Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Tantrum-Free Vacations May 29, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Bonjour! I am back from a bon voyage to the City of Light and I am here to report that it was lovely. I walked, cycled, toured, explored, drank wine, ate pastries, and people-watched till I almost missed my over-extended “real” life.

Among the people I watched were the children. Earlier this year a woman released a book about her observations that French children are better behaved than British (and American, I assume) children. French Children Don’t Throw Food claims the author. Oh, really? Now I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know what she observed, but based on my own completely unscientific research I can report: They most definitely do.

During our brief visit to Paris and a few surrounding cities, I witnessed red-faced, shoe-tossing, hair-pulling, sibling-hitting, throwing-themselves-on-the-ground-while screaming hissy fits in several languages. I watched German mothers, Chinese fathers, and French grandparents try to calm their foaming little monsters into submission, all while my husband and I blissfully enjoyed our childfree vacation.

And the best news is, once we returned stateside, we continued to enjoy the relative calm of our normal life because we are childfree. The only food throwing in this house happens when we’re making pizza dough from scratch.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Her memoir about her journey to childfreeness is in the works.

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12 Responses to “It Got Me Thinking…About Tantrum-Free Vacations”

  1. jennifer n Says:

    I heard the same thing about children in Paris and was also just there and noticed that there were tantrums in all languages.

  2. Angela Says:

    YES!!! I am also back from a lovely, long holiday weekend sans kids, and I must say I wholeheartedly agree that it’s pretty fantastic when you make that particular comparison!

  3. Klara Says:

    lovely to read your post! It made me laugh. Exactly what I needed after long & hard day.

  4. Wolfers Says:

    And I’d like to add to that… carrying all that stuff, diapers, toys, extra clothes, snacks, drinks, a timer, and keeping conversations short due to kids’ interruptions, on top of tantrums…. Yeah, that’s what I’m convincing myself today why it’s good not to have a kid (thro I’d swing to wishing all this anyway tomorrow or next week)

  5. Mali Says:

    Sounds like a great holiday. I always remember a friend looking forward to a relaxing family holiday in Bali. When she got back she said (sounding surprised) “it’s not that relaxing when you have kids.” I laughed.

    Nice to have you back.

  6. Andrea Says:

    The hubby and I were discussing that exact thing this past weekend, while enjoying a perfectly peaceful vacation in a lakeside resort. As much as we want children, we loved being able to enjoy the pool and the hot tub, visit places and relax without worrying about anything else. Reminds me that life ain’t so bad.

  7. loribeth Says:

    A friend was recently discussing her vacation plans… plane tickets for three (herself, her dh & their toddler), plus car rental, plus car seat arrangements (for the price of renting a seat, she could almost buy a new one). Travelling with kids adds up!

  8. jeopardygirl Says:

    My parents only took us on a plane once. Every other trip they wanted to go on that required a plane ride, they took without us. I experienced many, many long car trips, and have fond memories of them. We managed to go to Florida (from Ontario) twice, up to Northern Ontario a couple of times, and a lot of 3- 4-hour drives to the beaches of the Great Lakes. When Esso and I were ttc, we just assumed we would follow the same pattern when we did have kids. I still haven’t been off the continent. :P

    • Kathleen Guthrie Woods Says:

      We were road-trippers too, all over California and out to the Midwest in a ginormous green station wagon (with a backward-facing rear seat). Such great adventures! We’d sing songs, play word games, stop at interesting/weird sites. Oh, I feel a future post coming. :-)…. There’s so much to see and experience on this continent and beyond. Hope you and Esso are planning something fun for this summer.

      • jeopardygirl Says:

        We are, and we aren’t. I just (finally–I’m almost 41) got my beginner’s driver’s licence, so there will be a lot of driving around. I am going back to my home city next week to volunteer for the Fringe theatre festival, and I’m looking forward to it!! It will be my 9th year volunteering with the Fringe, and I love it.

  9. Kellie Says:

    Glad your back…..I am looking forward to our vacation to Spain later this year….kid free!! This past weekend we went out of town for four days and took our two dogs. As I was packing the kennel, blankets, their “diaper bag” full of food, goodies, toys, etc…. I told my DH that I couldn’t imagine having to pack for children….it was hard enough to pack for my dogs. :-)

    • Kathleen Guthrie Woods Says:

      Will travel to Spain vicariously with you! And that is so true about the dogs. We have two big dogs, and the beds, leashes, food, medications, instructions for all the meds (oy)….


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