Keeping the romance alive… on a family holiday

Keeping the romance alive… on a family holiday

We’re on holiday and it’s Valentine’s Day.

I’ll put it out there… we’re not the biggest Valentine’s Day fans. But in honour of the day and the fact that we are holed up in a tiny (cleverly designed, but tiny) apartment with our 2 Things, I sat down with Mr Wanderlust and the Things (of all people) to talk about keeping the romance alive while you’re on holiday.

1. Quality time

It might only be 5 minutes but any time you can grab to yourselves is time well spent. As parents we are always so focussed on the greater good for the family as well as the minutiae of family life. Commitments to after school activities and making sure the Things are happy mean that romance as a couple can take a back seat.

Holidays can be even worse! You’re out of your routines and without your regular and trusted babysitters. The idea is that you have a nice family holiday and so the focus is spent on having a great time. Together as a family. All. Of. The. Time.

It doesn’t take a marriage counsellor to figure out that this might not be the most healthy couple’s dynamic. (Although if it is for your family then please go for it and feel free to comment at the end on your top tips for making that happen). In fact it mightn’t be the most healthy family dynamic! I, for one, am a better mum when I feel like a wife as well as a mother.

Like I say, it doesn’t have to be a week away without the Things. Sometimes just holding hands while you walk around somewhere is all you need for keeping the romance alive.

Mr Wanderlust and I on a chairlift in a French ski resort
I’ve spent more time alone with Mr Wanderlust on this ski holiday than we’ve had in about 6 years!

2. Romantic location

I mean you can go with the cliches… Paris or Rome, the Maldives or Bali. Las Vegas or Kilimanjaro. Take your pick really because what is romantic for you might not be romantic for me and that’s cool because we love that we are all different.

Romance could be a destination or it could be an experience. It could be roaring log fires or sunset at the beach or a walk in the countryside. It could be the place you first met or, if that’s not too romantic, the place where you got engaged or married.

It’s probably worth noting that we’ve been to several of the “most romantic places in the world” with the Things and they were anything but romantic! But as I always say, the experience has a lot to do with the attitude and mine hasn’t always been ideal.

It might be a place you want to just share with your significant other by having some alone time together. Or it might be a place to share with your Things. Either way, as always, location can be crucial when it comes to choosing the perfect destination!

The Wanderlusters in Rome

3. Show appreciation

This could really be a general point for keeping the romance alive I guess. But this was Thing 1’s first point and I had to include it.

We are well aware that our Things are SO SO SO lucky! We ourselves are SO SO SO lucky come to that! We make a point of talking to them about people who are less fortunate than us. They probably don’t understand quite how lucky they are but we try our best to educate them about it when we can.

While they don’t understand HOW lucky, they definitely do understand that they ARE lucky and we are pretty pleased that they have started to say thank you to us at the end of a lovely day.

And here is where we can learn a thing or 2 from the Things. How many times do we take for granted the simplicity of walk on the beach or a nice meal together at the end of the day? How often do we put that into words to our partner.

Mr Wanderlust and I with our feet up and a beer in Bali

I’m willing to guess that it’s not enough.

4. Eat together

Another ones from the Things. Eating together as a family, I must confess, has not traditionally (EVER) been a romantic situation for Mr Wanderlust and I. I’m still kind of holding out for the day when it stops being something stressful and becomes enjoyable. If you’re there already please let me know so I know that there is hope at the end of the tunnel!

In the meantime, can you put the Things to bed and then go out for dinner together? Cheap babysitting made this possible in Bali. Failing that, can you just have a nice meal together where you are staying?

Mr Wanderlust and I on an unplanned date night in Bali

5. PDAs

Living somewhere where you legally can’t offer public displays of affection (PDAs) has made me all the more grateful when we travel to places where I can do something as simple as hold Mr Wanderlust’s hand. I had no idea how important it was for me in keeping the romance alive.

I think in family life these once casual gestures can fall by the wayside, particularly with the added pressures of a holiday. With the Things around all the time we might forget a hug good morning or a kiss goodnight.

I’m always super appreciative of Mr Wanderlust who makes a point of meeting my eyes when we toast each other. Which reminds me….

6. It’s the little things

I never really understood the girls that demanded flowers and chocolates to be honest. For me I think romance is all about the little gestures.

This week Mr Wadnerlust has treated me to a new pair of ski goggles because he noticed mine were on their last legs. Tonight (the night before Valentine’s Day) he made me dinner so I could write this post. I’ve let him have a lie in most days this holiday because I know he’s exhausted. None of these are a big show of affection but I figure anyone can throw money at the problem and buy something.

I really hope they are all just little ways to show how much we care.

The Things exploring at the Natural History Museum in London
Mr Wanderlust gave me the day off last year in London to connect with old friends and recharge my batteries

7. Remember it’s just a day…

And finally…. I couldn’t have this list without confessing that we are not the biggest V-Day people.

Now I’m not saying that Mr Wanderlust and I aren’t keeping the romance alive – as this post demonstrates, far from it although our definition of romance probably wouldn’t be approved of by Hallmark!

To let you into a secret I may or may not have called him an idiot today and we may or may not have started on the apres ski a little early after the Things melted down in the middle of a popular restaurant.

But Valentine’s Day really is just a day and if you find yourselves one holiday with a kid that won’t sleep or  all sharing a room because the sleeping arrangements weren’t QUITE what you had in mind. Take comfort in the fact that you can make up for it in other ways and on other days.

Emma Morrell
Emma Morrell

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