How do we manage a healthy lifestyle and travel? Last week, this Mumma found herself yelling during the bath time and reading the bedtime book in a rapid monotone.
Then, once I’d given them a kiss I raced to the computer to start wrangling with flight deals, accommodation options and budgets. I was worried that we were spending too much money on our mid-winter holiday. In addition, I felt bad that my daughter would miss the last 10 days of school, which included a special final presentation day. I woke the next morning in a terrible mood. I had stayed up past midnight going bleary eyed on flight comparison sites.
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Then, in a moment of clarity, it dawned on me.
Going on international holidays wasn’t what the kids necessarily needed; it was something that Mumma “needed”. The kids wanted a loving, supportive mother. They wanted long cuddles in bed after their book which was read by an enthusiastic mum. They wanted to be part of the final presentation day and the community celebration. Belonging and being part of those things would carry them into future life.
I also had to acknowledge that if you spend less, you need to earn less. That is, by aspiring to certain lifestyle goals (home ownership or lots of holidays for example); you commit yourself to a certain type of lifestyle. (And apart from the lucky few – those lifestyle goals mean lots of work.)
While we do have fun on overseas holidays, we have just as much fun on trips around home. The things that matter to the kids: time with their parents, a relaxed pace and lots of playing is what they want. Our kids shine with routine and consistency; there are less tears and tantrums.
In that moment of clarity I realized that I had been spending a tad too much time on social media too. I reminded myself that the “where are you this weekend? Post a picture” posts aren’t real, or simply create wanderlust (or envy!). We are living in a changing world and certainly 15 years ago individuals didn’t need to deal with a constant flow of images and stories from around the world. (I realize that it’s a choice to be on Social Media, just explaining how it affected my thinking.)
Maybe it is reality for a few families who have worked hard for the privilege, but that is not us. On that morning epiphany I reconnected with the idea; that living our own healthy lifestyle in our way was most important. Our long term goal is a life that enjoys our natural environment, eating healthily *most* of the time, and working *enough*. Global adventures around the world are important, but balanced out with a normal suburban life, touched with a green brush.
I also had to admit to myself I’d got caught up in our Instagram account and my perceived need to regularly post overseas photos. Behind those posts continues to be a feeling that, “our home life is rich too” and that the things that we do at home balance out the things we see and do while on the road.
An article in the UK Telegraph recently copped a lot of flak for arguing the science of home based holidays for smaller children. The article didn’t seem to be based on facts, just one person’s experience. But in the midst of the outcry, a small voice inside me said. “He has got a point.” Kids do enjoy the simple things in life, and I honestly think my daughter’s enjoyment of exotic holidays has been the same as a trip to our local beach. She loves life, she enjoys both equally!
Our daughter went to a lot of countries in her first two years, and it didn’t make her the most settled child. We weren’t being competitive or pretentious, it was what we did. With our son, some overseas trips have brought out some really tricky aspects of his personality. Like childbirth, we have mostly forgotten those terrible moments, but they were most definitely there!
Now with our daughter 7 years old, we are changing many of our future dreams to take into consideration how travel affects her. Travel will be a part of our future, but it will also be important to have a strong connection to certain places (like a holiday place that we go each year). With everything, I think that there are pros, cons, and a ‘happy balance’ is most important.
In short, the epiphany for this traveling mum was that we want travel to be a part of our healthy, wholesome and rounded lifestyle. As much as we love travel it’s not 100% great for the kids and it stretches the bank balance. It is hard to balance a healthy lifestyle and travel.
The month prior to a trip means we have a deadline to meet, both for work tasks and “life” – lots of things need to be fast forwarded. Maybe that 100% time with mum and dad plus the new experiences compensate for the stress of the departure month – but maybe it doesn’t.
And that’s why we are no longer heading to Bali this winter holidays.
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