few moments of relaxation. Of the previously mentioned 37 toys they insisted they take with them, none have been shown the least bit of interest.
Before children: You wake up feeling slightly groggy from one too many glasses of sangria, but it’s nothing an extra couple of hours’ kip won’t sort out. You doze off again and don’t leave your bed until 10 minutes before the breakfast buffet finishes.
After children: What’s a lie in?
Can you relate? Let us know your best and worst bits of a family holiday in the comments below.