How Holidays Change Once You're A Parent

29/07/2014 16:22 | Updated 22 May 2015

How holidays change once you're a parentAlamy

So you've survived those first few months of parenthood and are looking forward to your first break away with your baby.

But holidays, as you once knew them, are gone forever. And here's why...

1. Suitcase space

Forget packing a selection of bikinis and those extra pairs of summer sandals you 'just had to have.' Your allocation of suitcase space now allows for a dress, a skirt, one forgiving swimming costume, three vest tops and a pairs of flip flops.

The rest of the space is for bottles of formula, baby/toddler food pouches, baby/toddler clothes, baby/toddler suncream, toys, books and 10 small sunhats.

2. Bargaining for sun lounger minutes

Snoozing by the pool or on the beach used to be the thing you did after you'd eaten breakfast. Now it's the thing you do after arranging a complicated shift pattern with your partner based on hard bargaining and emotional blackmail.

Expect the use of phrases like "But she slept on me on the plane" and "If I do the lunch, I get to read the next chapter of my book totally uninterrupted and that means no asking if I know where doggy is."

3. Napping - for baby!

Remember long lunches chatting under a vast parasol while quaffing vino and gazing out to sea? Forget them.

Now think sitting in hotel room in the dark whilst small person sleeps, praying they will give you enough time to eat those snacks you hid in the mini-bar. Baby biscuits make a nutritious meal if nothing else is available.

4. You want to go on holiday with your mum

The thought of going on holiday with your mother used to fill you with dread, especially after that trip where you had to share a bathroom.

Now you find yourself begging your parents to come on holiday with you to provide free babysitting, an extra pair of arms and moral support for the plane when small person decides to have a massive tantrum. And you're annoyed when it turns out they have already booked their own relaxing child-free break. Or simply would rather not come.

5. Irrational baby safety fears

The fear that someone in a faraway place just might snatch your child never quite leaves you. Yes you know it's because you've been reading too many real life magazines, but you still look over the top of the buggy approximately every 10 seconds.

6. You're the table no one wants to sit near

You used to get back from the beach at 7pm and go out for drinks and dinner at 9pm.

Now you get back from the beach at 3pm and go out for dinner at 5pm. You pick the worst table in every restaurant so as not to disturb other diners and are back in your hotel room by 8.30pm wondering what, if anything, you can do next.

7. You get the point of travel wash

You used to scoff at people who bought a tube of travel wash for a week away in the sun.

Now it's way more valuable than your hair straighteners.

8. Reading? Hah!

Holidays used to be the perfect time to plough through the stack of books you'd been meaning to read for ages. Now if you're an optimist you pack two at the most. If you're a realist you pack a copy of Grazia. And that's so small person can amuse himself by ripping it to shreds.

9. You're stuck with other families

You live in fear of encountering holidaymakers who don't like children, but equally you can't stand the really loud brood at breakfast who laugh as their offspring liberally litter and shriek. You are also pathetically grateful that most foreign waiters actually seem to like kids. Unlike at home.

10. You used to want a hotel room with a sea view.

Now you just want one with a bath.

11. Self-catering suddenly makes sense.

Yes you used to like having your bed made for you and occasionally ordering breakfast to the room, but it's a small price to pay when renting somewhere private means naps, meals and parental meltdowns will all be that bit easier.

12. You don't dwell over meals

You will feed your child anything it takes to keep them amused - bread, ice cream, the tablecloth - so you can eat dinner. But you still end up stuffing down your food while your partner walks up and down outside the restaurant with small person. Then you repay the favour.

13. Flying is not relaxing

After drinking formula milk to prove to airport security that you are not a terrorist, you struggle onto the flight home with numerous baby bags, which you manage to hit 15 other passengers on the head with. During the 20 minutes you baby may nod off, you and your partner can be heard muttering to each other: "That's it, our next holiday is a cottage within two hours drive of home. And sod the weather."

(If this sounds like too much doom-mongering, after the initial shock of your first holiday, you will enjoy many happy family holidays ahead...Promise!)


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