Here I am enjoying a mini-break on the Gold Coast with my little family.
Funny story - back in 2011 my husband (then my boyfriend) and I went on an amazing holiday to Hawaii. As we lounged by the pool, sipping on cocktails, I remember watching a family hanging out in the water just near us. Their kids were probably around 5 and 3. Nothing about their day looked relaxing AT ALL.
“MAAAM WATCH ME! WATCH ME! YOU’RE NOT WATCHING!!!” The 5 year old bellowed as the 3 year old insisted his dad toss him up in the air one. more. time.
I leaned over to Rhys and said: “if we ever have kids, we are leaving them behind when we go on holidays...”
Now that I am well and truly on the other side, I have to admit that pre-child me *did* actually have a good point. I mean, it’s not exactly relaxing going on holidays with small kids...
Last night I had to inhale my dinner and then miss out on all the restaurant staff singing happy birthday to my 4 year old because it was 9pm and the toddler desperately needed to go to bed. My glass of sparkling rosé sat half-full on the table as I left. Worst of all, I didn’t get to have dessert.
This morning, I inhaled my breakfast (make that 3 breakfasts #buffetforthewin #breastfeedingdiet) while the toddler threw his egg around and then tried to kick my coffee cup off the table while doing breastfeeding acrobatics in my lap.
And as I write this, I’m lying in the hotel room, with the same toddler, fast asleep on me, exhausted from his morning of playing in the pool. My husband is still in the pool with our daughter. She doesn’t have an off-switch and apparently needs to practice treading water so there is no chance hubby is going to be utilising those deck chairs we dumped our towels on.
But that’s OK! This isn’t a less superior holiday to the ones we had before kids. It’s just different. And hell, it’s actually a lot of bloody fun and just so nice to all be together.
My kids won’t always be so eager and excited to be staying in a 500 square foot hotel room with their parents for a few nights (especially all in one king bed...)
Nor will they always be so desperate for us to play, jump and swim with them.
Sure, I confess, I’d love to be lying in that deck chair, book in one hand, Piña Colada in the other. But those moments will return. In fact, at the other end of this parenting journey, those moments will define our holidays again.
Maybe then I’ll look across the pool at the young family who have the weary smiles on their faces, and actually feel a pang of sadness that all that is behind me.
Or maybe, hopefully, I will be able to just smile and relax further into my chair, knowing that while we were there, we enjoyed it to the fullest.
I’m think I’m going to try for that one.
Georgina Dowden is a mother, midwife and lactation consultant (IBCLC).
In her day to day life, she looks after her two beautiful children and also supports other families on their parenting journey.
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