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ParentsJune 7, 2018

‘Holiday’ and other words that don’t exist for parents

Keep on keeping on!
Keep on keeping on!

When you have a kid, words like ‘hangover’ and ‘holiday’ take on a whole new meaning. Mum Anna Gowan rewrites the dictionary for parents

Fact: Kids give new meaning to life.

“Yeah yeah,” I used to say upon hearing this. “I’ve seen the nappy ads and the cheesy photo shoots of doting parents in baby magazines. Tell me something I don’t know.”

I’m not referring to that sort of meaning. I’m talking about everyday words and terms we thought we knew and understood that are subverted the minute your kid makes its first appearance, leading to confusion, bewilderment and a general feeling of ‘WTF happened?’

Be assured that none of us are alone. Below is a handy list of familiar terms with their pre- and post-kid definitions to help make you sense of your post-kid life.



Occasionally sustained while playing team sports such as touch rugby or indoor netball. More common are alcohol-related injuries, such as falling off a kerb or burning your tongue on a kebab at 4am.

Example of a pre-kid injury: “I went out clubbing so much I got RSI in my wrist from my signature dance move and had to get physio.”


Injuries are rife, painful, sustained on a daily basis, and the explanations are embarrassing. True stories from friends below:

  • ‘I got concussed/a black eye/blunt force trauma while changing my kid’s nappy.’
  • ‘It happened while I was performing ‘I’m a little teapot’.’
  • ‘My daughter was trying to pull herself into my bed at 3am and reached up and grabbed a handful of my pubes.’

‘Big Night Out’


Keen on an all-nighter? No problem! End up staying out ‘til the wee hours after intending to have a few quiets? No problem! Double header? No problem! Arrival home at 8am? No problem!


‘Raise the roof – I’m out after 11pm! That one month of planning was totally worth it. I have the stamina of an Iron Man!  Let’s hit that awesome bar we used to go to! What? It closed three years ago? Where do we go now?  Uber? Is that a bar? Oh. Already? No no, the babysitter will be fine!’

Arrive home by 12. Babysitter relieves you of life savings. You go to bed. Wake up five hours later by your human alarm clocks.

‘Work/life balance’


It’s important to find time to get to the gym/yoga/the pub after work or on the weekends. Just something to relax and de-stress, you know?


Put work/life balance in the same category as quantum physics: Impossible to understand.

‘Singing in Public’


Only acceptable in a car (with windows up), on the dance floor, or at concerts.


A daily occurrence – at the supermarket, the mall, out walking, in the doctor’s waiting room, wherever your child sees fit.

At the library you and 25 other parents and children sing and dance to classics such as ‘Row the Boat’, ‘Hokey Pokey’ and some song with a difficult rhythm about washing machines. You are a mobile jukebox and the world is your stage.

‘Sleep in’


Any time after 9.30am.

Post kids:

Any time after 6.30am.



Sleeping in. Relaxing. Friends. Sightseeing. Long lunches. Walks on the beach. Happy hours. Sunbathing.


The term ‘holiday’ is obsolete and can be replaced with ‘relocation of family’.

The new meaning of holidays is a particularly difficult one to accept. Memories of previous refreshing and relaxing holidays will haunt you.

You will believe you are entitled to ‘me time’. This is no longer possible.

In fact, due to the fact your kids are not in school/kindy/daycare, holiday parenting is even more intense than normal parenting.



Awful, arduous days spent watching the Home and Away omnibus while trying to work out what’s less likely to make you vomit: chocolate milk or juice. Purchase McDonalds and wish it was KFC. Go to bed wishing for tomorrow.


We’re onto a winner here! Hangovers to kids are like the appeal of The Wiggles to adults: impossible to comprehend. Therefore life goes on as usual. Left with no way to indulge your hangover, it becomes background noise.

You don’t care when your three-year-old daughter uses your legs as a slide while you try to catch a precious five minutes of sleep on the couch – you’ll sleep anyway! Your kids have broken you in like a pair of old sneakers, and you’re now able to master any sort of terrain with the strength and agility of say, a geriatric day walker.

You’ve made it! Welcome to parenting!

Keep going!