Let’s be honest, family holidays can be tough especially if it’s one of those holidays where every member of the family sticks together for the duration of the holiday, like ours….
Once a year, we go away on holiday together as a family. My son is now 21years and my daughter is almost 16years, we’ve been going away together on holiday every year since my son was a toddler. We were never the kids club in Tenerife type of family. Our family holidays are about doing things together as a family, so the children were always with us. This means we got them organised, entertained, dressed, fed etc
When they are younger, that can be hard work, one comes back from a two week holiday not rested. However, it gets better as they grow older because they become more independent and the feeling of needing a solo break to ‘recover’ from a family holiday disappears.
Then, there’s the differing idea of what a holiday should be issue. My idea of a brilliant holiday is food, fitness, fun, fashion (shopping). My husband’s idea of a good holiday excludes the the shopping bit. He doesn’t enjoy it and has very little patience for it. We’ve had many many arguments on our North American holidays and every single one of them has been about the shopping. We’d go to an outlet mall and he’d go into one shop and buy whatever he might want or need and be done and I would want to go into and look around every single shop whether I intend to buy stuff there or not. That to him is crazy and a waste of time, but I feel that if I’m going to travel thousands of miles and visit an outlet , then a whole day at the mall it should be. As a matter of fact, I feel that, on a 2 week break, at the very minimum, it should be 4 whole days at the mall spread over the 2 weeks. Hahahaha!!!
Experience truly teaches, now we know how to ‘manage’ ourselves. We go away and have a really good time without arguments spoiling the break. For example, in 2016, our North American family break excluded David 😂 😂 . The children and I went to NYC and had a fantastic time. It was fitness, food, shopping, fun, food, shopping, food every single day. When we got back, I told David that though he was missed (a little bit) , we were glad he wasn’t there. It has actually been the one and only time we’ve gone away as a family without him.
On a serious note though, we have come full circle and have been really enjoying our breaks together since the kids started to become more independent. Yeah there can be disagreements, but only minor ones.
Here are the things I’ve done to stay sane on family holidays.
1) Go on an annual solo trip in the first half of the year where I can do what I want when I want how I want without having to consider anyone else. It’s pure bliss.
2) Mentally plan ahead. By this I mean choosing to have a peaceful argument free holiday. Knowing that the holiday is about bonding as a family and being fine with doing things together everyday even though it might not be an activity I’d choose. Overlooking minor irritations that can turn into major fights if I “allow” them to. Bearing in mind that these moments are precious and with kids getting older every year, the opportunities to travel together will not always be there in the future. Trying to have a “no one is assured another day, make the best of each and everyday” mindset. Okay, to be honest, it can be difficult to remember that during pressure moments.
3) Communicate and learn to compromise. Discuss what everyone wants to achieve on holiday and make sure everyone gets to do what they want to do within reason. Knowing what my holiday is going to be like before I get on the plane, helps me enjoy it more. For example, if I’m going to do bare minimum browsing in shops, I can handle that if I know beforehand.
Once I got to manoeuvre around the tricky moments, I soon started to really appreciate family holidays. The bonding is priceless. We parents get to really know our children, observe them, discover new things about them that we might have missed, talk to them on a deeper level. We all have very busy day to day lives, even though we do talk and joke a lot, it’s different when we go away together.
I’d love to hear about your family holiday experiences, feel free to comment below.