Today is my first day back at the office and I have to admit that there is no sign of the holiday blues just yet. Let’s face it, holidays with kids are tough. Gone are the days of lazing by the pool with a cocktail in hand and enjoying an afternoon siesta before a night out. Now, the festive break is filled with play dates, trips to the waterslides (surrounded by throngs of other kids I might add), and endless games of dress up.
Thankfully it’s summer and my kids are water babies, so I was able to position myself poolside for much of the time, but the cold mojito has been replaced by the kids’ juice boxes and there is very limited opportunity to laze around on the lounger. With two kids under five, I find myself on lifeguard duty, constantly worried if their life jackets actually work (although anyone who has seen me swim will know that I am not their best bet in the event of a swimming-related emergency).
For me, the best part of a holiday is the opportunity to rest, which is quite frankly almost impossible with kids. What is a vacation without an afternoon siesta? Determined not to give this up, I insisted on a nap every day – for the kids I mean. It did, of course, involve a lot of bribery (you can have an ice cream when you wake up) and marathon park sessions to tire them out sufficiently, but it worked. Turns out the advice you’re given as new parents to sleep when your child sleeps, still applies in the toddler years.
“For me, the best part of a holiday is the opportunity to rest, which is quite frankly almost impossible with kids.”
As for the “nights out”, I’ve pretty much accepted these are limited to special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays, but my husband and I did attempt one date night during the holidays. He booked us a table at a really nice restaurant and a night at a hotel. The plan was for the kids to sleep at granny so we could enjoy a little freedom (and romance), although if I’m honest the hotel stay was less about a night of naughty shenanigans and more an opportunity to get eight full hours of uninterrupted sleep!
Well, dinner was great and allowed for some one-on-one time – I’m happy to report we can still hold an adult conversation. However, just as we arrived back at the hotel, we got the call – the kids want mum and dad. I can’t say we were all that surprised. In fact, we had booked interleading rooms just in case. Note to new parents – proper preparation is key to survival!
So, as is the case at home, my son slept with me in the king-size bed while my hubby was relegated to the B field – the twin bedroom with my daughter.
While it wasn’t quite the night we had planned, I will say it was just as special, maybe even more so – it was after all our kids’ first hotel experience and watching them look at everything with such excitement and wonder, from the key card to the hairdryer in the bathroom (that was a big hit), made forgoing sleep worth it.
But, with all that said, I am still in pursuit of a full night’s sleep and so my goal for 2020 is to get my kids comfortable with the idea of sleeping over at granny… oh the freedom that will bring!
Jessica is a writer and editor from Cape Town – and a mom of two young kids. When she’s not working or running after her two little ones, she writes about the mess and the magic of motherhood, sharing her parenting journey, one faux pas at a time. Follow her on Instagram @realhometruths