Holidays and travel with the little ones

Holiday times are meant to be a restful period, but any mom will tell you this is normally not the case.

You are staring at a sink full of dishes, mopping endlessly, the laundry is piling up, the children (especially boys) are constantly hungry, your fridge is opening and closing 500 times a day… shuuuu! AND you have no help because your housekeeper has also gone home for the holiday rest.

With 2018 being the year of taking back my power and being intentional, I honestly had to learn that taking back my power comes with the learnings to get my rest in, communicate what I am going through and feeling, being honest to myself and realizing that being Superwoman does not mean setting myself on fire to warm up those around me.

So, this was my itinerary for the holidays and how I managed to achieve some kind of fun and get some kind of rest whilst also keeping everyone around me happy:

In October we traveled to Dubai with my Mom Inlaw. We had a blast! 

We kept it rather simple and did the things that wouldn’t require too much energy and input from us on the trip whilst also slotting in some partying with Mom inlaw babysitting. 

The main things I fuss about when traveling is packing – I am particularly anal about this. I hate disorder, especially not knowing where i packed each thing. So I pack in categories. 

Mikaili & Morgan:

Bag 1 – Clothes 

Bag 2 – Shoes & toiletries

Each ones carry on – A change of outfit, their iPads and headphones and any meds they may require.

Malik:

Bag 1 – Clothes & Diapers (and cot bed sheets & pillow case)

Carry on – General nappy bag necessities, change of clothes, meds, cotton wool, blanket. 

Hubby & I:

Bag 1 – All clothes & Toiletries (I put a divider for the toiletries section – don’t ask me how)

Bag 2 – Shoes & Accessories (and extra space for some shopping)

Carry on – a change of clothes and overnight toiletries. 

Why do we carry a change of clothes and light toiletries on the carry on? Incase our luggage doesn’t make it. Can’t be stranded!

The one thing I love about our trip, we had a loose itinerary… so we have go-to places but also some days we took the cue from the kids on what they wanted. 

 

We had booked into a beach resort with the backyard as a beach, so this was amazing for those early morning swims, then a relaxation by the pool with some Prosecco.

 We traveled on pre-Christmas holiday, to Durban with the whole squad and our nanny came along to help me. The mandate was that she was assisting me to maintain order, not to work. So, we booked into a hotel where we could have space to breath, and they would have some kind of freedom. So, The Royal Palm was perfect. The Suites are sizable with a lounge and mini kitchenette. We booked two rooms and had a couch that converts into a bed in the one room (sleeper couch) – perfection.

 We would do activities in the day, put the kids to bed in the evening and then head out after bedtime to party or catchup with friends and my cousins over drinks in the evenings. It was mostly rainy and cloudy, so we didn’t manage much beach time either than the one days walk on the beach – but either than that, it was a lovely time that we cherish because we bonded as a family.

TIP 1: Communicate the holiday timeline to your housekeeper/nanny. Allow her to holiday as you holiday and treat her as an aunt helping you with your children not a worker. We all need to enjoy and let our hair down together. It’s been a rough year for ALL of us, not just you as a parent.

We got back and the boys left for school holidays at their granny’s house and our nanny left for home. My sister then came over to help me with Malik whilst I wrapped up the work year.

TIP 2: Ask for help! For me, my sister is the best back up, my brother second best, lol. But they always have my back and they live so close.

With regards to cleaning around this time: rinse dishes and stack in the dishwasher, prepare foods that won’t need too many pots, pans and dishes. And the one time I hosted, I washed the dishes as I was cooking and stacked the dishwasher as dishes landed on the kitchen counter.

We left for Polokwane on the 23rd and as much as I was on makoti duty, honestly, being in Polokwane is more restful for me than being at home because everyone is delegated to something and its sort of automatic. My sister in law (husband’s sister) is the child minder – she handles the children and the feeding and bathing as well as entertaining them and I’m on Christmas cooking duty. My other sister in law (husband’s brother’s wife) is on cleaning and tidying up duty. Everybody sort of falls in and does what they need to do without being told, which is nice. This gives me more time to just do me and sleep in or nap during the day. I used this time to rest and eat kotas. My hubby’s job? To be a complete Mama’s baby! lol! 

TIP 3: Communication in family setups is key. This needs to be done prior to the gathering. Everyone needs to know their place and what their roles are. Play on strengths, the one good with kids and has the patience, handles the bathing and feeding off the kids. The one that cooks well, sticks to that, etc.

We left Polokwane on the 27th and returned to Jo’burg. On arrival, our nanny was back and on the 28th we flew to Cape Town for our New Year holiday. We booked an AirBnB in my favourite CT suburb.

Earlier on in the year, when Ma Lizzy was around (she sadly passed on), I had had a discussion with her and Marori (our nanny) about December. I would need one of them to please come back for the New Year and spend the New Year with us in CT as Malik is still too young for us to leave him in Polokwane with the other kids. So, Ma Lizzy was going to take this New Year holiday with us and on return take a week off whilst Marori returns to help me with the new school year prep. Having lost Ma Lizzy, Marori willingly stepped in (thank God! Because I would have never managed to do CT without her).

Her role on holiday was to purely assist with Malik on Neo and I’s nights out or when we stepped out. When we were all together, we’re all hands-on deck as usual. I didn’t expect any cleaning from her on holiday, I booked Domestly to clean for us. Keep the holiday spirit alive for everyone. She was there for one thing, keep the one thing and don’t make it tedious.

TIP 4: Communicate and plan your holidays way in advance. Negotiate and offer trades in exchange for your nanny’s time. This is a holiday for all of us – yes, appreciate that this is not part of the work year. If you don’t give her a week off, give her a financial incentive for her time.

CT has amazing babysitting services I have used in the past, this was also an alternative I was toying with, but I am so grateful Marori agreed to come with us. Makes me even happier that she had a good time.

And a plus was being able to nurse a hangover on a beach in the earler morning/afternoon sun and knowing that Malik is being loved.

We also had a huge dilemma – tons of luggage (I was packing for 10 days plus that huge hat), and I didn’t want the fuss of transporting a baby cot and toys. Some Instagram fam referred me to a few services in CT that offer baby product rental! Amazing much? I rented a camping cot and a bouncer from them they dropped it off the same day we landed and picked it up 30 minutes before we were heading out to the airport upon departure. Amazing and efficient service.

All in all, I think we did pretty grand with the planning. We could have done better with the packing and resting more whilst on holiday. We came home so exhausted! LOL

Don’t we all need holidays from holidays?

Tip 5: 

It’s okay to have sun and have assistance on holiday. But the assistance that you have cant not feel the fun too and be included. Marori, although only drinking ciders on all the wine farms, learnt about wines and which wines go with which food – she enjoyed this, and the beach. 

**PS. The struggles of trying to get 2 x 2L of water stuffed into overflowing bags and not leaking! But we managed!