My family have endured some hideous holidays over the years. Just dreadful. Terrible wastes of money. Stressful and totally shattering. Holidays when we just couldn’t wait to get home.
It’s a shame isn’t it? Holidays were guaranteed to be fun-filled and fabulous before we had the kids.
The first expedition as a family went quite well. Pete and I came to Australia and New Zealand for four months. We travelled overland from Darwin to Perth, explored the South Island of New Zealand, it was a blast.
No trouble at all.
Mind you, our first son was still gestating in my ever-swelling tummy throughout this journey.
It was only after he popped out that the trouble began.
Although possibly we should have chosen a different country for our first escapade. Karachi is not necessarily the kind of city that a first time western-born mum can feel truly at ease in. And our dearest Eldest was just three months old.
We were so naïve, thinking that because we had travelled all over before, that wandering with a babe in arms would be easy. Wrong!!
We actually spent a year living in Pakistan as expats. I was the worst memsahib on the sub-continent, I swear.
Lesson 1: Try not to have too many changes all at once.
Weekends away were attempted in Pakistan. Who can forget the authentic old hotel in Lahore that we’d have loved if we were backpackers?
But old fag ends and cockroaches just don’t have the same appeal when a crawling baby is rampaging around. We moved swiftly to the five star hotel around the corner.
Lesson 2: Parenthood changes you: go upmarket if you can.
And what about that weekend at the five star hotel in the exotic hill station ofMurree, north of Islamabad. Once the summer capital of the British Raj in the Punjab Province, Murree sounded lovely, and very grand.
We had the driver and car waiting for the three of us at Islamabad Airport. What could do wrong?
Riots on the road that’s what. Buildings on fire and crowds with big sticks. Well done that zippy driver who got us up to the hotel safely, then got his car windows smashed on the drive home.
Lesson 3: Pick your destinations carefully.
Actually the hotel was great, but we couldn’t leave it at all. And the tanks with gun turrets pointed out took the shine off the weekend a bit.
Oh yes, and our baby was the World’s Worst Sleeper. He’d be awake for hours in the middle of the night, and so would we. Walking, walking the carpeted corridors in the bloody stroller. Shockin’.
Lesson 3: Babies love routine, some much more than others. This is a bullet you might just have to bite.
It turned out that this first son of ours had a developmental disorder and that did explain a lot about these tumultuous and sleepless early expeditions.
But did we learn our lesson?
Seana Smith is a mother of four children and author of three books, including ‘Sydney For Under Fives.’ She blogs about great family-friendly places around Sydney and about family travel at: www.seanasmith.com. Do come for a visit.
Seana also blogs about healthy family food at: www.themumsdiet.com. Do pop over and add your advice!