We have just had three days away as a family on holiday.  It struck me while I was away that you get to a point in life when you feel like you know what you are doing: going to work, catching a bus, going out for dinner, buying a train ticket, going on holiday.  Having children is like learning to live your life all over again.  As a parent, I have learned how to do the most basic things in different ways. I don’t just mean learning new things (like how to change a nappy) but all the old things: shopping in a supermarket; driving a car; spending a Saturday morning; going on holiday.

We are still learning on the going on holiday thing.  I used to use the Kolb cycle in training.  Kolb stated that for real learning to take place, we have to go through four steps: action, reflection, evaluation and planning, experimentation.  Easy to say, hard to do in  real life.  How does that help me think through family holidays?  Here’s what we did:  we went away for three days to a Scottish resort.  We shared a family room in a hotel.  We walked, we ate out, we picnic-ed, we rode a steam train, we swam.  We came home exhausted.

On reflection, the hotel was good because it meant no cooking, no cleaning, no tidying up.  A shared room was not good at bed time.  Having a swimming pool was fantastic.

The best kind of holiday with children I can imagine at the moment would involve plenty of safe outdoor play space, easy to supervise from a comfortable seat; a beach within walking distance; a minimum need for cars; good weather; an excellent book; plenty of interesting toys (preferably some-one else’s so they have novelty value); like-minded friends to go with (resulting in children to play with, options to share cooking and tidying up, mutual baby-sitters available, good company guaranteed, someone to beat at Pictionary.)  Where would I stay? Probably not a hotel.  Given unlimited resources? My own private castle, with swimming pool, invisible cook, house-keeper and maid.  In reality, I think I’d like to try a large caravan.

See how the Kolb cycle works?  For real learning to take place, I need to try these ideas out.   Roll on our next holiday.

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I started blogging after the birth of my first child. Since I stopped working, I realise I am defined far more by my relationships than by what I do. So, I am: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.

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