As desi moms hailing from a developing country, there are many privileges that we are not quite accustomed to. Surely, things like free of cost yet finest healthcare and schooling benefits for the children are a big ‘wow’ factor, but its mostly what’s ‘out there’ on the roads, malls or public places that makes you drool during that international trip. These are things that you otherwise must have turned a blind eye to, but caught in a struggle between handling a crying infant and a ‘hop around’ toddler, you just can’t help but feel blessed that some sane, empathic people gave a thought to these. And all these amenities are a general routine for residents there. Jealous much?? :p
Here is a list of 9 of my favorite things experienced during your international trip, that gives you an instant realization that motherhood is not that bad after all.
1. Reserved for Expectant Moms:
Surely, waddling your way from a far corner of the parking lot and back with all those bags can be very exhausting, especially in the final trimester. Guess what, a parallel world does exist and somebody has taken care of your dilemma there.
Such sign boards are very commonly found outside malls, big stores, airports, amusement parks etc. Being outside on a hot sunny day is not that draining for expectant moms anymore.
I was frequenting Target and Babies r Us for baby shopping during my vacations in pregnancy, and for a fact their ‘reserved parking slots for expectant moms’ helped me big time. Despite all the debates on how pregnancy shouldn’t be projected as a disability and how those spaces should be reserved for somebody with serious health issues, i was still totally impressed. Just a thought can go a long way, you know!
2. Nursing Rooms
How do you promote breastfeeding when society is always in a debate about whether women should breastfeed their infants in public or not? In our desi land, most women have to rush to their cars or stay indoors till their babies are old enough for solids, or even worse plan all of their activities around their babies feed time. Before having my own baby, i was never really appreciative of women breastfeeding their babies in public places. Despite it being the most natural thing, i still feel it should be done in total privacy without a horde of passerbys sneaking that peek. Creating ‘Nursing rooms’ is the answer.
Last year, on an international trip, i was totally taken aback upon finding ‘nursing rooms’ for lactating moms available at almost every big place. I needed to express frequently so the comfort i got was beyond words. Remember, you might not have the luxury of driving your own cars while traveling. Even though little one had been weaned off on our recent trip last month, i couldn’t help but observe just how much these ‘nursing rooms’ facilitated moms.
3. Changing Rooms/ Stations
Many having Wipes & Diapers too!
Found in about every Mall, airport, park, building, even inside an aeroplane!
This reminds me that in my city, i have battled ‘changing diapers’ inside a car too many times. Unfortunately, even the bigger hotels, buildings and malls here believe you should perform these basic cleaning rituals at home or train your little ones to fix their pee/poo timings accordingly. This is one thing on which all classes are at the same level, even the VIPs don’t get to benefit from this 😉 Think Jinnah International Airport’s CIP Lounge, for instance or a Marriot Hotel. Thanks to the management of places like Centaurus and Dolmen Mall who have acted proactive and understanding and installed Changing stations inside their Restrooms. Aren’t these wall-mounted stations sooo practical? And my daughter loves that Koala on the ones by Koala Kare brand. I would love one inside my place instead of that jumbo changing table (for future, you know :p )
4. Stroller Lanes & Parking
You get to be a part of all the priority queues, if you have a Stroller. No more waiting an hour to get through the immigration or scanners. You will even have the privilege of being seated at a priority place in the boarding lounges and public transport. Public Places are usually too crowded and finding a seat is a hit and miss. What more do we have to ask as a Mom? 😉
‘Strollers Parking’ is another beneficial concept, whereby you can
neatly and safely park your stroller and enjoy a show, performance, a ride etc.
5. Parents Swap in large amusement parks
Indecisive about whether or not you should plan a trip to one of the best amusement parks with a little baby or toddler? It does sure sound like a waste of money as you will not be able to take any ride! Right? WRONG!
Most big and famous amusement parks like Disney Land, Universal Studios, Thorpe Park etc offer you a Parent swap facility, which means both the parents can take their turn at rides. One stays behind with the baby while other enjoys and vice versa. The 2nd parent does not have to start all over in the queue to take the ride when their turn comes. How Cool!
Parks have their own titles for this facility. Riders Switch, Child Swap and Parent Swap are common names. Do check your parks policy on parent swaps while confirming the booking.
6- Kids Play/ Activity areas
I don’t think there will not be a kid who doesn’t get charged up by the sight of an activity center full of slides, mazes, swings, fancy tunnels, toys and other interesting stuff. I almost always love it when i end up finding one right inside my hotel or a mall or even at airports. You do not need to provide sugary treats to bribe the little ones to behave, and of course you get to sip that cup of coffee in peace while they play. A perfect win-win situation 🙂
7- Free Wifi
My favorite — because of course there can be a need to look for all the possible reasons why your toddler threw an unexpected tantrum in the middle of nowhere! And to find best nearby places, post your latest selfies, access your e-mail for a voucher or a ticket, add a check-in or to simply play a favorite Elmo show to calm that tantrum.
‘Free Wifi’ is a blessing which is available free of cost at majority of the public places, hotels, coffee shops and airports.
8- CLEAN Toilets
Like i mentioned, i left my most favorites for the end.
Being from a country where emptying bladders on the roadside is still not unheard of and clean toilets are a rare finding, its a BIG relief when you no more have to be double minded on whether you should attend to the call of nature or not. International hygiene standards will leave you astounded and ofcourse delighted.
Expectant moms and ones with newly toilet trained kids will love this point the most.
9. Baby Shopping
It can be shopping in general too, but the variety you find for high quality baby/ kids stuff abroad is worth drooling over. My eyes pop out at a sight of H&M Kids, Zara kids, Baby Gap, Oshkosh, Carter’s and what not. And ofcourse all those accesories you can find at 1/3rd of the prices here.
If you have always been a globetrotter and thought your wanderlust will be strongly affected now that you have kids, i hope my post made you think otherwise. All the famous touristy places have planned their premises in a way to facilitate families which will make your vacation a sooper smooth sail even with those tiny tots clinging at all sides.
On a side note, i hope, pray and wish that our desi authorities start paying consideration to the comforts of moms and families too.
Hope you enjoyed the list! Let me know which of these things you felt excited about on your international trip? Or if there is something additional that blew your mind away.
Happy globetrotting xx