A holiday with a baby is no holiday at all

By definition, a holiday is an “extended period of leisure and recreation, usually spent outside the home”. Leisure means a time when a person is not working or occupied. On this basis alone, the five days I just spent in Cape Town with my family was no holiday at all.

Since my daughter’s birth three years ago, we have never gone out for an extended time together. So, to celebrate my husband turning 30, we decided to fly down to the Mother City to enjoy some time out together. Luckily, a friend had already given me a heads up about how difficult traveling with a child is.

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From the hassles of arriving late at the airport and having to run around like headless chickens due to an early flight, to declining requests of everything pretty that she saw, there was nothing leisurely about leaving my home that day.

My daughter is three, and developmentally she is at an interesting stage. She has officially discovered that she is an independent person. This is not a bad thing until you need to hurry to the boarding gate, and she does not want her hand to be held or being lifted.

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She also has become quite fearful and has formed a conclusion that flights are dangerous. I had to hold a heavy human on me from O.R Tambo to Cape Town International Airport. She had loads of fun on the flight and then slept for the rest of the way. This was great because it minimised the number of tantrums we had to deal with on arrival. Tired kids are not fun.

The upside, which soon became messy was her extroverted personality. She was choosing to socialise with everyone except us. Some people are open to a cheerful little girl, and some people are not very fond of a child in their space. I, therefore, had to keep pulling a strong-willed girl from strangers most of the trip. At one point, she had lunch at a separate table to ours with people she has never met before.

The pressure of getting her to dress up according to the weather, eat, and sit still when she is a busy and independent pre-schooler was a nightmare. I was always in bed early due to how tired I was at the end of the day.

My only source of joy from the trip came from not being required to cook and seeing how happy and fun-filled the trip was for her and my big baby (daddy).

My daughter was the only person on holiday.

It was amazing being away from home for a few days, and not think about work or chores. Planning an itinerary for the family was a joll as well. We loved the sightseeing, the aquarium and playing at the beach. But the “mommy, mommy, mom, mama, mom, MOMMMMMY” never stopped.

Which brings me to this conclusion: Motherhood is a 24/7 job, even on holiday.

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