Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holidays with Kids


As we're about to embark on a two week adventure with our family driving around the bottom corner of Australia, I have been thinking about doing holidays with small kids a lot (and wondering if we will come back sane!)

Holidaying with kids has been a journey of acceptance for me!  I think we spent the first five years of having children, longing for our child-free past where it was days of sleep-ins, late breakfasts, going for a lazy swim, afternoon sleep, reading multiple books, dinner out and if we had the energy maybe seeing a movie.  Personally, I feel that remembering those days is like a form of torture for parents.

After five years or so we reconciled ourselves to children not sleeping well in a new environment, children awake at 5.30 am, an hour of preparation for an outing to the beach, then an hour of rinsing and hanging out the wet stuff on return, endless shopping for the mountain of food they consume and putting up with the cries of 'I'm BORED Mum'.  But the reward was bed-time followed by yummy grown-up food and non-Disney DVD.  We started hanging out for that from about lunch-time!

However, after 10 years of kids I think we might have finally got to the point where some of the daylight hours are actually fun and not dominated by our obsession with bed-time!

Is this because we've just finally been worn down so much that we can't actually remember how good we had it pre-children?!    Partly I think it is because our kids are older, sleep better and can do more fun stuff.  But it is also because we can't imagine a real holiday without our children now.  They are part of who we are as a couple.  Being obsessed with getting away from our kids wasn't good for us.  It made us ungrateful for our children.  It stopped us just being with our children and enjoying them.

Is the message that you should just wait until your kids are older to go on a decent, enjoyable family holiday?  You could.  But you also miss out on learning how to do holidays with your kids.  And lots of parenting is just learning about how to be with your kids, even when it is hard and tiring.  Plus going on holidays isn't just about the adults.  It is also about the kids and allowing them time to hang out with both of us when we're not trying to rush around in the normal craziness of day-to-day life.

I'll let you know how it goes on my return!

2 comments:

Gina said...

Wise words Jenny... thanks!

Graham & Heather said...

Hope all the holiday plans work out well.