Wednesday, 5 March 2014


So March is officially upon us. Which means the next big break (and school holidays) is just around the corner. This year in Aus, Anzac Day is on the radar along with Easter, making it a double whammy of anxiety and excitement, depending on how many red wines you've had.

But one thing is undeniable... most of us over reach when we plan for a short break, particularly at this time of the year - post Christmas and New Year, at the tail end of the warmer months for Aussies, or just starting to visualise the light at the end of the tunnel for my northern hemisphere friends! And, if you're like me, you are still aghast at the pace the year has started out at... and quite rightly, deserve a decent break.
Why on earth then, do we all seem to fall into the trap of over shooting our family holiday plans for Easter? We suddenly think we need to travel hours, to ambitious destinations, with an itinerary up to our eyeballs, a budget that's even more of a stretch, perhaps even combined with other kids / families / friends.
I say stop!
It's like the UK rail system that shuts down every summer from overheating... why do we not pre-empt this and learn from years gone by?! Easter breaks should be just that, breaks. Especially given our need for a step away from the vibrations of our already manic start to the year. This is a time to reboot, recharge and reconnect... with ourselves, our kids, our partners and our sleeeeep!!!
A blissful day at Disneyland!

Since when did gigantic family theme parks, water slides, long haul flights and action adventure tours count as R&R? Say no to stress this Easter! Instead, step off the map.
Who's idea of fun was this!?

There's no set formula for doing this, I should add a disclaimer here! But there are a couple of ways to try and get it right:

1. Do leave home if you can. It's like trying to write an email when you've got a teething baby at your ankles. The house ain't always a place of sanctuary, no matter how hard you try.

2. It doesn't have to mean a long distance or a big budget. Wherever you can get to that speaks to your soul. Remember, this trip is very much about Mum and Dad chilling out - and as kids go, they can make their own fun just about anywhere on the planet. We too often make the mistake of booking destinations or themes that are designed for the kids, giving them all the power and we wonder why the holiday was a nightmare, with the kids having everything they could want and yet still being hard work?! It's because Mum and Dad aren't relaxed, and therefore neither are they! And the more we try to cater for them, the more they feel our eyes on them and the more demanding they get!! Seriously - less is more. I can sense you nodding at your computer now - especially if you have older kids?!

3. Observe the limit. I'm not actually talking about drink driving here. This is a given. I'm referring to your own limitations. If you need to get off the grid, don't go somewhere busy. If you want to avoid the small talk, don't travel with another family. If you need to feel grass under your feet, spend quality time with your children, sit without electronic interference, dim the lights, not have to drive anywhere  for days, not have to worry about large crowds, restaurant protocol, locking doors and looking decent, then this is the holiday break of the year to do it.
One chilled out holiday bunny

4. Bring it back to your own childhood holidays. Eating ice creams in the sand, fish and chips at sunset, barbecues alongside friendly strangers in the caravan park, the smell of coconut sunblock, walks along the shoreline at dusk, searching for crabs, catching fire flies in the garden, midday naps, cuddles, dancing in the thunderstorms, riding a bike to the corner store, morning swims before brekkie, the things that slow us down, help us breathe, bring us closer without having to say a word.

5. Give yourself time to unwind. If you're like me, it can take a few days (at least) to really detox from the hectic pace we've been working at. The constant damage control of being a parent is not a choice... it's a constant mind space. And once it's there, it's very hard to budge. So on this trip, allow a few days of the anxiety before you start to notice you don't leap, shout, whinge or hover every time your child reaches for something liquid across the table.
Stop the clock, reconnect

6. Less is more. Don't fill the car / suitcases with so much paraphernalia that you feel weighed down before you even leave the house. This is the trip that allows the kids to re-discover what being a kid used to mean. Leave the technology behind. Leave the games. Leave the work. Just take your bare essentials and each other and let mother nature provide the rest. But please, don't forget the nappies.

7. Bring it back with you. I'm not one for carting half the world home with you after a journey - but this Easter, allow yourself to bring home some shells, some photos, new recipes, new memories... these are the things that will help you get through the next chapter of crazy-busy... until, the next holiday.
Easter collectibles.
Paperbark camp, NSW south coast

Oh, and for those of you who are anti-camping. Google "Glamping". I'm sure even Jesus would approve. Happy Easter everyone!!


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