I don’t usually like to generalise, but I think that I’m right in saying that everybody loves holidays. The ability to go somewhere different, experience something new and escape – albeit briefly – the stresses and strains of modern life is something that massively appeals.
As a family, we’re unintentionally pretty tight when it comes to spending money, but this has always meant that we’ve had a bit of spare cash to put towards holidays. The missus and I would often do one big holiday abroad each year, alongside a couple of shorter city breaks, be it UK or Europe. We’ve found that a holiday doesn’t have to be big or extravagant, sometimes just getting away for the night can help to recharge those batteries.
Since Baby L popped into the world, our gallivanting has actually sped up, rather than slowed down. In her 14 months on this planet, the sprog has been on short-breaks to Pembrokeshire, Hampshire, Worcestershire and Cumbria, as well as had her first experience on a plane after we got her baby passport for a surprise trip to Berlin for my birthday.
What I’ve noticed though, is that our holidays have massively changed from what they were before Baby L was born. That’s probably a pretty self-explanatory thing to say, but the more I think about it, the more that I realise that our pre-baby holidays are actually quite far removed from those of the post-baby era. To give you a bit detail about what I mean, here are the three major changes that I’ve found to our holidays since having a baby:
Where You Go Changes
Since having a kid, probably the biggest change I’ve found when it comes to holidays is where we go. We used to love heading to the States, hiring a car then just driving anywhere and everywhere. However, since Baby L popped into the world, both distance and cost play even more significant parts.
Not only is money tighter with a baby – particularly since I became a stay-at-home dad and we went down to one wage – but the last thing we want is to be stuck on a plane for 8+ hours with a little human who is only able to communicate through crying, feeding and crapping.
Instead, our holidays are now much closer to home. A baby is unlikely to know whether you’re in Malibu or Margate, so it just makes sense to forego costly and long distance holidays. At the end of the day, for us, a holiday is about getting away for a short break, seeing different things and enjoying time together as a family.
That doesn’t mean that going abroad is off limits though – with so many cheap and quick flights to the likes of Holland, France and Germany, you can still get to a different country quicker than some places in the UK. Where you go on holiday when you’ve had a sprog might change, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t still have an awesome time.
Where You Stay Changes
Another difference between the pre and post-baby days is the type of place you stay. Once upon a time, all you cared about was having a bed, even if this bed was heavily soiled and in the same room as 12 strangers. You may have also experimented with some more random accommodation, be it tents, igloos, tree houses, teepees, gypsy caravans or a narrowboat.
However, once a baby arrives, your focus turns to finding places that cater for families. Whereas the words “all you can drink for 10 EUR” might have once sent you into a tail spin of excitement, the same can now be said for the phrase “family-friendly”. Oh, how those two little words can fill you with comfort, happiness and reassurance all at the same time.
So, when looking for accommodation, child-friendly cottages, villas and hotels become the be-all and end-all. Knowing that the place you’re staying at comes with the likes of a travel cot, high chair, stair gates, kids menu and little noise from 8pm onwards, provides a parent with a feeling that I’m struggling to convey in words.
What You Do / See Changes
Never did I imagine that a holiday – correction, my holiday – would consist of things like kids’ theme parks, soft play and animal farms. At what point did hanging around in a place with other peoples’ screaming kids become relaxing or enjoyable? I’m pretty sure that the answer to that is never.
Gone are the days of late-night drinking, lazy days of sunbathing or adrenaline-fuelled adventures. The same goes for relaxing lie-ins, breakfast in bed and a laissez-faire attitude to what you do each day. Instead, these are replaced with activities which are family-friendly (there’s that magical phrase again!) and achievable around a set routine.
How can you go on a five-hour hike up an active volcano when morning naptime is at 10.27am, they’re due a feed at 12.12pm and the heat will melt the wheels on the pushchair? Parenthood certainly does throw up some different logistical challenges.
sacrifices changes, the truth is that I wouldn’t want it to be any different. There’s something pretty special about seeing your little one experience different sights, sounds and smells for the first time. In order to be part of that first-hand, I’m more than happy to trade in some of the luxuries and forego some of the things I want to do. After all, is singing along to the Hokey Cokey really *that* bad?
Those are the three major changes that have happened to our holidays since Baby L left the mothership. Do they sound familiar to you? How have your holidays become different since having a kid(s)?