There is nothing more special for the family than your baby’s first Christmas. However once Christmas has passed and you head off with your new family for your much-loved annual beach holiday the cracks start to appear. You’ve fantasised about the perfect summer break and spent hours in the planning so what could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, it would seem!
Firstly the place you booked on the Internet doesn't quite match up to the place in real life! You unpack all but the kitchen sink and spend the rest of the day making block-out curtains and baby proofing the place. After hopefully surviving the first night you wake fresh knowing that your only task for the day is getting down to the beach. After covering every inch of your child in sunscreen and SPF clothing you and your partner trundle down to the beach looking nothing short of a couple of packhorses. Beach tent check, towels check, floaties check, hats check, rashies check, goggles check, bucket and spade check, water bottle check, snacks check, beach cover ups check, nappies check, change of clothes check...and on it goes!
Once at the beach you spend 15 minutes decamping and erecting your sun shelter. Finally you get down to the shoreline and manage to get your toes wet for a moment before embarking on building sand castles to entertain your child. If lucky enough you play tag team with your partner where one runs in for a quick cool down while the other stays ashore to kid wrangle. You decide not to get in yourself as it's easier to dry the child and get them changed if you are dry yourself!
Departing the beach 30 minutes later with a hot, bothered and tired child (because you didn't make it down in the sun safe window which is far less time than it took for you to get ready), you surrender and decide to evacuate. Back at the apartment your afternoon is now bound to feeding and sleep times and your evening drinks have been replaced with a park and an early child friendly dinner.
The days repeat themselves with slightly more frustration building whilst you try to come to terms with the fact your holiday is not quite the same with a baby on board as it was when it was just the two of you.
However - it's not too late to have the relaxing holiday you missed at Christmas time! Start planning your next holiday, with Easter around the corner, using your experiences to make some practical adjustments:
1. Go somewhere where you are already familiar with the layout of the accommodation and facilities or if not and local, try to take a day trip before hand to sight it
2. On arrival, dial up the local babysitting agency and schedule in some ‘you’ time - walks, dinners, surf swims. You are likely spending a fair bit anyway so factor this cost into your holiday so you can maximise the enjoyment of the chosen destination
3. Take some good books and magazines with you so being tied to base isn't too bad
4. Cook much less, always other easy alternatives
5. Apply a washing ban except for essentials
6. Alternatively, with very young children, you could forget the beach holiday this year! Maybe better to enjoy outings from home, or plan to stay close to family that can lend a hand and give you some time to yourselves.