Picture this. You’re on a beach with a cocktail in your hand, there’s a good book on the table next to you plus a few magazines you’ve been idly flicking through. All you can hear is the sound of the ocean, and the occasional pleasant chatter from fellow grown-ups as they revel in the freedom of being utterly relaxed.
This is what we hope for from a holiday. Total and utter escapism. Relaxation. No screen, or phones, to remind you what time it is, because it doesn’t matter.
Even if we want a city break, we still expect there to be relaxation. We want to slowly explore the city streets as crowds rush by us, safe in the knowledge that we have nowhere to be and no one to answer to.
So what happens to our idyllic holidays post-parenthood?
The cocktail is a no-go because parenting on a hangover sucks more than anything else in the world.
You can take books with you in the naive hope you will get to read them. In reality you will spend your entire time worrying your kids are about to drown and unable to take your eyes away from them as they hurl themselves head first into danger.
The sounds you hear are indistinguishable from one another. It’s just a roar of screaming, crying and little feet and hands hitting the water in a bid to make the biggest splash.
Yes we’re spending quality time, yes we’re making memories, but it’s not our idea of a perfect holiday, let’s face it.
When you go away with babies and toddlers, the fact is that everything is geared up around them. Where you go, what you eat and the times you have to do it.
Relaxing is basically impossible, because while you might have been able to get a week off of work, you can’t take a week off of being a parent.
Taking your toddler away for a week is like how I imagine the crew of super yachts feel.
Sure, they’re moored up in an exotic location where the weather is fine, the beaches are stunning and the food is out of this world. BUT, you can’t actually enjoy any of this stuff to its fullest, because there’s a power-crazed billionaire who wants an ice cream.
Plus there’s all the worry, because holidays are so dangerous. The risk of sunburn, drowning, getting lost in a strange place, it’s no wonder we come back from holiday feeling like we need another holiday.
As my girls get older, I know that holidays will evolve. Soon it will be Disney World and water parks, which to be honest actually do sound pretty fun. You’re never too old to don a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and gasp at the sight of Cinderella’s castle.
But for me, I’ll be looking forward to the day I can get back to that quiet beach. And that cocktail. Mine’s a Pina colada.