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by Katie Hodgkins

Holiday With a Toddler - Expectations Vs Reality

So, we’ve just been on our first family holiday, and my gosh was it an experience.

I tried not to go in with any expectations on what it would be like going away with a toddler, and I also promised myself that I wouldn’t get too stressed out and just go with that flow, eventually I did completely chill out and let Jack get in to his holiday groove.

Now don’t get me wrong, we had the loveliest time and I miss it already, when Jack finally settled down he absolutely loved being on holiday and staying in his ‘holiday house’ (which he has asked for every day since we’ve been home) – but there are definitely some aspects that I didn’t prepare for.

Sharing a room with a toddler

Expectation:

We thought that Jack staying in the same room as us wouldn’t be that big of a deal, he’s always been quite a good sleeper so maybe we were quite naïve thinking that nothing would change.

Reality:

Jack hasn’t slept in our bedroom since he was about four months old, and it turns out that it’s now like sleeping next to someone doing a full aerobic workout in their sleep. I’ve never known someone to fidget so much whilst snoring their head off, yet still waking up at 5.30am most mornings – you’d think he’d be knackered with the amount of bouncing around the cot he was doing!

Holiday pictures

Expectation:

I hoped for Instagram worthy shots of Jack looking absolutely joyous, gaining hundreds of social likes and showing the epitome of #holidaygoals #familygoals and #toddlergoals

Reality:

We were lucky if he stood still for one minute for a photo – I thought it would be cute to attempt to put together a toddler holiday wardrobe blog post, I gave up after the first day when I had to stop Jack from legging it straight in to a water feature – how do the insta famous mums do it?!

Lilos and swimming pools

Expectation:

That we would have to peel Jack off his lilo because he was having such an amazing time bobbing around the swimming pool.

Reality:

Jack wouldn’t set foot near his inflatable boat until the last day, 11 Euros well spent… Plus the swimming pools were bloody cold, so he wouldn’t let the water go past his knees before freaking out and running back to the sun bed.

The beach

Expectation:

That Jack would spend hours and hours building sandcastles, laughing away while dipping his toes in the sea and once again, getting those instas.

Reality:

He hated the sand. When we finally managed to get him to sit down, he started digging with his spade, but then refused to get up. The only way we got him to go to the sea edge was if we all stomped our feet, hulk smashing the sand shouting ‘boom, boom’ – I have absolutely no idea why this worked but we just went with it. When he finally got to the sea he wouldn’t let it go past his feet, god forbid his shins would get wet!

All inclusive

Expectation:

I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for Jack to experience lots of new food, I imagined that by the end of the holiday he would be asking ‘mummy, more seafood paella please’ and everyone would marvel at how much delicious food he would be eating.

Reality:

Thank god for pasta.

Also some other fun facts:

  • Swimming nappies are utter rubbish – no matter how often I changed them (yes they were the right size) I would end up with pee on my cover up
  • Hotel furniture is not child friendly – after the trauma of Jack sliding across the bathroom floor and donking his head, we then had the mare of cleaning up a blood soaked chin when he fell into the coffee table
  • As much as you don’t want your child sitting in front of the iPad, sometimes it’s a must
  • I wouldn’t change a thing about our first holiday, I’ll remember it forever


Written by Kara Long for her blog, Mum Wife Life.

You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

Katie Hodgkins Image
I'm Katie, and I'm a mama, wife, and freelance content creator for Bump, Baby & You. I also help to run our thriving online community over in our Facebook support group, as well as volunteering for my local branch of the National Childbirth Trust. I'm a busy bee and enjoy keeping active, cooking, writing, and fun days out with my little family. My special topics of interest are... autism (as me and my son are both autistic), science, all things parenting and pregnancy related, and The Handmaids Tale!
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