If you’ve been following us over on the gram you’ll know that we recently went on our very first trip abroad as a family of three to Riviera Maya in the land of rice and beans also known as Mexico. The trip was an eye opener, it was different in both good and bad ways, it wasn’t hugely relaxing but you know what, it was wonderful, in a tiring-dysfunctional-no routine kind of way. But anyway, let’s cut the small talk, I know why you’re really here, you wanna know the nitty gritty about the what it was like, what to bring, what was a waste of time etc? Read below…
- Make a pact with your partner BEFORE you go. Write it down if necessary, we should have! Your pact should include simple reminders that anything said to eachother during a meltdown/tantrum/screamathon by your beloved little tyrant will be taken with a pinch of salt. It will not be dwelled upon, it won’t be used as ammo later on, it’ll go in one ear and out the other. It should also include a clause that details each of you taking your fair share of shit, literally and metaphorically, from the small human so that the other can feel like they are remotely somewhere else other than home.
- Pack everything and more. Weigh your cases the night before you go as a way of damage limitation on your purse and the extortionate rates charged by airlines for excess baggage but whatever you do, do not, I repeat do not, remove any of the baby’s items. If you do happen to have cases that are over your luggage allowance then the only options you have are to remove the second pair of shorts you dared to pack and put back the book you were determined to read. How very dare you think that you need a change of outfit for round the pool? No one will be looking at you anyway, the great big colourful inflatable swim ring is a much more needed item. When I talk about packing I should actually be serious for a moment; don’t forget every single bit of medication you *think* you might need. Calpol, ibruprofen, teething gels, teething granules, burn creams, plasters, Vicks. The lot. Be assured that you will use most of it at some point. We travelled with a baby that had just gotten over gastroenteritis, was teething, jet lagged and then picked up a case of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease whilst there. Medicine kit at the ready! Also, pack all of the toys that your child likes. I promise you they will go completely untouched, unloved and strewn around your hotel room whilst your bubba happily investigates every nook and cranny of their new accommodation but at least you’ll feel like a good parent for having them, you know, just in case.
- What you shouldn’t bring is; ANYTHING FOR YOURSELF EXCEPT TOOTHPASTE, DEODORANT, 1 PAIR OF FLIP FLOPS AND PERHAPS SOMETHING TO WEAR IN THE POOL AS YOU WILL SPEND LOTS OF TIME IN THERE. I kid you not; downloads on the iPad not watched, books not read past page 20, headphones unloved at the bottom of the beach bag (that of course is full of your child’s crap plus your room key) as the playlist you curated remains un-played. You don’t need any evening wear, your baby will not allow you the luxury of dining in fine establishments. You don’t need make up, you won’t have 10 extra minutes when you’re trying to get your tribe out of the door before Armageddon strikes and the small human decides that going out isn’t the plan anymore.
- Let go. Let go of all dreams of a relaxing holiday. Let go of your usual routine that you have at home. Let go of your expectations of what a holiday would be like with your babe. Let go of any “couple time”. Instead what you should do is just embrace the madness, the change, the jet lag, the 24/7 “family time”. Embrace the tiredness by enjoying a latte made for you each morning and relish in the fact that if like us you opt for all inclusive, someone else is making your bed each day and cooking your meals and (bonus!) washing up for you. That is a holiday in itself. Once we got our head around the fact that our son wasn’t going to show his gratitude for this beautiful trip to Mexico by sleeping through the night, everything else seemed to slot into place. Through the eyes of tired-first-holiday-with-a-baby-parents we saw our baby enjoy his first time on a beach, marvel at the texture of palm tree bark and splash around in what he thought was the biggest bath ever. Those moments made our trip magical.
- And lastly, don’t sweat the small stuff. We had some issues with our room that put a dampener on our first few days, we had 3 days of quite intense rain, we had a baby with a virus that we’d never heard of but we had a holiday. Together. As a family of three. With no work, limited social media, no routines, nothing to think about except the day’s journey of buffet-pool-beach bar-pool-beer-nap-dinner.
In all honesty, it wasn’t the easiest trip but personally, it was my favourite one to date. There’s something really special about looking at the world through the eyes of someone who is still learning about everything. My advice is to do it, book the trip, just make sure you leave all of your expectations at home and enjoy it for whatever it is.
P.S these are some things that we found invaluable whilst away;
Bapron (Dolly & Beau) – we managed to avoid beetroot, chocolate and watermelon stains to name but a few, by using one of these > https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DollyandBeau
Anti-bacterial wipes (Milton) – we used these everywhere, especially on high chairs > https://www.boots.com/milton-anti-bacterial-surface-wipes-x30-10053067
Mosquito repellent (Jojo Maman Bebe) – this is a really light and natural product so totally suitable for babies. Not sure if it worked but we used it religiously on baby and he didn’t come back with any bites! > https://www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/d9931.html
Peace and Love.