27 February 2016, by Camilla Harrison
Our family just returned from our first vacation as a family of four. We spent the last week in Perth, Australia!
Our first mission in “Operation Perth” was quite simply: to get there. This involved a five hour flight with our now three year old and three month old! It was Siena’s (my three year old) first time in an airplane (well, the first time she understood and was excited to be flying) but nevertheless, I knew sitting in one spot for so long required a bit of backup. I had packed a bag of goodies: a few new toys and all her favorite snacks. I definitely recommend this to any other mothers out there travelling with a toddler or preschooler. With the additional help of the ipad, before we knew it, we had landed down under!
We were welcomed by a little unexpected surprise: a massive heat wave. It was actually 43 degrees and was the highest in 80 years! With the help of our car’s air con and multiple ice cream breaks, we made it through the few scorching days with not even a sunburn in sight.
Perth is a super family friendly city and Siena loved it (Soma is currently at a stage where she is happy anywhere!). From the sprawling parks and playgrounds to the pristine beaches, there was always something to do. As a Canadian who grew up by the water, it was great to be living a little closer to nature again.
What was interesting to me is that our family took on a new dynamic while in Perth. Perhaps it was just being in a new city, perhaps it was having my husband there all day, but we agreed one morning over coffee something felt different. Something felt right. I think it was because of how hands on we became in Perth, we were suddenly teaching, engaging and parenting 24/7 – as a team. And while we know this isn’t possible for us both to do this full-time, it really reaffirmed what was important for us in this part of our lives.
I have to admit, as a full-time stay at home mother right now, some days I lament the fact I’m not doing it all – being with my girls AND working full-time AND learning salsa AND reading..the list goes on! A friend said to me recently that you just can’t have and do everything at once. After having kids I feel there is actually a lot of truth to that. I guess I’m learning there is value in concentrating on one thing at a time. And I think that is what Perth helped us realise: that this time is so special with our girls while they are so young and continuing to reaffirm our bond as a family unit is what is important right now.
Sure, it may be easy to say and harder to practice once we resettle into our busy Singapore lives but if we continually keep it in mind, we will undoubtedly practice what we preach. Also, I definitely learned that once you have prioritised what is truly the most important thing to you, there is so much value in concentrating on just that top priority.
Perhaps more epiphanies will come with more vacations! A good reason to keep travelling 😉