Holiday with your Kids; blessing or curse?
Holidays make the best memories
Going away on holiday is a magical time. Holidays give you a chance to escape from your everyday life; rest and recuperate, explore new sights and make special memories with the people that you love. Many of my fondest memories happened while on holiday, whether it was with my family, my husband or with friends.
Being able to go away on holiday is a thing that I am truly grateful for having. I have visited beautiful places, seen beautiful sights and experienced different countries cultures. I fulfilled dreams like being able to have coffee and a pastry outside Tiffany’s like Audrey Hepburn, stand on Juliet’s Balcony in Verona and sing ‘The Sound of Music’ whilst dancing around on an Austrian hilltop.
What happens when you throw your children into the mix?
All the above adventures happened before I was blessed with children. Having a five-year-old and a two-year-old has drastically changed our holiday plans. We have chosen not to venture abroad due to it already being stressful enough travelling abroad with adults let alone children. Holidays now involve exploring the UK and ‘staycationing’. For the past few years, we have mainly visited family on the other side of the country and made a holiday out of it. This year was slightly different as we decided to stay on North Yorkshire coast in a caravan near Scarborough with my Mum and Dad. The caravan park was excellent and just a short walk to the beach; what could go wrong?
What I found out was a holiday with your children can be both a blessing and a curse. When I came back from the holiday; I felt like I needed another break to recover from the chaos. I have amazing memories of my week in Scarborough with my family and it really was magical. Yet, most of the time I felt like I was doing a marathon with my legs tied together and a blindfold on; my children made sure I was suitably on my toes every step of the way.
How do you get a family of four packed for a week on holiday? With great difficulty. We own a small car, so with boot space limited and my husband wanting us to pack everything into one big bag. Intensely disliking packing for myself, having to pack for myself and my kids was the icing on the cake.
My daughter was relatively easy as she does not have an opinion on what she wants to pack. My son, however, was a different story. Laying out all of the options for T-shirts resulted in him wanting to take them all, getting upset that he could not take a dinosaur T-shirt that he said he ‘has always loved’ yet he had never worn it.
Packing for myself was the ultimate challenge; I always over pack. I am scared of not having enough options in terms of clothing and then feeling uncomfortable due to not being in the right attire. My solution to this was to vacuum pack all of mine and my children’s clothes. This meant I could take the few items of extra clothing and not worry about my husband not having any room in the bag. I had ordered some vacuum bags from Amazon and I was fortunate that they came with a pump.
I was immensely proud that I had managed to pack everything in one bag; it really felt like an achievement. However, I had slightly under packed for my son who wanted to wear joggers rather than all the shorts I had packed. This frustrated the life out of me. Packing is a task that I will never be champion of.
I am used to having long car journeys with the children; we usually do a five-hour drive down to Colchester. This journey only took two hours and was bliss compared to the usual five. It is important that when planning a journey with children that you have every base covered.
We had made plans to keep them occupied. I had downloaded various films and TV shows onto my tablet, ensuring they had entertainment during the journey. Having made food so that they would not get hungry on the way there. We had put my daughters favourite teddy in the back seat with her. My son had his hot wheel cars.
What we did forget was to take out son to the toilet before we set off. We had just packed the car up, was ready to get strapped in when Mr T suddenly remembered bladder check. We asked our son and told him to quickly try for a wee in our garden as we had locked up the house. To our annoyance, he shouts ‘I desperately need a poo.’ My husband had to take him back into the house so he could use the toilet.
A word of advice
If I could give any word of advice to parents travelling with children it is to never leave them with a big bottle of juice. I found this out when my son announced just halfway into our trip home that he needed a wee. I discovered he had not only drank his sister’s fruit shoot but also his own drink that was to last him the whole journey.
He moaned as he said he could not hold it in. We cursed as we were on an A road and could not stop anywhere. We had to find a solution, but where from? As I am nervously looking for places to stop my husband tells me to get the fruit shoot bottle. I knew at that moment this wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience as I tried to direct my son in the finer art of weeing into a bottle.
All would have been fine if my son had not drunk so much. Or indeed the fruit shoot bottle was not so small. As the bottle is filling up I start to panic, there isn’t enough room. I desperately try to swap the bottle around but it is too late; my son’s wee flies up splashes him in the face and covers my hands. This is not how I pictured my holiday to end. Covered in wee and holding a fruit shoot bottle full of my son’s urine. I am certainly grateful that I had baby wipes in my bag at the time and that my son did not need the toilet anymore.
Keeping them amused; Handling tempers and tantrums
Children want to be constantly engaged in something and have the energy of ten men. This can prove a challenge on holiday as it is all about finding strategies to tire them out. The holiday park was great and had so much for the children to do; swimming, clubs, a park, beach etc. I and Mr T would come back weary every night from all the activities we did with the children.
However, mine and my husband’s idea of fun activities for the kids did not always go down well with our two mischief makers. We took them paddling in the sea; my daughter loved it on the first day and had a tantrum when we took her out. The next day we tried the same and my daughter did the complete opposite; refused to go in and had a massive tantrum when we tried to get her to paddle.
My children both seem hell-bent on doing the exact opposite of what we want them to. After having a couple of hours on the beach; it was time to get cleaned up so we quickly dipped my two-year-old into the sea. She plagued the air with screams like we were trying to torture her. Then, when we had cleaned her up, she did the unthinkable. My daughter defiantly ran out of my grasp and proceeded to throw herself onto the sand and roll around triumphantly in it. We had failed our clean up mission and ended up admitting defeat as we put a child covered in sand into the car.
Upon taking her to the kid’s club; my daughter screamed hysterically at the puppet show and refused to stop hugging me. My son had a better time at the kids club but managed to cover himself in bubble solution so he looked like he had wet himself. The upside of that was I knew his clothes would come out extra clean when we washed them.
All fun and games
We experienced the joy of playing games like mini golf and dominoes; people were cheating, it was hard to know who won. Sebastian proceeded to show us that he needed lessons in sportsmanship as he ignored the fact that everyone else had to play and kept jumping to the next hole. At least I know where I get my tendencies to cheat and be ultra-competitive; my Dad was ruthless at dominoes and took his tiles before my son could have the first pick.
It was great to be able to let my children play and meet new friends at the caravan park. This does have its drawbacks when your son cries because he would much rather stay at the caravan and play with his hot wheels with the children in the caravan next door than go to an animal park.
Crying on the dancefloor
Another issue with large groups of children together on holiday is you always have one child who will spoil it for others. Our last night at the children’s disco was abruptly cut short when my daughter decided to throw popcorn everywhere in a temper and spill my drink all over the table. My husband gallantly took her back to the caravan so my son could continue to have fun at the disco.
However, this fun was short-lived when he started crying inconsolably because another child had decided to go round the dance floor punching and pushing other children. Once my son gets upset; it is hard to change his mood so we had no choice but to go back to the caravan early.
Little moments of gratitude
One thing that made me so happy on the holiday was my son’s ability to make friends with other children without fear. I struggle with social situations so to see my son confidently talk to other children and have fun made me so happy. May he not develop the hang-ups that I had as a child.
I am also thankful for the time my children got to spend with my parents. My eldest has a close relationship with my parents being the firstborn. My daughter, however, had not spent as much bonding time with my Mum and Dad as we live away from them. This holiday enabled my parents to discover what an independent, spirited girl Layla is and it let her develop a closer bond with Na na and Gan Gan (her words).
I am so grateful that I had this time on holiday;I got so much out of it. Spending quality time with the people that truly matter to me. Being truthful, at times it was hard navigating everyone’s needs, but it was worth it for the memories and fun we had. Scarborough will always hold a happy place in my heart; even though my children did the exact opposite of what I wanted most of the time. That is parenting; with the highs, there are also lows and on holiday it is no exception.
I will admit, it was good to come back home to my little nest; despite it looking like it had been burgled by the clumsiest of thieves. There was so much washing to do, the machine was loaded before we even sat down for a rest. We still have everything to pack away; our massive bag is still in our bedroom waiting for the clean clothes to go back in the wardrobe. My house is a mess but I am happy and it will eventually get sorted when I am in the mood.
My children have had a harder transition from holiday bliss to ‘back to reality’. On the morning we left my son insisted on saying goodbye to everything at the caravan site and did not want to leave. The only way we could ease the pain of leaving was to remind him that if he stayed in Scarborough then he would not see our dog Chewie again. This fact brought him around.
Changes in the children
I always notice changes in my children’s behaviour after they have been away, especially with family. The holiday has all been about keeping the children happy, they think this rule applies back at home. My son started asking ‘where are we going out to today’ as if it happened every day. He would get upset and sulk when he did not get his own way. He spent most of the next few days being ‘spoken to’ about manners and thinking of others.
Likewise, my daughter has spent most of the days having random tantrums and trying to fight her brother. The ‘terrible twos’ have definitely landed here at Mrs T’s house. This might be due to her teething but it could possibly be because, compared to going on holiday, home is mundane. I explained to my son that we could only have holidays once a year as it is like Christmas; it would not be as special if it happened every day and we would not appreciate it.
So, is it a blessing or a chore?
I believe that holidays with the children are a mixture of both. The memories made are priceless; despite it being hard work at times. Looking back on all the holidays I have had, I only remember the good parts. I hope that my children will look back and remember our holiday fondly and with love. I had a great time and it was worth it; despite all the rolling around in sand and travel chaos that we had.
What are your opinions about going on holiday with the kids? Do you have any funny stories of going on holiday? I would love to hear from you in the comments. Ciao for now beauties xx