I’m just going to admit it. Travelling SAVED me from my maternity leave.
If, after that confession, you have any doubts as to whether I am actually saying that my first year with child was something that I needed rescuing from, well yes.
Yes I am.
Those long months were harder than I could have ever imagined and still, to this day, I wonder why no one warned me ( I am also wondering whether I should start warning other pregnant people- would that be sinister??).
A huge upside to maternity leave is having no restrictions on holiday time. My husband and I took this as a sign to feed our incurable wanderlust; in Finley’s first year, he explored (read: screamed his way through) five countries, including a three month stint in southern Spain.
How did we do it? My husband used up all his accrued overtime as time off in lieu, and we rented our house out to holidaymakers while we were away, to fund our travels. We locked all of our personal and precious belongings in the top bedroom of the house, and made peace with strangers living in our newly renovated home. It required, at times, painstaking effort and organization, but holy Sudocrem it was worth it.
Each trip seemed to come right when I needed it the most; when my eyes were physically hurting from the lack of sleep and my mind had stopped differentiating between night and day (the fact that I was perpetually wearing PJs may not have helped). I needed an enthusiasm boost and, despite the common view that travelling with children is stressful, it was superb.
Of course, my husband has an entirely different view.
When we sailed off to Spain (errr actually hubby drove/sailed with the dog whilst Finley and I flew as he used to scream BLOODY MURDER in a car seat) I think he was expecting a holiday.
Any full time parents reading this please feel free to join me in throwing your head back and belly laughing at his silly naivety…BWA HA HA HA HA!
It certainly wasn’t a holiday by our previous standards, but it was time together as a new family, having time to explore, talk, and work out our new identities and roles as parents.
I enjoyed being immersed in an exciting new culture and having family and friends come to visit. We were still on the baby treadmill (working all day whilst seemingly achieving absolutely nothing) but we were doing it somewhere different, and we were doing it together.
Also, you could buy a decent bottle of Cava for three Euros in the supermarket… ‘nuff said.
As our family grows we have vowed to continue travelling, no matter what. If you have been considering it, but are feeling a little overwhelmed at the effort involved, here is your gentle nudge to do it anyways.
Packing isn’t as stressful once you remind yourself that people have babies all over the world, and therefore most things are available to purchase abroad! Also it’s amazing what you don’t need when you abandon routine and just go with the flow.
Travelling with babies is a bit like going for a run; it takes a bit of motivation to do it, but you are ALWAYS glad you did.
At the very least, it gets you out of your PJs. ♥