Carrie Bickmore says holidays with kids are not time off – but do make memories.
Holidays with kids need to be called something else. Google the definition of “holiday” and your computer will spit back words at you like “relaxation”, “leisure” and “time-off”.
I don’t know about you, but our holidays are about as relaxing as doing an algebra exam. As for the time-off? Holidays y are time-off from work, but still work of a whole different kind. Google oogle needs a new algorithm. It all starts with the packing. It took me weeks to pack for our recent beach h break as I tipped almost everything ything the kids owned into four different suitcases: Panadol dol in case they got a fever; er; Imodium in case they got the runs; board games es to stop them playing on the e ipad; the ipad; chargers; gers; lots of chargers; a beach h cricket set; swimming nappies ies (why can’t they just poo in n the ocean or behind a bush h like we did when we were ere kids?!); sunscreen; aloe vera; puzzles; a book for me e that I’ll never get time to read; and enough “ruggies” ies” for our twoyear-old, old, Evie, that should a bush h turkey storm our house e and take one, there would d be enough spares for her er not to notice. You laugh, h, but it could happen. I recall my childhood holidays being surrounded with friends and family so, in that same spirit of generosity, we now had family and friends stay with us. This meant for a week the adults were outnumbered by people aged under four. The days started early – 4.15am early, as the desperate cries of an 18-month-old rang g through g the house. The dad, worried about waking the rest of us, popped him in the pram and took him for fo a two-hour walk in the dark! One kid go got stung by a jellyfish, another (ours) got in an altercation with the aforemen aforementioned bush turkey. The same child was a also learning to toilet train and took a wee in the lobby of a resort we weren’t even staying at. Everywhere we went, I h had to carry a potty seat around should nature call. Marshalling a trip to the beach required military-level c command. Children needed to be dressed, dr sunscreened, hydrated an and then transported by foot or pram pram. (Why take a pram to the beach?) Once there, a lookout was required to remain vigilant should any child decide to take a solo mission into the surf. Shelter on the beach came from an “easy-to-put-together” “easy-to-put-togethe beach tent. I’d rather assembl assemble a machinegun – which would be safer. When a strong wind picked up there was every chance of an innocent beachgoer receiving a tent pole to the back of their head. Plus, it always started an argument. You hold the pole. What pole? The one in your hand. Now hold the canvas, before the wind gets it! I don’t think it’s made of canv… it blew away. Baaaaabe… where’s Evie? Ah, bugger. Over there, near the water. Then we both let go of the tent, and it collapsed in the sand. I’m sure going to the beach was simpler when we were kids.
Despite all this nonsense, our minds have a way of editing our memories to focus on the good bits. When I sit now at work and reflect on our holiday, I don’t think of the delayed flight, sandy crack, or early starts. I think of jumping in the waves, the kids laughing with delight, eating fish’n’chips, afternoon naps, sunsets and family time. Holidays with young children may be hard work, but spending endless days and nights with the kids, and nothing pulling us in different directions, creates moments that are the foundations of our lives together. Family holidays are not always holidays by any current English dictionary definition. But they are special in anyone’s language. Carrie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm weeknights, on Network Ten.
“A beach trip needed almost military-level command… and why did we bring a pram?”
I loved writing with Australians and seeing those songs get up, compared to writing with big international names, like I had, and those songs never seeing the light of day. This album is authentically Australian. One song even slams the demise of both the infamous B&S balls in rural Australia, and the impact of lockout laws on live music venues in cities. We used to play a B&S ball back in the day out in rural NSW. I think there used to be about 48 of them in the state; now there’s two because they can’t get insurance for them. I guess that’s similar to what has happened with the lockout laws. And a lot of the RSL clubs now don’t provide riders [for backstage drinks] because some guy somewhere got drunk on the rider and crashed his car on the way home. After your incident outside the Crazy Horse strip club in Adelaide last January, you said you would stop going out for drinks after gigs. A year on, how is that going? We don’t do it anymore and not just because of that. Touring is a lot of late nights and then early mornings; 4.30am lobby calls to drive four hours to get a flight. I’m older [at 42] and wiser, and you just don’t bounce back as easily. It’s about my voice, too. I’ve been really proud of how I’m singing and I want to put the emphasis on giving fans the show they deserve for what they have paid. You said you were in the “doghouse” for a while with your wife Rochelle after that drama. You’ve dedicated a love song on the new album to her. Yeah, especially the verse about her being the glue holding it all together for our family; the single parent when I would be away for six to eight weeks at a time. She had to run the whole show. I appreciate she saw something in me, believed in me – before the TV thing even happened. She fell in love with me, not the perception of me. Unbroken is out on Friday. Shannon Noll tours Australia in May; shannonnoll.com.au.