We went on holiday over Easter. We hadn’t been on holiday in what seemed like forever and I was looking forward to it so much. The Lake District was our destination of choice and the children had requested their favourite things to do whilst we were there. Walks along the river, trips to the park and lunch in a cafe were among the top requests. The car was tightly packed with more stuff than we actually needed, the children were buckled in, the sat nav indicated a straightforward journey and we were off… “muuuuum, she stuck her tongue out at me”, “muuuuuum, he hit me”, “muuuuuuuuuuum, she is a poo head”.
We hadn’t got 2 minutes down the road before the arguments started. We had an hour and 40 minute journey ahead of us and I wasn’t sure that all 5 of us would make it intact! One of us was going to lose their hearing from the screaming or at the very least lose their mind from the constant bickering. I don’t know why, but my children can’t seem to be in the same space as each other without an argument starting out of thin air! Many threats of informing teachers and grandparents of this behaviour, a few bribes of sweets upon arrival, numerous cries of “I need a wee” and 1 projectile vomiting incident later and we were finally there. I don’t think that I have ever needed a large gin more in all of my life.
When we go up to the Lake District, we stay in a 1 bed flat owned by a family member. We realise how lucky we are to have access to this place in such a beautiful part of the world but being a family of 5 in a rather confined space has its downsides. For instance, all of us sleeping in 1 room! It sounds kind of fun when you first think about it. It feels like a bit of an adventure when you first do it. However, when you end up having to go to bed at the same time of the children so as to avoid WW3 and when you are still muttering “FFS, will you please go to sleep” at midnight, it soon loses its appeal. Another issue we had was trying to get the children to understand that the people who lived in the flat below did not wish to hear thundering footsteps and banshee wailing at 6am. I seriously spent most of the time that we were indoors telling the children to stop running or to stop screaming or to stop jumping off the bed. It was exhausting.
Now don’t get me wrong, the whole holiday wasn’t awful. We did have nice walks along the river and trips to the park. We even managed lunch in our favourite cafe without too much arguing or misbehaving. However we also had tantrums whilst walking around the gorgeous grounds of Allan Bank (even though we were doing a fabulous Easter trail at the time), cries of “you are the worst Mummy ever” because M couldn’t have my phone to watch YouTube whilst we were admiring the stunning Coniston Lake and the surprise of the RAF jets that roared above it and more threats than I can count of “if you dare do that again we are packing up and going home”. I could sit here and show you the Instagram worthy pictures of a family having fun and make you think that we had an idyllic break away from everyday life. Or, I could tell you that our holiday was just as stressful as being at home, just in a prettier location.
At first I was disappointed. I had been looking forward to our holiday for a long time and had built this perfect image in my head. But I soon realised that I was putting too much pressure on myself and the children. I had forgotten that my children were not going to magically change their normal behaviour just because we were in a different location. I am not excusing their behaviour by any means (there is a reason that I am the worst Mummy in the world and it usually comes in the form of a technology ban) but just because we were on holiday it didn’t mean that they were automatically going to get along with each other and turn into angels. I had to let go of my vision of the perfect family get away and make do with the fact that it doesn’t matter where we go, my children will still behave like they always do. I could take my children to paradise and one of them still wouldn’t like the way another one looked at them!
Next time we go on holiday I demand an all inclusive hotel with a kids club!!
Do your children behave better than usual when on holiday?