The last time I went on a proper holiday abroad was 10 years ago. I spent a blissful fortnight in beautiful Cancun, Mexico, sunbathing all day and getting absolutely trashed on tequila each night.
The worst bit about that holiday was the flight over. There was a couple sat behind us with a toddler who screamed from the moment the plane doors closed until the moment they opened again. For 10 hours. I remember tutting loudly and giving them dirty looks, while proceeding to get royally pissed on vodka to try to drown out the sound. Oh how I wish I could go back and wipe that smug look off my face!
To be fair, Molly was brilliant on the plane. At 2 years old she pretty much understood everything that was happening, and the whole thing was just one big adventure. She laughed her head off when we took off, and being only a 2 hour flight, we were able to keep her occupied with colouring, books, and games on the Kindle.
My old friend anxiety reared it’s ugly head during the flight (a sudden bout of turbulence convinced me that we were all about to die), but we got to Mallorca without any of us having a major meltdown.
As soon as we got off the plane though and felt the intense Balearic heat, the anxiety kicked in…“oh god, what if she overheats?
What if she’s dehydrated?
Why didn’t I put the bloody sun cream in my hand luggage?!”
All this before we’d even left the airport. A nice sunny holiday just isn’t the same when you have to regulate someone else’s body temperature.
I had packed that much precautionary medication you would have thought we were going on a trek in the deepest depths of the Amazon rain forest, not an all-inclusive, family friendly 5* resort in Spain.
The place was amazing…6 swimming pools, kids clubs, Peppa Pig on the big screen every night, and a freezer full of free ice cream. Molly was in her absolute element, but I, however, could see potential hazards everywhere. Here’s a list of all the shit I worried about with her:
- Falling into a pool
- Falling over the balcony
- Being abducted
- Wandering off
- Food poisoning
- Eating junk food
- Not having naps
- Picking up a foreign disease
There was probably more, but I worried about that much crap my brain has blocked most of it out. I looked around the hotel, full of families enjoying themselves, and started to wonder if every other mother there felt like this?
I had to deploy some pretty heavy coping techniques (the mental equivalent of a slap around the face), and never underestimate the power of actual sunshine (all that extra vitamin D definitely helped). Just looking at Molly’s smiling, laughing face made it all better.
I had a few drinks in the evening (in moderation of course), and even booked her into the crèche for a couple of hours so as John and I could, um, sleep!
The main thing I worried about was her getting ill over there, and what we would actually do. Well, yes you’ve guessed it, on the penultimate day, she had a high temperature. Panic mode level – 100. I was literally beside myself!
Luckily there was a doctor on site, so we took her straight there…turns out it was an ear infection. The doctor was lovely, and within the hour we had antibiotic drops & ibuprofen. Phew!
It didn’t bother Molly at all, she just wanted to go to the ‘party’ (the nightly entertainment, which I wanted to punch in the face at the end of it…like a bad X Factor audition every single night).
So the worst happened, and it wasn’t that bad. Nothing ever is, is it? For my first holiday abroad with a toddler I think I did ok. And actually since coming home my anxiety has been zero. I actually feel like I’ve achieved something, I feel stronger and calmer. We’re even talking about going for 2 weeks next year…bring it on!