Travelling overseas with children takes a whole lot more organisation, and that's before you even leave the country.
Travelling overseas with children takes a whole lot more organisation, and that's before you even leave the country. SbytovaMN

Taking the Christmas chaos to another level overseas

THIS is my first Christmas as a single mother. To distract myself from the enormity of it all, we're going overseas. To Europe, in fact. I am excited and terrified in equal measure.

Excited to see Paris - a city I have yearned to visit since Year 8 French class - and terrified of doing an airport run without a grown-up hand to hold. Not to mention three sets of small legs to coax across massive international airports.

Usually I am an organising whiz when it comes to a family holiday. I've even been known to collate (totally fun) activity books specifically about our destinations, with each child's preferred interests in mind.

But this year has been tougher than most. I am more than worn down.

A relaxing week in Hawaii may have been more the ticket for our weary band of travellers this Christmas.

However, the 13-year-old me saw an opportunity and snatched at it.

I have managed children on planes, trains and epic road trips before, so I anticipate I'll be fine, but the lead-up is excruciating - the buying winter gear when I've never needed it before, the travel insurance, the cost of enough Rescue Remedy to adequately sedate four people ... and this was before I saw the political rioting currently going on in Paris.

My visions of doing a delightful spot of Christmas shopping under twinkling lights on the Champs Elysees is beginning to look more like traipsing through charred remains of market stalls and me trying to keep the toddler from entering the fray, while telling the older two "so some countries are quite vocal about tax hikes while in Australia, we might pen a cranky letter to the editor”.

Never lose the lesson, kids.

But as the days count down to Christmas, and my diary fills up with baking, gift-getting, Christmas parties, end-of-year celebrations, and apparently, "one last sleepover with my friend before we leave the country” (of course, my poor compatriot), all this on top of the usual cleaning, cooking, laundry duties that I must conquer each week ... I am beginning to think a little riot might make a relatively calmer affair than my day-to-day life at this point.

Just don't ask me to bring a plate.

Peta Jo is an author, mother of three and once wrote an ebook on how to travel with kids. Back when she only had two children. Such naivete.