to have not enjoyed this family holiday? am i completely selfish and just an AWFUL parent?

(279 Posts)
dirtyface Wed 10-Jul-13 09:58:39

went away last week with dh and our 2 dcs aged 4 and 7

its the first time we have been away as a whole family (for various reasons) and i was really looking forward to it. but mostly it was hard work and pretty shit.

the kids are usually pretty good at home. but on holiday, they played up, fought, acted spoilt, constantly demanded things, moaned that things were "boring" , pissed about at bedtime till all hours as they were so excited, woke us up early every morning, we barely got 2 minutes together. and managed one shag the whole time so i was grumpy and irritable, as was DH. and we absolutely haemorraged money on god knows what so both of us were a bit stressed cos of that.

and most things we did were pretty boring for us as they were child focused. so i was EXHAUSTED and miserable by the time we got home and had never been so glad to be home from a holiday in all my life

is this what its like? i bet we spent two grand all in (that includes paying for the actual holiday itself). and for what?

the kids had a good time at least i might add!

sorry if i sound a massive ungrateful so and so - am prepared to be told i am blush

NutellaNutter Wed 10-Jul-13 10:01:46

YANBU. Holidays with young kids are just shite, unless you take a nanny or put them in holiday clubs for long sessions. Not just the same work in a different place but actually MORE work.

sympathies. i feel like that too!

lydiajones Wed 10-Jul-13 10:03:17

YANBU - holidays can sometimes be harder work than staying at home!!

We go camping every year (and cook nearly every meal) while I dream of an all inclusive holiday somewhere hot!!

Idocrazythings Wed 10-Jul-13 10:04:24

Unfortunately you have to lower your expectations when holidaying with children. It can be very hard work.

andrea315 Wed 10-Jul-13 10:04:29

That's holidays with kids ! They need a new name for them ;)

pictish Wed 10-Jul-13 10:05:00

It's what you make it. You don't have to do kiddy activities every day. We go camping and like long rambles through the hills and so on, so we do a bit of the kids out, and most kids love scrambling over rocks and jumping across streams.
Is also free.

Flobbadobs Wed 10-Jul-13 10:05:13

YANBU, theres a massive expectation for family holidays to be 'fun' when in sctual fact they can be bloody hard work!
We stopped going on the organised type holidays like Centre Parks or Butlins and started hiring holiday cottages and going to festivals because our DC's were exactly the same. It gives you more freedom to just lounge and the children more of a chance to play without the pressure of organising things all the time.

mazzi2fly Wed 10-Jul-13 10:05:14

We try and go on holiday with another family if possible, then the kids have playmates and are more settled and stop bothering us for stuff all the time.

Methe Wed 10-Jul-13 10:05:46

Where did you go?

We had a holiday like this a couple of years ago to marmaris, which is an absolute hovel btw. The kids were 6 and 18m and it was such an effort it was just exhausting. We never had sex once! All our meals were eaten by the soundtrack of my whining toddler and when he went to sleep the hotel started the disco.. It was so noisy the whole time! Holidays should be quiet.

I told dh I would never ever go on another hotel holiday with kids ever again and I bloody mean it!

We're going camping this year, they're 8 and 4 how. It had bloody well be better or it'll be the last holiday until they can pay for their own!

Holidays with kids are notoriously hard work for everyone.

I am feeling like that about our forthcoming "holiday", 2 weeks in tent with 4 kids - one of whom does not want to go. I hate camping, but it's the only way we can afford to take them away this year. I won't sleep, I will end up trying to pacify a 15 yo etc, etc, and it isn't going to be a "holiday" at all, I'll come back more exhausted than when I went.

dirtyface Wed 10-Jul-13 10:07:21

lower your expectations ....Lol idocrazythings - that was EXACTLY what i was telling myself most of the time grin

and absolutely YY to this >> Not just the same work in a different place but actually MORE work

VulvaVoom Wed 10-Jul-13 10:10:05

DH and I took 8 month old DD on a Sun holiday in June, I found it bloody exhausting.

I was in bed and asleep one night at 9pm (unheard of) and we came home a day early - can't see it getting any easier either, so my sympathies!

Imagine it's harder when the DCs whinge and are ungrateful too.


But as you say, this was the first time you all went away, so maybe take it as a lesson learned? Next time you can manage things differently.

We've actually never taken DS (3) on a proper holiday, except to the ILs bungalow, because we are big wimps.

littlepeas Wed 10-Jul-13 10:12:15

Holidays with dc are not remotely relaxing - we recently went glamping and we came back exhausted! Do try and make the best of it though - they will be teens soon enough and then you'll have to bribe them to go away with you!

pictish Wed 10-Jul-13 10:12:24

I don't accept that holidays with kids are crap at all. I enjoy all our holidays, as we take everyone into account and compromise. We do accept bedtimes will go out the window and so on...but that's all part of the holiday vibe. Free and easy.

We have three kids...11, 5 and 4...and something as simple as a tube of bubbles each, can keep them entertained for a good solid half hour in the morning, running around outside playing with them. We get a coffee in peace.

I'm not saying we never get stressed or have our 'events' - but I wouldn't say I have ever had anything approaching a miserable time. Unless on the rare occasion we have been with <shudders> other people.

So long as we can please ourselves, we're a happy bunch on holiday.

dirtyface Wed 10-Jul-13 10:13:53

it wasn't abroad methe it was in this country (seaside area)

oh god thats another thing. THE BEACH with kids = HELL

i had deluded visions of sauntering about on the beach in my new bikini (a la celebs in magazines) while smiling indulgently at my happy children splashing in the sea and playing. while dh took some lovely happy family pics of us all to post on facebook

the reality was sweatily hauling all their stuff about, sand in the picnic, sand EVERYWHERE while being attacked by seagulls (yes really) and consoling them when they were upset about getting wet and getting sand on themselves hmm . getting comfortable on the picnic blanket only for them to come stampeding all over it with sandy feet DEMANDING things.

Damnautocorrect Wed 10-Jul-13 10:15:07

We do self catering Cornwall, its lovely still hard work but the beach days, rock pool hopping and lovely walks help keep the costs down

Methe Wed 10-Jul-13 10:15:10

Pictish any other tips? You sound like you have the kind of holidays I aspire to grin

ClaimedByMe Wed 10-Jul-13 10:17:53

Ahh the family holiday - same shit different place smile

I am not a fan and am very glad we cant afford one this year!

pictish Wed 10-Jul-13 10:21:22

Tips? Chill out. Take everyone into account. One day doing what mum and dad like, one day doing something for the kids... and in our case, taking an afternoon out to do something our eldest chooses. One day doing something free....
Never be in a rush in the morning. Don't worry about being back for bedtime.

Stuff like that.

sparkle12mar08 Wed 10-Jul-13 10:21:41

Same old shit, different view...

It helps if it's a pleasant view, but it really is the same old job I'm afraid.

Nagoo Wed 10-Jul-13 10:21:43

I expected my holiday last year to be hellish, with 18MO and 5YO.

It was alright.

My top tip is to split them up TBH. Spend the whole day tag team parenting, take one kid each and abandon all hope of actually talking to each other at any point. This has the bonus of them not being able to say anything to piss you off

Then in the evenings keep them up at the hideous disco thing while you share a £9 bottle of wine, and then go to bed to start again.

I don't anticipate that any of the holiday will be for me, so I am quite pleased when it turns out that I do enjoy the pool or the magic show or whatever it is. Also I am that idiot parent that will join in the dancing with my kids. I don't care what the strangers think of me, so I just do whatever I think will make the DC happiest, and I know where they are.

Then I take a secret day off work when they've all gone back to school and do what I want.

wispawoman Wed 10-Jul-13 10:22:51

Go camping (preferably abroad with pretty well guaranteed sun) - Eurocamp, that sort of thing. Usually hoards of other children, hopefully a childrens' courier for a couple of hours a day, safe and fenced environment. Just accept that when they are small you are on duty all the time anyway unless you can persuade (or pay) another responsible adult to take responsibility. I (and grown up kids apparently) have very fond memories of these - kids remember the den building in the woods and the pool, I remember the relaxing evenings round the tent with a glass of wine watching kids and dad playing 20 -a side football with all nationalities!

Kiriwawa Wed 10-Jul-13 10:23:47

I have never understood the popularity of the beach holiday with small children - it's always a nightmare (and I say that as someone who lives by a sandy beach).

I think camping/holiday camp is actually much better with smaller kids. They can find other kids to play with which gives you a break and there's enough to entertain them to not have to spend much on extras.

I now only do camping/holiday camp or go on holiday with friends with kids. Single family in a self-catering cottage in the middle of nowhere is a recipe for overspending and not having fun IME

pictish I do hear what you're saying -- this is why we love taking DS to the family bungalow (it's on a campsite here in France). It's all very unstructured and simple, there's no schlepping, no big activities, just going to the pool, going for walks, eating good food.

I don't really see us doing anything more ambitious than this until DS is older. I hate the thought of paying for a holiday and not enjoying it.

SoupDragon Wed 10-Jul-13 10:23:56

TBH, what you describe is a standard "family" holiday. They are a holiday for the children, not the whole family smile

Mine have got better now my DSs are old enough to do their own thing in the resort and DD loves the kids club. It helps that it is somewhere we go to every 2 years (timeshare). Last year I even got to laze by the pool and read!

pictish Wed 10-Jul-13 10:24:09

oh and aye - it is a busman's holiday - but you can fight against it, or just accept it.
Accepting it and relaxing the whole pace and slowing everything down is the way to go.
Ban moaning.

NoComet Wed 10-Jul-13 10:24:11

Holidays with children are fine if you like being a big kid. Difficult if you don't.

I'm happy to swim for hours, go to waterparks, visit zoos, hire multi seat bikes, visit theme parks and play in the kids bit of museums.

My DDs are happy to do these things and sometimes go to kids club and join in with the disco while I have a drink. They'll wander down a Mediterranean sea front and sip non alcoholic cocktails too. I'm very lucky, they are very good about later bed times and remain nice to know.

Yes it costs tbe odd bribe of a go on the giant trampolines and now they are older they went of on the sedgeways which wasn't cheap.

The only hassel is meals, but DD2 is a fussy pain at home too.

ruddynorah Wed 10-Jul-13 10:24:49

You need other kids there to amuse your kids. Fab holiday for us was bolero in Italy. Essentially centre parcs in the sun. Loads of kids. Loads to do and included in the price not extra. ALSO you need to each give each other alone time. You take the kids off while he lounges and vice versa. Otherwise no one gets a break.

badguider Wed 10-Jul-13 10:25:51

I think a large part of the problem is that it was the first time - the kids would have been over-excited and have unrealistic expectations. If you go away each year then you have time to set expectations about how much ice-cream is bought, how often you eat out, when they have to amuse themselves etc. etc.

Unfortunately your poor children have probably been subconsciously indoctrinated into the idea that holidays are something magical from a marketing campaign, hence why they were 'bored' and 'demanding'.... setting your own boundaries and expectations is the only way to survive.

DragonMamma Wed 10-Jul-13 10:26:48

They are more work and you get less of a break but I don't find them too stressful, as long as you throw all the usual rules out the window and medicate yourself with booze each evening.

I love our family holidays. It's great not sticking to a routine and discovering new things.

A family holiday has to be for everyone in the family not just the kids though. We do 1 or 2 kid things then the rest is just relaxing family stuff.

Dd loves helping us cook or going for walks in the woods.

Set the kids a budget every day, when its gone its gone. When a holiday is coming up we double whatever dd's managed to save then divide by 7 , bingo daily budget and she doesn't hassle us for money.

SoupDragon Wed 10-Jul-13 10:29:17

I ditch pretty much all house rules on holiday which helps.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 10-Jul-13 10:30:07

Go with another family. Then the kids play together and want nothing to do with you. Bliss. Make sure you get on with other parents though, and they are not tee total or anything silly like that!

Also, work on making your kids low maintenance. With some children this is impossible, but try ignoringbenign parenting them outside of holiday times and hopefully they will pester you less on holiday. (I love my children, truly, but I just can't cope with full on parenting.)

KnittedWaffle Wed 10-Jul-13 10:31:31

YANBU I am so selfish that I don't even want to go on holiday (3 pre school DC). I am just doing day trips here and there it's all I can cope with

You have to deal with all the same shit as you do at home, without all the stuff you need, less facilities, no time off, extra high expectations and excited/unsettled/hot children. Not my idea of fun at all!

I'd love a week away on my own but I don't have anyone to look after my DC sad

NoComet Wed 10-Jul-13 10:33:17

And it doesn't last forever.

Last year they were 11 & 14 and both bought books and lazed by the pool and on the beach too.

DD2 still did kids club one last time, made friends too play with in the pool. DD1 is happy with her own company and with ours and DH and her spent hours snorkling in the sea.

We went to a show and did a lovely boat trip with food and more snorkling which was beautiful and, even DD1 got chatting to a girl her own age.

Normally this doesn't happen, DD1 has a few very special friends, she's know for years. Otherwise she finds the whole teenage bit a total mystery.

mindosa Wed 10-Jul-13 10:34:56

We always do self catering and my favourite is the whole France Keycamp set up.

Its all about expectations and on holiday;

I expect us to spend lots of time together under no time pressure
I expect food to be quick and easy, bbq, salads, pizzas etc.
I expect to spend lots of time making sandcastle, going on nature walks, swimming, eating ice cream, etc etc
I insist on having 1 afternoon free for shopping and 1 for visiting a local spa
I expect to eat lots of lovely cheese and drink lovely wine

For what its worth I adore family holidays but very much gear myself up for what the reality will be. No lounging on the beach drinking sangria for another few years ! !

choceyes Wed 10-Jul-13 10:35:01

hmmm...yes holidays with children are not holidays at all. We have a 4.6yr old and a nearly 3yr old.
We don't do beach holidays with the kids...its just too stressful. Worrying about them burning, sand in everything, them moaning about one thing or another, constantly. It's not worth it.
We generally do city holidays with them. And it's much much better. We get to do what we visting a museum in the morning, and they like it to and get something out of it (last year was Berlin). They are used to museums as suchlike as we live in a city. Then in the afternoon we go to a park or play area and they have lots of fun all afternoon. Me or DH will take turns in keeping an eye on them while the other reads a book. They are pretty tired by early evening and they go to bed earlier than at home! Which means we get to read/watch a film etc in the evening and relax.
This year we are going to Paris! We are spending a few days near a beach too where my inlaws are but, the in-laws want to spend time with the DCs, so I'm hoping I'll be able to read my books in peace!

on the whole though, even though it's stressful, I enjoy showing the DCs new things and discovering new places together. I couldn't cope with being on a beach holiday for 2 weeks. All of us, including the kids, would be bored after a few days.

monicalewinski Wed 10-Jul-13 10:36:39

Big congrats on managing one shag - that's better than I ever have on holiday with the kids! It's unfortunately not your holiday when you're with the kids, it's theirs; I always to look forward to the evenings when they're in bed and me and DH can sit outside the tent / on balcony etc drinking coffee and chatting, that's my bit of holiday. (Bet your kids had an awesome time though, which is what makes you a not awful parent!).

Mama1980 Wed 10-Jul-13 10:37:10

I don't accept that family holidays are crap either. I love ours, I have 3 dd15 ds5 and ds6 months. We love going away,and usually spend hours on the beach, rock pooling, surfing etc. fairly cheap eat fish and chips/picnics.....they have their moments but generally are great and we have a great time. I love showing them new things and places.

LookingForwardToMarch Wed 10-Jul-13 10:37:39

All our holidays are fantastic, relaxing, love spending time with the kids and also getting adult time....

Our secret?

Grandparents! wink

They love it, the kids love it, its a win win!

hatsybatsy Wed 10-Jul-13 10:40:06

holidays with pre-school children are very hard work.

Turning point was when dd was 5 (so ds 7) - they were both strong swimmers and made lots of friends around the pool, and they would go en masse to the kids club.

they had a ball - i read several books and came back feeling refreshed.

NoComet Wed 10-Jul-13 10:41:14

Yes to training!

I'm all for regular bed times most of the time, but DCs who are used to staying up late for special occasions occations and happy to sleep in the car and be put straight to bed are a godsend on holiday.

Especially if you never use tiredness as an excuse for bad behaviour. I f you forget when they went to bed, they will too.

Well at least untill about 10.30-11pm. Everyone is allowed to be crumpy when Thomsons bounce you to a flight that doesn't take off until almost midnight and has you driving home through sunrise.

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 10:43:25

We have several children.
We used to do it by going to Butlins. But always taking sveral adults along to, and hiring two chalets next to each other.
Use grandparents, friends, aunties etc.
They wanted to come as they wanted to play with the kids.
And we used to swap as to who was going out in the evening and who was goint to stay in with the kids.
Only ever went for 5 days though. 7 would have been too much.

TenaciousOne Wed 10-Jul-13 10:43:51

We went on holiday with a 10 month old DS two weeks in the Caribbean, I don't normally do sitting by a pool holidays so we spilt it. We had a week of chilling by the pool keeping DS out of the sun too much and then a week of going around the island coming back to have a cool down dip in the pool. It was great we all loved it even DH who hates being hot.

CaptainSweatPants Wed 10-Jul-13 10:44:14

Top tip

Decide on a budget before you go

Only spend what you've budgeted for on days out

choceyes Wed 10-Jul-13 10:44:52

2 years ago we holidayed for 3 weeks at my in-laws house in very rural france. They were only there for one week of it. So the other 2 weeks we were alone with the kids with nothing much to do. They weather was hit and miss so we couldn't go to the lake much or even play in the garden and we had to drive miles and miles to get to a town. It was shite. It was worse than being at home.

CaptainSweatPants Wed 10-Jul-13 10:46:23

*Use grandparents, friends, aunties etc.
They wanted to come as they wanted to play with the kids.*

envy at people having friends who think playing with kids is a holiday ! Lol

Chopstheduck Wed 10-Jul-13 10:49:44

I agree with the camp suggestions. A hotel with kids is NOT fun. A camp where they can go to kids clubs, run off with other children, run down to the park, while mum and dad sit and relax for a few hours in the afternoon is bliss. Plus with a caravan or lodge, the kids have their own rooms, they go to sleep and we light candles and chill out with a bottle glass of wine in the evening.

This year is going to be a bit more interesting as we are doing hotels and touring California, but we are only taking two of the kids (of four), and they are 8 now, so a little less demanding. They also love sightseeing. If you teach them a little about places before you go there, it can be more interesting. I can remember my dts at 5 being absolutely enthralled by an art gallery in Amsterdam because they had been doing Van Gogh as topic work at school!

Holidays wihtout the kids are totally different, and I do love them, but then I do also miss having them there to show them all the things we see too.

NoComet Wed 10-Jul-13 10:49:52

lounging around drinking sangria is quite possible, you wear your DCs out in the pool in the morning and have a wuiet picnic lunch on your balcony. Real littlies sleep, mine would chat and play cards, ipod games or cards for a bit and then back to the pool or the beach.

Clearly Sangria can also be sipped on the balcony while DCs sleep.

Picnic lunches, with off licence sangri, san miguel and 2 litre bottles of coke, juice and 5 litre bottles of water are also way way cheaper than a grotty pizza in a cafe.

HandMini Wed 10-Jul-13 10:51:09

This is excellent holiday advice : Never be in a rush in the morning. Don't worry about being back for bedtime.

Chopstheduck Wed 10-Jul-13 10:51:26

"They wanted to come as they wanted to play with the kids'

We got lured into that one once, went to Florida with the inlaws. They were sick of them before the flight was even over! Managed one day out with us to a theme park, and one evening where they had them for a few hours. Their idea of the holiday was to go round the shopping outlets and spend absurd amounts on clothing for the kids! Not the kids idea of a holiday at all unfortunately.

DeWe Wed 10-Jul-13 10:52:49

We've found the best beaches when you h\ve children have a sea wall you can sit on with your stuff and it doens't get so sandy.

Chopstheduck Wed 10-Jul-13 10:53:20

In Spain we loved to get those rotisserie chickens from marketplaces, a couple of french stick and pack a sharp knife, butter and chopping board. Picnics for lunches from the markets are much better than trying to get them to sit still and wait for food.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 10-Jul-13 10:53:37

I can remember that holidays were tricky and exhausting when Dd was little and wouldn't sleep well...ugh, really grim! As she has grown older the most tricky part has been making sure that she has other children to play with. Once we have sorted that it is great!

I so sympathise though Op we have had a few holidays where it was a bloody relief to come home! Still glad of the change of scene though!

MoominMammasHandbag Wed 10-Jul-13 10:55:10

Family holidays are hard work it's true. But the big payoff is when they're 18 and say that they always loved family holidays when they were a kid, more than Christmas or birthdays or anything smile

LifeofPo Wed 10-Jul-13 10:57:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ENormaSnob Wed 10-Jul-13 10:57:23

Im with pictish.

I love holidays, yeah its not always easy or relaxing but the good aspects always outweigh the negatives imo.

insanityscratching Wed 10-Jul-13 10:58:09

I don't think holidays are relaxing with children tbh sometimes it seems like hard work. Our youngest is 10 now and they have been much easier for the last few years.
Things that work here is accepting that dc will have late nights and hopefully late mornings.
Being prepared to divide and rule so dh and I often do an activity with one or two of them whilst the other does something different with the others.
Eat simple foods in or cheaply out and give each other the chance of an afternoon off by having all dc to yourself a couple of times.
Give the children weekly or daily spending money and tell them when it's gone it's gone and take tablets, ipods, etc to get quiet travelling and quiet waiting to be served in restaurants.
YANBU to have found it stressful YWBU if you didn't learn from it and put in strategies to manage it better next time.

curryeater Wed 10-Jul-13 10:58:20

I feel your pain.

Some suggestions:

1. My sister likes booking big houses and going with other family members (our parents, a cousin we are close to and her family), erm, me, on the basis that adults rotate things like early-rising duty. She is an extravert though and though I love her dearly I am not sure in my own mind whether, selfishly, it is a net gain for me with her shouting her head off and being hearty all the time. So far it has been moot as it has only come up when I have been bfing so always on duty anyway. However, with older children there is also the benefit that, ideally, they just sort of meld into a unified feral pack and you get a lot less whining as they are busy being their own weird little tribe.
Do you have anyone you would like to do this with?

2. Camping. Counter-intuitive, but it works for some. Advantages:
- we go with friends so you get the child-meld advantage
- your low expectations of creature comforts mean that your crushing disappointment is lessened
- your dp, if you have one, is more likely to be aware of and tuned into the idea of Camping involving Chores so you don't get that up-to-the-elbows-in-washing-up-while-everyone-else-on-the-patio thing
- cheap (again, this is in favour with respect to the crushing disappointment factor)
Obviously, there are disadvantages to camping, I do not need to list these.

3. Throw crazy amounts of money at the problem and go Mark Warner. I have not done this and cannot imagine being able to afford it, but if I could and if my children liked it, I would consider doing this once every few years as far preferable to an attempt at an annual conventional "holiday" without backup. (totally theoretical for me)

4. Do whatever you have to do with the children, do not expect to enjoy it, and get childcare for a completely separate dirty weekend with your dp. Even if you stay in a Premier Inn or a tent, try to get away as a couple just so you can have as many cups of tea as you want and don't have someone jumping on the bed while you are trying to drink them. Just for one lovely late lazy morning.

nosila12 Wed 10-Jul-13 10:58:47

Go with friends! You barely see the dc then - they go off and play. And you can babysit for each other in the evenings.

Dysgu Wed 10-Jul-13 10:59:28

I also love our family holidays - we had 3 last year! We have 3DC (DDs are 6 and 4, DS is 4 months) and we are all getting very excited about our forthcoming trip to Scotland from our home on the Isle of Wight! We'll split the 10 hour journey with a couple of nights in Travelodge type places (my DDs call these hotels as that is all they know grin )

Our secret is... house swapping which we do through the NCT.

Big advantages:
-swap with families so house already set up for children so no filling the car with huge amounts of equipment, toys etc
- DC love playing with others' toys
- DC love the adventure of sleeping on others' beds
- free accommodation so more money for day trips
- picnics in park become exciting and different
- local advice provided by swap family so you know the best places and other free activities
- easy to keep DC amused in others' garden so easy lazy starts to the day
- fully equipped houses rather than holiday accom so full bath, laundry facilities, fridge freezer so self-catering is easy

We love it (DS was conceived on a house swap holiday last year blush ) and will soon be looking for possible locations for Oct half term...

Calabria Wed 10-Jul-13 10:59:40

I have resigned myself to the fact that a family holiday isn't a holiday for me. There might be more wine than usual and more ice cream and a meal out or two but basically it's like being at home but with a different view and more uncomfortable bed.

parachutesarefab Wed 10-Jul-13 11:02:11

No, you're not an awful parent. Your kids had a great holiday.

You need to abandon ideas of swanning about like a celeb, and having time for just you and DH for the next one though, or look into kids clubs and babysitters.

For us, what works is self catering, with an enclosed garden. Some toys and books from home, hopefully there'll be some new ones there that they can play with. (2 year old DD1 had hours and hours of fun with a toy watering can one year. Balloons take up no space, and are great too.) Taking some of the craft kits they've been given for birthdays, but haven't used (good for rainy days). Parks. Museums. Swimming pools. Walks and cycle rides. Adventure playgrounds (and a book). Cooking. Playing games. I'm not a fan of beaches, but the DC love them - you don't have to go for the whole day though. A couple of DVDs for when its been a long day, or they're very tired.

Think about what you enjoy doing all together, at the weekend. Plan lots of days like those. Make sure there are times when one of you and DH has all the kids, and the other can do something just for them.

And YY to holidaying with friends. Or family if you get on.

Dancergirl Wed 10-Jul-13 11:03:00

OP, I really feel for you. Although your post about the beach did make me laugh, sorry! Reminds me of that book How NOT to be a perfect family.

It WILL get easier. It was the first time you've done it and your dc are still quite small.

My tips:

If you can find somewhere with a kids club. I don't particularly like the idea of a kids club day in day out on a family holiday, but a few hours here and there can be a godsend. Plus your dc will make friends they can play with when not at the kids club.

Hotel is much more of a holiday than self-catering. I DON'T want to be emptying a dishwasher on holiday or plan or cook meals, even easy meals. Book a hotel on a B and B basis, hotel breakfasts are great for kids, you can fill up, have a smallish lunch and then eat dinner together around 6.

Don't overplan because it's stressful when things go a bit wrong. Some of our nicest moments on holidays have been spontaneous.

Hotel pool is much easier than the beach and no sand to worry about. Find somewhere with a children's pool. Make sure your dc are learning to swim, in the meantime are they confident with arm-bands?

Take a few new small toys/games. Travel games are good. Mine also love new colouring/sticker books etc.

Even if you're on holiday, pull them up on whining/moaning or any other bad behaviour.

Oh and remember it WILL get easier.

CrazyOldCatLady Wed 10-Jul-13 11:06:14

I'm looking at booking a holiday next year with our two, who'll be 4 and 2.5. I'm only considering it because we'll have two grandparents and an aunt with us!

StanleyLambchop Wed 10-Jul-13 11:08:03

When we go on holiday I tend to look up all the castles/stately homes in the area and drag the kids around those, they actually don't grumble now as they are used to it. We bribe encourage them to behave with purchases from the gift shop. We do usually do one day at a farm park/adventure playground type place so they get something child-focused too. Bedtimes do get later and you will spend loads more money, but that was the case when we went away in our child free days also. You are doing well to have managed one shag BTW! You just accept it won't be relaxing and fun all the time, I look on it as the same amount of work as being at home, but at a change of scene. And remind myself it is so the children can see different places and make some memories.

CailinDana Wed 10-Jul-13 11:08:07

We have a 2 year old and 5 month old. Last month DH took a few days off and we just stayed at home, did the normal activities like playgroup etc but just relaxed a little - got lots of takeaways/meals out, bought icecreams every day, had a few day trips to local attractions, gave each other lie-ins etc and it was lovely. DCs really enjoyed it and so did we because we had everything we needed and we didn't worry about spending money because we hadn't spent anything on travelling/accommodation. He's doing the same thing again in August and I'm really looking forward to it - all the comforts of home but just with a few treats and less stress. It's the only thing that works with small children IMO.

I didn't take my kid on a beach holiday abroad until they were about 10, at that age they were happy to go to the kids clubs and swim without me being in the pool, they made friends and had a great time, i always went all inclusive when they were that age, they could get their own drinks and ice creams. Some of the hotels where my idea of hell to be honest but as long as i got to sit in the sun and read a book for a part of the day it was nice. Before that we always got a cottage with friends who had children the same sort of ages, that way the parents could have the odd night off and the kids could be in bed at a reasonable time.

kerala Wed 10-Jul-13 11:13:54

With you on the houseswap especially with other families with kids. We had beach hol in Sardinia last year 2 weeks high season with car for £600 ie cost of flights. Also you get to properly live in the place rather than closeted in hotel or holiday villa. Our girls (6 and 4) often talk about the trip we swapping again this year to southern Italy by the sea cannot wait!

kerala Wed 10-Jul-13 11:15:34

Totally agree with callin when they are tiny no point going abroad IMO. We did our first overseas swap when they 3 and 5

curryeater Wed 10-Jul-13 11:19:21

Do you have to have a vair posh house to house swap?
Does it have to be in a trendy desirable place

2rebecca Wed 10-Jul-13 11:20:58

Another fan of Eurocamp/Canvas type holidays. The kids enjoyed the kids groups during the day and we took it in turns to go cycling/ walking explore the area. We also had some nonkids' club days when they didn't famcy the activities and we hired bikes and cycled round the area.
When the kids were babies and toddlers (above is primary school age where they can already swim and cycle) we just hired a cottage somewhere and didn't have as many holidays. Again often one of us often did something interesting whilst the other babysat and did stuff by the pool/ sea. We'd have gone mad if we both had to play with inflatables in the pool or make sand castles.

GinAndaDashOfLime Wed 10-Jul-13 11:20:58

Go with eurocamp and send them to the kids clubs when you need a day off! They love them! (My dc's same age as yours)

Wiifitmama Wed 10-Jul-13 11:31:08

I agree with what most other people have said. Holidays abroad are somewhat pointless when they are very little unless you are wealthy and take a nanny or go to a place with all inclusive childcare.

Mine are now 12, 9 and 5 and I wold probably not go abroad for another year until the littlest is 6. Abroad holidays in the past that worked involved staying with family in Florida with pool. Austrian Kinderhotels (inthe days of more money!) with all inclusive childcare.

Mostly now we stay in the Uk. We take the train which is lovely and stress free. We rent a holiday home near a beach. We take things easy. Same rules as at home so bad behaviour not tolerated. The kids understand that holidays are for all of us and there has to be give and take.

I clearly remember holidays when I was a child from the age of about 10 where my parents mostly say around and sunbathed. We just read books and relaxed with them. I think once the kids are old enough, this is what we will do. My oldest are old enough for this now but not the youngest.

If you ask my kids what they have enjoyed most about the last holiday we went on (last month to Hastings) it is the simple things. Throwing pebbles into the sea, having ice cream, playing crazy golf. You don't need to go far to do these things.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 11:31:14

I don't accept that holidays with children are crap. They are very different to holidays without kids, that is all.

We ditch bedtimes, they have a nap in the afternoon. We take them to see things, rather than necessarily doing child-focused things all the time.

We don't self-cater though, only when we go to my parents holiday home. 3 days in an expensive hotel which is geared up for children at mealtimes is ten times more relaxing than a week in a cottage/villa where you are trying to self-cater but you haven't got all your usual equipment and resources.

freddiefrog Wed 10-Jul-13 11:34:36

Sounds like most of our family holidays to be honest. I'm holding on to the fact that in a few more years DH and I can leave them all behindnwih a takeaway menu and sod off by ourselves. Just once will do grin

We go camping. I hate it. I hate carting most of the contents of our house half way across the country to live in a tent for a week. I still end up cooking and nagging the kids to wash occasionally. I hate sand and beaches unless I can drape myself across a sun lounger with a good book, I hate all the daddy longlegs-wasp-ness of it all. Did I mention how much I hate camping?

But actually, when we get there and all set up and I'm having a nice glass of wine in my camping chair until it rains I do quite enjoy it.

Saying that, I have put my foot down and just booked a week abroad next year, pools, kids clubs, baby sitters, nice restaurants, and no hike to the loo at 3am - I figured that it was about time I chose the family holiday

kerala Wed 10-Jul-13 11:36:57

Looked into eurocamp seemed extortionate in high season. Also dh refuses to camp (mutters about refugee camps and proximity to other people's children) so that is out for us. Love house swaps though our swap in Spain had private pool (smug). Our house is quite nice and we live in a beautiful city that Italians seem keen to visit. They like to visit England in August to escape the heat which we love as long as you have beach or pool to cool down in us manageable for us.

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 11:39:49

We've done all sorts of holidays with our dc: cottage, hotel, staying with family, even long distance travel by train- we've enjoyed them all.

The trick is not to go overboard on pleasing only some members of the family (=dc) as this is bound to breed resentment and you will feel disappointed if they are not grateful little angels throughout.

Instead, we try to make sure that there is some time doing things that the dc would have chosen, some time for mum to choose and some time for dad: and while it is your turn the others just have to put up with it (or sulk if they prefer that).

So a family holiday with the corydoras would typically be a mix of beach, medieval cathedrals, woods, art galleries, restaurants, shops and just wandering around aimlessly. The adults would put in extra work to make their choices interesting to the younger ones- but we wouldn't necessarily have expectations on them to be interested.

tbh I would not however expect a family holiday to include much time for just dh and me- that has to come during the rest of the year (or in a separate holiday for just the two of us).

My rule in life is to try to avoid things that I will resent afterwards- and that would include a whole holiday that is only for the benefit of dc.

Another rule is to be flexible about what you consider a success: sometimes the hardship can be what really binds you together and makes good memories. A holiday where it rained all the time and the roof leaked doesn't have to be a bad holiday.

Oh Christ no, YANBU. Holidays with kids aren't holidays, simple as that. Especially beach holidays - it's basically just packing and unpacking sandy bags for a week, isn't it? I can't say I enjoy holidays with them but I do it for them, knowing that I'm making memories for them memories of mummy getting stressed, mainly I tend to see the day part as something to be coped with and then see the evening part as my time. Wine also really, really helps.

Branleuse Wed 10-Jul-13 11:56:36

many of the eurocamp sites have 2 free kids clubs a day of 2 hours each, where you can leave your kids and they do cool stuff like tshirt making and circus skills

we only discovered this this year and omg, 4 hours a day of respite, made it a holiday for US as well as them

BerkshireMum Wed 10-Jul-13 11:56:52

Manage your expectations! Mine are now older (9 and 11) and they know it's my holiday too. We all compromise. We self cater in Cornwall and have been for eight years. They have to load and unload the dishwasher, help set and clear the able and pack / unpack picnic lunches. I plan meals in advance - might not sound like fun for a holiday but it makes it loads easier - and base it on food that everyone will eat and what DH and DC can help to prepare. More pizza and burgers than I'd usually permit!

They are allowed to stay up later in the evening as long as they are playing somewhere or reading whilst DH and I enjoy a drink, read or do a jigsaw - no TV or screens allowed except on the long car journeys and at 10pm for 30 minutes for the news! Cuts out the bedtime moans and evenings spoiled by whining and it also means they sleep in after a couple of later nights. We often walk up to the pub for a drink or eat out - pizza or basic bbq on the beach which they love.

Surf schools are my lifeline - 2.5 hours of physical activity where my are totally free of responsibility for them. Lessons at noon give me and DH chance for a lazy lunch or snooze.

Jinty64 Wed 10-Jul-13 12:00:48

I have three ds's two of whom have ADHD. we have tried various holidays, some more successful than others. Camping was a disaster and we have never been abroad.

I now take the boys (without dh) to a caravan park an hours drive from home. It is on the beach and has entertainment and lots to do on site. I take i pods, ds's etc and it works out fine. Dh, however, couldn't stand it. He visits a couple of days whilst we are there and takes them fishing etc. it works for us.

Kat101 Wed 10-Jul-13 12:10:31

I have found that taking grandparents was a red herring. They never helped with child care, wanted the best bits of the kids and their own time too leaving me with all the sled catering chores and fuck all else. A rainy week in the south west finished me and we're going abroad next year to apartments specifically for toddlers and making life easier for parents. Minus the grandparents. Tripadvisor is your friend.

Kat101 Wed 10-Jul-13 12:11:22

*self catering not sled catering

aldiwhore Wed 10-Jul-13 12:15:15

Our holidays used to be just like that, until last year where we split the days up into smaller chunks, we had a lovely time in May... I was astounded.

We also bought a load of 'stuff to do during downtime' from a crappy outlet village, and also sent the boys to bed early but with my laptop playing a film.

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 12:19:54


we have had loads of trips with our dc all over the world since they were tiny and they have been brilliant.

the way we do it is to a) see it as a chance to all spend time together and yes, of course, it has to be extremely child-focussed, BUT what we do is choose where we want to go and what we want to do and then adapt. So we would drive a Winnebago around the States, camp at campgrounds with bonfires (and other kids around) so we could sit and drink Margaritas, or when we drove down the Keys, go to all the seal parks n stuff and the beach and whatever else there was to do.

I don't think kids mind what they do as long as you make it fun.

Another eg, we went to a garden festival in France every year and went round the 20 gardens scoring them out of ten to choose a winner. They BEGGED to go to that festival after that for years.

It's about attitude innit? Enjoy your kids and doing stuff together.

That sounds very preachy and arse buggery, but I can't imagine hating and wasting holidays...

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 12:27:22

I also don't understand the "no point in going abroad when they are young" thing

whyever not?

I'd much rather do childcare in a sunny and interesting place with new things to look at and do. And they start learning about difference and the wide world from a really young age. They eat the food, see other people, get used to travelling, get flexible, they imbibe without even knowing it that the world is a large and exciting place and everyone is different.

thebody Wed 10-Jul-13 12:27:24

Sorry had to re read your post. Y

your kids are 4 and 7 and they spoiled your family holiday?

Also this is the first time you have all been away together?

Haven't read the whole thread but don't actually understand the above.

Think you should stop reading celeb magazines and pics of them and their children( leaving out the nanny)

froubylou Wed 10-Jul-13 12:28:19

I have always loved my holidays with DD. Who is now 9 and we've been going abroad for cheapy beach holidays since she was 2.

I find splitting the days up a lot helps. And I also refuse to cook anything other than the odd slice of toast or maybe a pizza.

In the morning its choose time. Beach or pool. Late afteroon its a long walk and maybe a late lunch somewhere. Back to the room for a siesta about 5pm, up at 7pm and out for tea at about 8pmish.

With regards to cost, cheap AI is better if you have a couple of kids I think. You can eat out at night a couple of time if you want, usually using the money we have saved on icecreams/drinks/snacks during the day.

If its a day on the beach we buy sandwhiches from the local spa shop or whatever and crisps. If we are having a pool day I buy big bottles of pop/water and keep a couple in the fridge in the room and probably have the sandwhiches or maybe a pizza or salad in the room.

We may do 1 day in a waterpark (hell!!) to keep DD happy but the rest of the time we mooch, chill and potter.

I always take pens, paper and maybe a doll or similar out with us in the evening to keep DD occupied, and the last year or 2 its been her DS or games on my phone.

thebody Wed 10-Jul-13 12:30:12

You can make your kids a burden or you can enjoy them. Unless they have difficult special needs then its your call.

I would give my right arm for mine to be 7 and 4 again.

Sorry to he preachy or patronising but you do realise this is probably your easiest ages with them until they are grown up don't you.

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Wed 10-Jul-13 12:31:45

We "holidayed" with the children in April and went to a Haven place in Somerset. I was surprised by how much DH & I enjoyed it. We expected it to be hell on Earth with bickering kids and dull as shite activities. In the end, we had a ball, probably because our expectations were so low!

I wouldn't do a 'proper' holiday while the kids are so young. Hotels are a PITA with Smalls in tow, sightseeing is boring for little kids. We'll stick to Haven and the like until they're old enough to not be totally intolerable on a real holiday abroad!

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Jul-13 12:33:21

Yanbu!! Family holidays don't compare favourably to the ones you had as a couple!!

Have been on two now. DC are 2 and 4. We recently went away for two weeks- first time as a foursome. We had taken our oldest before youngest was born.

We did use hotel nanny and kids club facilities which helped. DC were well behaved mostly which helped too.

However, its exhausting. I ended up diving and snorkelling while DC were with nanny at kids club (hotel nanny not ours). And out at restaurants at night. So I basically didn't sit down for the whole two weeks.

It's my own fault. I should have sat down and read books while DC were being looked after but I didn't want to "waste" the only free time I have had in 4 years so I hooned around like a mad thing.

And all the packing unpacking. The stressful flapping around at airports etc etc.

And making sure DC didn't drown themselves in pools or the sea. And the effing 30 hour delay with Easyjet on return and bring sat on plane on the stand for over 5 hours with wailing toddlers and no food. Nightmare!!!! That was self inflicted as we chose to fly easyjet.

My oldest DCs only comment about the holiday was that she'd like to go again but not ever with the orange plane (easyjet you've lost a customer there).

OP. seriously you are not being ungrateful. Family holidays are stressful mega expensive and if you are over the age of 16, a bit shit really.

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 12:33:51

sightseeing isn't boring.

There are towers to climb and castles to scale, piazzas to runa round in and eat ice cream, fountains to splash in etc.

You just have to see it through their eyes

Perihelion Wed 10-Jul-13 12:36:52

A purely sandy beach is dull, rock pools, nets and buckets are needed for children. Also wetsuits for everyone especially in the UK. It means that the kids can stay in the water for longer and rain doesn't mean no beach fun. Totally agree about going with friends. But I limit my drinking so I can function in the mornings.

Sirzy Wed 10-Jul-13 12:38:24

I don't accept that holidays with children are crap. They are very different to holidays without kids, that is all.


You have to be realistic in your expectations but holidays with children can be great fun!

justmyview Wed 10-Jul-13 12:41:53

and most things we did were pretty boring for us as they were child focused this leapt out at me from OP. We've had brilliant family holidays and I'm surprised how many people here have had negative experiences.

We go self-catering. Dishwasher is a deal breaker for me. We order food from Sainsburys and have it delivered directly to the holiday house, so we're not carting it around. Mostly, we eat pizzas, ready meals & food from a disposable BBQ at night, or sandwiches if we've been out for lunch (not very exciting, but we have more varied food at home and it's difficult cooking in a strange kitchen). We have more crisps & treats than at home, to make mealtimes feel a bit more of a treat

We have done some UK home exchanges, via an agency. All very successful. No, you don't have to live in a mansion. No, you don't have to live in a popular tourist destination (I guess it helps if you do, but people have all sorts of reasons for wanting to visit all sorts of places). You tend to get a larger house than you'd be willing to pay for if you were paying for self-catering, plus the kitchen and DVD shelves are likely to be better equipped

I think activities for the whole holiday shouldn't revolve around the children. We visit ruined castles, parks, a bit of shopping, walks on the beach.

ImperialBlether Wed 10-Jul-13 12:42:42

EuroCamp holidays in France are good with children that age. They have the freedom to run around with their new friends all day (it made me realise how little freedom they had at home) and you can relax or take them to nearby towns or to the beach. If you take their bikes with you, you won't see them for hours on end.

Nornironmum Wed 10-Jul-13 12:42:50

I love our family holidays. We hire a villa, so lots of room, when dc go to bed, we can sit out. Doc are 3 and 6. They love the pool and beach, bad are both very good on holiday. We take ds and iPad and we can have nice meals out, and they generally behave very well. Have been taking them away from 6 weeks old, so maybe they are used to it.

KellyElly Wed 10-Jul-13 12:42:55

I always find kids clubs are great on hotel holidays abroad. They can have fun for a couple of hours while you get to relax/sunbathe/read and then have some family time in the afternoon followed by a siesta and then dinner together. I'm a single parent and DD is nearly four and I'd probably even have a holiday with her on my own and enjoy it. It is different than holidays pre children and not as relaxing but still a break from work, cooking and cleaning smile

sweetestcup Wed 10-Jul-13 12:44:40

Of course you are not selfish and an awful parent! But maybe Im really odd as I dont find family holiday stressful or awful at all, in fact the complete opposite, I love them. My kids are 20, 11 and 5, the eldest last came when he was 16. We have been driving to France from Glasgow every year now since the youngest was born, we hire a cottage in the middle of no-where with its own pool and we love it. Before that we have enjoyed many many beach type package holidays with the other 2, which were fine but I much prefer France!

I dont mind cooking on holiday in the slightest as we get to sit outside in glorious sunshine looking at the scenery whilst eating dinner and drinking lots of wine, lunch tends to be picnics etc. We drive about to local towns and shops and plan a few identified trips to things the boys would like. Other than that its just relaxing at the cottage. It probably helps though I have a very hands-on DH who happily plays stupid games with them for hours, leaving me time to relax and enjoy my book and more wine. smile

This year we are different, like chops we are touring California and staying in hotels, looking forward to it big time of course as its our "dream" holiday, but slightly apprehensive about staying in so many hotels and eating out so much as we are not used to it. But we will try and make it relaxing in amongst all the sightseeing! DS2 whos 11 has already planned lots of stuff he has looked up he wants to see e.g. The Golden Gate Bridge, DS3 cant get his head around we wil be sharing pools and keeps thinking we will be taking all the inflatables for the pool we normally take!

No great tips apart from going at a slower pace than home and not worrying about routines etc.

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 12:47:15

Maybe it depends on your idea of a holiday

I don't like sitting by a pool or on a beach for more than half an hour, I like to be seeing and doing. Maybe that's why I enjoy family holidays more. If anything it's me and dh dragging them about to do stuff.

thebody Wed 10-Jul-13 12:51:00

Of course you don't need wet suits in the uk.

Get a massive fucking grip here. I have 4 and we never needed them, the sea is cold so bloody what just get in and swim/ splash/ play ball.

In a beach in Britain, you need cricket set, nets, rock pools, buckets and spades.

Did sea defences and wait till the rude comes in and try to shore up the defence. Sand castle competitions, bat and ball.

Go to nearby pub for lunch or pack huge picnic.

Kids will be begging for bed by 8 and crack open the wine.

Who wants a boring couples holiday when you can relive your own childhood through your kids.????

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 12:51:43

Sightseeing is not boring for children, not if you think about how to involve them.

Hotels are a PITA with smalls - really, in what way? What's not to like? You just have to turn up for meals, no prep or clearing up. When you get back from breakfast someone has tidied up and cleaned the bathroom.

We took our two - 2 and 4 - away for a long weekend earlier in the year. We spent 3 days traipsing round castles, we stayed in a Premier Inn. The kids had a great time, and it has really fuelled their imaginations. DH and I enjoyed not having to cook, as well as the places we visited.

If you want to go and sit on a beach and pretend you haven't got children, then of course you are going to have a shit time.

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 12:53:17

<links arms with thebody and alibaba and enjoys family holidays>

CinnamonAddict Wed 10-Jul-13 12:53:39

I only ever had one really crappy holiday and that was when dc1&2 were 1 and 3, I took them on my own to the seaside for a week and on the second night they both came down with a d&v bug. On day four we drove home.

We have been to Greece with a 1 and 3 yo (driving down there in our own car, believe it or not), it was a a fantastic holiday, we stopped on the way in Vienna, on the way back in Germany. We are hoping to go again next year.

I don't get why a holiday with a 4 and 7yo has to be hellish. Why any holiday has to be hellish. Not every single day of it.
With toddlers I see the problem of routines being changed and unfamiliar places etc. But at your dc's age we were going abroad and doing camping, hotels, self-catering and they loved it.

Look at your expectations, but I'd say a stroll down the beach in a bikini with a 4 and 7yo should not be a problem.

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 12:54:12

yy, kids LOVE hotels, they can run all over them and go up and down in the lift while you eat dinner and pretend you don't know whose kids they are.

Pootles2010 Wed 10-Jul-13 12:57:36

Oh we went on our first last month, blimmin loved it! To be fair, we only have one, but he's 2 so still quite hard work. We went with Eurocamp, so lots to do - we had a little (fake, so quite safe) beach just outside the tent, which kept him happy for hours, and me too tbh!

They had a nice pool, and activities like learn to ride a bike, learn to swim, so he was happy, and so were we! Although tbf we got evenings to relax, as he was so knackered he was out like a light every evening, so we sat out on our little terrace drinking wine - bliss.

Kat101 Wed 10-Jul-13 12:59:17

I am deeply in awe of any parent that can make a success of a premier inn stay with young children. Our 1 year old was so excited by somewhere different that he didn't collapse asleep in his cot til 9.30pm and then was up at 5am. Thus waking the older kids up. Then we had to try and keep them going all in the hotel room box til breakfast started. We were out by 8am each morning. It was exhaustion hell.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 13:00:04

Hully I don't know what you mean. Mine are always in a neat little line behind me.


Seriously though this thread is a bit depressing. My parents loved taking us on holiday when we were young, and we had some really fabulous times.
I'll accept that not being on a shoestring so that you can spend a bit of money to grease the wheels helps, but it isn't the be all and end all.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 13:04:56

Kat101 - ours were so excited they didn't go to sleep until 11pm. Cbeebies on waking, a bit of iPad and drawing while we all got dressed. Breakfast. Back to the room, teeth and pack the bags and out. They both slept in the car on the way to and from wherever we were going that day, so they were fine for dinner at 7pm.

We took activity books to keep them amused between courses at dinner.

You can't have the same timings and routine that you would at home, it doesn't work. We go away pretty regularly to stay with family and friends so ours are used to being away from home.

SoupDragon Wed 10-Jul-13 13:06:35

My parents loved taking us on holiday when we were young, and we had some really fabulous times

Are you sure though? Having become a mother myself, I do wonder what my mum really thought of our self catering holidays in Cornwall. In my mind they were fabulous and we all had a wonderful time but I do now wonder. If they had had the chance to complain somewhere "safe" like mumsnet, would they have said the same things as we do? Or, have we become more self centred as a generation and are less able to, I don't know, put our own needs aside somewhat?

I do enjoy taking my children on holiday but I think the enjoyment mostly comes from watching them have a good time than any real kind of holiday on my part. As I said earlier, it's getting better as they get older and are more independent.

thestringcheesemassacre Wed 10-Jul-13 13:06:45

Take them somewhere with a pool. Last year on our hols the kids were in the pool from 9-1 3-6 every day. They loved it. We like a hot holiday though and not loads of sightseeing. This will probably change as they get older.

This makes me feel better that we aren't going on holiday and haven't had a holiday since 2009!

At least when we visit my parents, DH and I can have at least one night out alone and we have babysitters on tap!

massistar Wed 10-Jul-13 13:10:23

I find this thread really sad, what a lot of old misery guts :-(

I absolutely love our family holidays. No stresses of getting up for work or school. No rushing around trying to do all the day to day stuff.

We've done beach/pool fortnights and love the rhythm of late nights, late mornings, dozing at siesta time, icecreams, eating out etc. Ok, so I don't take 5 books with me any more and am lucky to get through one but hey ho.

We've done long weekends to cities like Rome with them and go skiing with them and they cope with it all amazingly and love eating out at restaurants and experiencing new things.

Stop being resentful that it isn't like it was pre-kids and enjoy what it's like now!

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 13:13:05

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 12:19:54

"I don't think kids mind what they do as long as you make it fun."


Some of my best holiday memories from my own childhood include:

visiting Dr Johnson's room- I wasn't very well up on Dr Johnson as an 8yo but my mother who was a big fan managed to convey a sense of occasion

buying a postcard in a foreign language! (at Winchester Great Hall)

checking out the marzipan displays in the shop windows of Lubeck (couldn't really afford to buy anything)

seeing lemon trees for the first time

travelling on a train where people were cooking in the corridor and somebody brought on a live sheep

walking along Hadrian's wall in the pouring rain

my first taste of water melon on a balcony in Greece

wonderingsoul Wed 10-Jul-13 13:13:20

i went away with a friend and her two kids on out first proper hoilday.

it was stressfull, fun but alot of hard work.

i said this to my dad and his reply was

" its not a holiday for you, its for the kids"

which is true, you will never have a stress free hoilday when you have youn children, they will be excited, over stimulated. want to do every thing right and they want to do it now. its what kids do.

i found if i went in knowing this and not expecting it to be chilled i had a much better time, lower your expectations and look forward to booking a hoilday just for adult when they reach 16 wink

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 13:16:27

The other advantage of holidaying with kids is that you can do stuff and go places that you can't as just adults without people looking at you funny...

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 13:18:20

cory - we took the kids to see all of Ludwig's castles and follies in Bavaria. We stayed on a farm so they could hang with animals and took them to all the castles, imagine the excitement at going to the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang castle. I don't think we ever told them the real name.

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 13:18:55

And we did the Ludwig thing because I had a temporary obsession with him, so we did what I wanted but made it fun for them.

win win

DontmindifIdo Wed 10-Jul-13 13:19:23

I do think the problem is you seemed to have an idea of what an adult holiday to the beach in England would be like, rather than planned a child holiday.

We have done beach in UK (self catering, same work as at home so stop expecting it not to be), DS loved it, although he didn't freak out at being sandy or wet, so perhaps it was that your DCs are suited to a beach holiday.

We've also done hotel holiday overseas, that I planned DS to be in a kids club, planned a DC friendly hotel. I'm happy to sit by a pool with a pile of books every morning while DS was in kids club, and send DH off to ride bikes up hills (he's odd and has too much energy). We'd all have lunch together and then DS and DH would spend each afternoon playing in the sea while I waved now and then from the beach. Then all go back up to the hotel room, shower, change, go for dinner, then settle DS down and then crack open a bottle of wine on the balcony. If you don't like that sort of holiday, then that's not for you either (kids clubs tend to insist on you being on the resort while the DCs are in there, so even though it was half day 'child free' holiday, we still couldn't do adult sight seeing holiday unless we took DS with us, and I assumed he'd whinge so didn't bother with that).

If you have a £2k budget, I'd suggest you go somewhere hot with a kids club and all inclusive next year, at least you'll know in advance your outlay and can just relax for a week.

wonderingsoul Wed 10-Jul-13 13:19:35

*hully gully*- you are so right.

having children gives you free range to go on soft play areas.. bouncy castle.. have your face painted. with out people point and wispering about you.

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 13:19:59

I think there is probably a split on this thread between the people who feel a holiday is a break in the sense of adventure/doing something different/new challenges and the people who feel a holiday is sitting down and being left in peace.

My parents were definitely the type who needed adventure to recharge their batteries: in fact, they still do, in their eighties (went inter-railing all over Europe last year at the age of 81). I am more or less the same type myself.

I am actually going to have a stay-at-home-and-do-nothing holiday this summer, but this is because I am not well and have been very run down; it's definitely not what I would have chosen to perk me up if my insides weren't falling out For me, sitting undisturbed in a deck chair for a week is not really a healthy or happy thing to do.

Maybe that is why some people call it "holly-bobs" or something equally stupid, because they are not actually holidays....

Kat101 Wed 10-Jul-13 13:20:30

Massistar it probably depends on your kids too. My toddler has a huge rage if we're not out and about by 8. It is just not possible to have a lazy morning when your 1yo is screaming and you know your disturbing the next door apartment/ room.

quesadilla Wed 10-Jul-13 13:21:34

Haven't really done this yet as my dd is too young but I would warn anyone against doing what my dad did to us as kids which was basically to over schedule with ludicrously unrealistic sightseeing trips. When my sister and I were about 9 and 6 on a holiday in Greece he forced us into a Fiay 125 (a car barely bigger than a pushchair) to do a 700 mile round trip to look at some ancient ruins.

Think he thought we would appreciate it when older but actually I have never forgiven him for that.

2rebecca Wed 10-Jul-13 13:21:52

I disagree that primary school age is the easiest. Mine are now teenagers and I have found holidays with them get easier the older they get as they're both fairly active so now happy to do walking/ cycling/ snorkling/ visiting old ruins/ cycling round nice pubs in bruges/ eating different food/ visiting vineyards/ museums/ trekking in Iceland/ snowboarding/ going to concerts.
The beach obsession age was harder for us.

TartyMcTart Wed 10-Jul-13 13:23:09

Come on you lot! Do you know what (most of) you sound like?!

I absolutely love out family holidays and always have done. We’re heading to Norfolk for two weeks camping in August and I absolutely cannot wait! We’re going with friends too (first time though!) and I just can’t see how we won’t all have a fab time. Yes, we’ll spend most of the time with the kids, doing kids stuff but hey, doesn’t that come with the territory when you have kids?

I’m not one of these parents who never leave my kids side but spending two whole weeks with them and OH doing things completely different from at home can only be a good thing. Pottering round at any old time, eating out, drinking in the day, not answering to anyone… Fab!!!

I find it really sad that so many of you hate going on family holidays. What do you actually want from your holiday then bearing in mind your kids will no doubt be there too?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 13:23:31

Soup very sure smile We are going away with them in a couple of weeks, huge excitement all round.

We used to self-cater a lot, they liked to be in the middle of nowhere! We would eat out one night, bbq in the gitê the next, so there was much less cooking etc than normal.

She (and Dad) loved showing us new places and teaching us new things, but they were nearly always things that they wanted to see as well.

Camper-vanning, now that is a FAB holiday with kids! (Once you have learnt how to....)

theoriginalandbestrookie Wed 10-Jul-13 13:26:33

Lots of great suggestions here.

We have done NCT house swaps when DS was younger and found them very good. House doesn't necessarily have to be in a desirable area, we have been to a couple of not so glamorous locations to visit friends.

It is a pita cleaning the house to the standard that you would happily have strangers everywhere and our less successful swaps have involved demanding nocturnal swaps and a family who left their grown up son in the house for 2 nights ( actually that was the same one). But it is free, which helps to manage expectations enormously and means that you can justify splashing out on activities and nice food.

Also been away with friends, that has worked well, with DCs entertaining themselves and lots of wine being drunk in the evening . Be sure though that each family has separate cars and that you plan to do different things sometimes - we have been away with one family and shared a car and that was less successful.

Oh and I find that on UK holidays we tend to spend more in the daytime than we would abroad. If you have a nice pool, other children there and it's warm then there is little incentive to go and do anything else and food is usually bbqs, but in UK then lots of time spent wandering round going to tea shops to keep warm ( tea and cakes always ludicrously expensive) and buying DS tat to stop him whinging.

expatinscotland Wed 10-Jul-13 13:26:35

You need to drink more gin on holiday.

theoriginalandbestrookie Wed 10-Jul-13 13:29:15

Oh another tip - do not share a bedroom with your DC unless you absolutely have to.

We tend to do s/c or an apartment on a complex so we aren't in the same bedroom. I find it hideously unrelaxing to be all cramped in the same room and it makes <ahem> adult pursuits practically impossible.

CaptainSweatPants Wed 10-Jul-13 13:32:30

We loved staying in hotels when we were young
Parents in one room, us 3 kids in another
They're was a games room with a space invader machine grin
played endless pool in the games room too

Exhaustipated Wed 10-Jul-13 13:32:41

I agree with the poster who said grandparents are they key. And/or Aunties, friends, any spare adults really. We only do big extended family/friends holidays, then you really do get to have some breaks as well as time together. I can see nuclear family holidays being hard work when kids are young.

Wiifitmama Wed 10-Jul-13 13:35:08

Cory - what you say ties in really well with the recent discussion on here about introvert/extrovert. An introvert gets their energy and recharges by being alone. So they would probably want the kind of holiday where you can just sit around on a beach, pool etc and relax. Very hard to do with young kids. An extrovert likes the interaction and gets energised though that. My idea of hell is sitting quietly so I enjoy family holidays where we get out and about, sightsee, go for walks together etc. easier with young kids.

motherinferior Wed 10-Jul-13 13:36:58

I usually find myself hating DP quite a lot halfway through a holiday. The kids are OK though.

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 13:37:57

Oh, I always thought I was an introvert, Wiifitmamma. As in not requiring to socialise with lots of new people all the time. Just the four of us and a few adventures thrown in suits me fine. I have also been very happy holidaying on my own- as long as I get to be active and see things.

But a drinking holiday with girlie friends would be my idea of absolute hell.

thebody Wed 10-Jul-13 13:46:27

But why do you 'need a break' from your kids?

Ffs most families struggle to spend time together as a unit most of the year.

Family holidays are bloody ace, it doesn't matter if its a caravan in Wales or a 5 star in Cyorus. It's what you bring to it that matters.

I have great memories of me and dh reading Harry potter and goblet of fire to our now grown lads while cuddling dd3 and bf dd4.

Store up happy holiday for your kids. They won't want to holiday with you for always. Those bucket and spade days go so fast and your kids will remember you either a sour faced bugger who actually doesn't 'do' the family holiday or a mad bugger building castles and splashing then in the sea.

Their memories are your choice.

Fillybuster Wed 10-Jul-13 13:47:05

I love our family holidays (3dcs, aged 3, 5 and 8) and am on total countdown until we go away at the end of the month...

But you do need to 'manage' your expectations. Not so much revise downwards, as just know what reality will look like.

So, for me, that means I prefer to be self-catering, rather than in a hotel, not because my dcs won't behave (they will) but because we enjoy slow mornings and breakfast in pjs; self-catering means we have the option to take picnic lunches to keep costs down, and (best of all) means I can give the kids a light, quick, easy supper (grilled fish, omelette, pasta...) that I know they will enjoy, after a quick bath (and back in their pjs!) after a long, tiring day on the beath or sight-seeing.

Yes, it means I have to do all the 'heavy lifting' on the cooking front, but it leads to a generally happier, easier (and more relaxed) life all round.

In the same way, we will fill our days with a mixture of beach visits, local town (mooching), some proper trips out to the local area...but the dcs know we're all on holiday (not just them) and dh and I get a say in what we do, too.

To be fair, we'll never be 'left alone' on the beach but dh and I will take it in turns to build sandcastles, collect shells, go swimming in the sea, and the other one will lie back and enjoy 30 mins quiet time....

But back to expectations for one moment: I started enjoying family holidays so much more once I decided that what I wanted to get out of the holiday was lots of time with my dcs, rather than escaping from them.....(although that could also be good....hmm )....but by resetting my aims, I suddenly found I could have a lot more fun.

If it doesn't work for you, though, OP, then save your money and just don't do it smile

thebody Wed 10-Jul-13 13:49:29

Cory, totally agree re girls holiday/ lads holiday.

Past age of inbetweeners just a bit blah!

TSSDNCOP Wed 10-Jul-13 14:02:18

I love family holidays, but you fist have to accept that holidays with kids are very, very different to holidays with friends or as a couple.

We always go to a hotel where I know there will be heaps of kids and all the entertainment certainly during the day is geared toward the kids. There's loads of gun to be had chatting with the mums in the kids pool whilst you sip a fully loaded cool drink.

I also take toys from home. Lego, Thomas trains, Playmobil are like honey to kids. DS always has loads of fun and once the kids have connected over these toys they'll play for hours. It's worth sacrificing luggage space for the benefits these bring.

Finally YY to dumping bedtime and immediately move to holiday time. Late dinners, late bedtimes and long lay ins.

4 more sleeps for me!

holidaysarenice Wed 10-Jul-13 14:07:06

Take your mum (if you like her!!)

She'll give you peace with your husband, she'll help you when you dh is away, and she'll come with you to explore when dh has the kids!!

I love my mum!!

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 10-Jul-13 14:07:41

Totally agree with thebody about building memories. We still talk about our holidays with DCs.

My personal tips:

- slow down
- the only thing you have to try to aim for is that everyone has had enough to eat and drink
- getting dressed is optional

lemonmuffin Wed 10-Jul-13 14:08:30

Good post 'thebody'

I can be a miserable cow on holiday,trudging round themeparks and pining after previous debauched holidays in Ibiza. I am definitely going to readjust my expectations this year, particularly as DP's parents are coming with us.

I do like Expat's suggestion of gin though, I think that might help!

MaryPoppinsBag Wed 10-Jul-13 14:13:17

YANBU if you didn't enjoy your holiday.

But I loved our family holiday this year. We had a week in a caravan in Devon. Two DS's 7 & 4.

I said to DH half way through that it had been the easiest holiday for a long time. DS2 just seemed more easy going, we had no pushchair and extra paraphernalia to take.

The weather was nice, the kids played nicely, we were able to go to the beach and I was able to relax as DS2 has calmed down a lot.

We took them to the adventure playground every night where they made friends and played Nicely whilst we enjoyed a beer and a chat.

We go to the same area every year which I'm sure helps the kids feel settled and we know where everything is. I've been going to the same campsite since I was 5 so it feels like home. Which I'm sure adds to the relaxing nature of our holidays.

Looking forward to our October half term holiday now. Which I always enjoy too.

I agree it's largely about expectations.

Last year we took our twins to Cornwall at about 9mo. It was a gorgeous hotel we'd been to pre-children, and we knew it was 'child friendly' and familiar territory so thought it would be a good choice. Actaully it was quite hard because we were sort of reminded all the time of the stuff we couldn't do with two babies and it was hard not to compare it to previous holidays with trips the chance to go surfing and drink cider in the afternoons. Also the weather wasn't too great, although we did have some lovely evening meals with the baby monitor on, so shoot me now.

This year we went to a similarly child friendly hotel abroad, and although it was much harder in some ways in terms of the kids needing much more entertainment, it was also much better because it was they type of holiday we have never done before - all about the hotel, stayed there virtually all week, mooching between pool, beach and cafe. Lovely. Also the baby-related jobs had shifted from mixing feeds and washing bottles, which obviously we still had to do in the hotel room last year, to clearing up fish fingers in the restaurant, which the staff and feral cats were very happy to do. Would go back in a heart beat.

motherinferior Wed 10-Jul-13 14:15:40

My memories of family holidays are unremittingly horrible. Especially the year my father drove us all to what was then Yugoslavia. I expect I'm supposed to remember it goldenly. I was bored, homesick, bored, bored bored.

And now, as an adult, my children are bored by what I want to do. Maybe you have lovely informed offspring who enjoy looking round cathedrals - or a way of Making Cathedrals Fun. I don't. I do quite enjoy holidays but I would enjoy them even more, I suspect, all on my own.

MaryPoppinsBag Wed 10-Jul-13 14:18:12

Yes I agree take toys from home.
Whilst we are there We also visit a toy shop in a nearby seaside town - a big treat and hours of new fun.

We also take it really easy and get up and dressed when we want to. Most attractions can be done in and afternoon.

Bed times are later because they are on holiday.

We alternate lie ins, but I naturally wake up earlier/ can't get back to sleep so just accept now that I get less.


Don't sweat the small stuff.

dirtyface Wed 10-Jul-13 14:18:59

wow thanks for all the replies!

am glad i am not the only one who feels like this blush

also agree with the people who did think i was being U .... as i know i am really!

agree that it will go really quick them being this little and soon they wont want to be seen with us let alone come on holiday

also agree its about making memories for the dcs. as it was mostly DH i took my irritation out on, (i tended to grit my teeth and put on a smile for them) hopefully they will remember it as a fab holiday

i had brilliant holidays as a child. but its made me wonder how much fun my poor old mum and dad had bless em grin

Arcticwaffle Wed 10-Jul-13 14:19:40

When my dc were small holidays were basically childcare without all the conveniences and safety measures we had at home. It was a huge disappointment to me, before children holidays had been a highlight of life.
Now my dc are a bit older (tweenie age) holidays are not as dire as when we had 3 under 5, but still, I can't help noticing that my children are generally happier and better behaved in term time, including evenings and weekends, than they are on holiday. I guess they're just thoroughly institutionalised and term time seems to suit them better.

Undeterred, we do try reasonably ambitious holidays these days but I know they'll usually be a pale shadow of a "real" holiday, and far more tiring than just going to work.

dirtyface Wed 10-Jul-13 14:26:30

i have tentatively suggested to dh that next year we go with one of the sets of GPs

but as DH is not keen on my parents (and i am not keen on his either tbh) not sure that will be an option sad

IdaBlankenship Wed 10-Jul-13 14:27:19

QuintessentialOldDear You are right - campervanning is perfect with kids. Lots of fun and easily mobile so you can chase the warm weather or move on easily to find interesting places. We have taken the kids from when they were babies - we have done Australia and various European countries in a van and I have loved it. (The only tricky stage is crawling babies in a van and sometimes logistics of sleeping arrangements with very little ones!).

EldritchCleavage Wed 10-Jul-13 14:37:36

Take one parent each, OP? Or all of them?

We do self-catering. My expectations of enjoyment are confined to:
i) watching the kids have a good time (which they do in short bursts);
ii) the vague novelty of the same old chores in a different place;
iii) a few treats, and expensive Waitrose prepared food so I don't have to cook from scratch like at home;
iv) once the kids are in bed (good sleepers, thank God) I might get in a bit of reading;
v) holiday shags.

When I do go to bed on holiday I dream of idling on a yacht off Jamaica with Denzel Washington drinking cocktails.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Wed 10-Jul-13 14:52:28

About ten years ago when my father was in his early seventies, he apologised to me for not really considering us (his children) when he and my DM chose/went on their holidays with us. I was astonished (and touched). I was able to reassure him that I look back on the holidays I had with them quite fondly - they were mainly rural self-catering - I expect I did some major moaning about the country walks.

He seemed to think that I thought much more about my own children when choosing holidays - but I'm not sure it's true. We couldn't afford to go away very much and when we did it was the sort of place he would have absolutely loathed (think Butlins/Hoseasons) so I think he thought I was very unselfish to put up with it! In fact, the holiday activity my children loved the most was on our doorstep and cost next to nothing (a local "show in a week" sort of thing) so we were really lucky to have that and they did it every year for several years - a real highlight of every summer holiday.

What I did realise quite quickly was that my children didn't enjoy the same things that I had as a child. They were not particularly interested in sand castles or rock pools, I discovered, so they didn't feel deprived of the seaside holidays we could only very rarely afford. Once I had got over the idea that they jolly well OUGHT to enjoy rockpools - because who wouldn't grin - I found that letting them do what they enjoyed meant that I could enjoy myself too (I looked after them on my own for most of their childhood).

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 10-Jul-13 14:56:51

I will never, ever, ever go on holidays with GPs again. It took us until the first service station stop to realise that rather than taking GPs to help look after DCs, we had taken DCs to look after GPs!

Arcticwaffle Wed 10-Jul-13 15:08:46

We had a beautiful VW camper van before dc. My pride and joy. It was great with just 2 adults. The freedom of parking up by an empty beach. etc. Nice with one baby. Hard work with baby and toddler. Hell on wheels with 3 small dc. We sold it before we could kill each and/or the dc in it.

It was like a small noisy restless tin of sardines.

chillybits Wed 10-Jul-13 15:10:31

My rule if self catering is to create a holiday routine and break the day into bits. I would never ever plan to spend a DAY at the beach!

Morning - rise later than normal as kids stay up later. Go to beach for a couple of hours. Do not aim for more than 2-3 hours at a time (if it lasts longer great). Each parent gets 1/2 hour off to snooze during this time and avoid any meals on the beach.

Lunch - back to house for sandwiches without the sand. Toddler to nap, middle one DVD (have a selection of films he's never seen), oldest one ipod time (the only time its allowed). Parents take it turns each day to snooze each day, sometimes both get a snooze for an hour when toddler nap, DVD, ipod blissfully coincide.

mid - late afternoon. Swimming pool when cooler (if no access to pool would be finding a local park or beauty spot or back to beach (shudder).

dinner - either back at cottage then out for ice cream or out for dinner to a very child friendly, junk foody, only on holiday place.

Bedtime - later than normal but not so late that DH can't share a glass of wine and collapse into bed. Probably no sex all holiday but hey ho that's what the other 50 weeks are for.

Absolutely no expectation beforehand that the holiday is for the kids only.

Only about 4 days in 2 weeks will differ from this.

SMUG or what - remind me of this when we get back in a month's time!

motherinferior Wed 10-Jul-13 15:14:37

In this, as in so much else, I am clearly not cut out for parenthood. The very idea of a holiday without books/wine/sleep is not a holiday worth having. I do usually get through about 14 books in a fortnight even afflicted by children...

ubik Wed 10-Jul-13 15:17:21

We had a lovely holiday abroad with 3DC aged 8,6,4. Really relaxing.
The trick was to keep it simple. We went to Majorca. Stated by the pool, let them exhaust themselves in the swimming pool. Couple of trips to beach, let them exhaust themselves digging to Australia or building sandcastles. Hamburger, chips, coke for tea. Played pool or tennis with them in the evenjng.
Last year we camped on a Scotish island. dD1 had chickenpox, I had whooping cough (diagnosed later) dd2and dd3 threw up for two nights. In a tent. In the pouring rain. 10 mins walk from the toilets. When I came come I went to bed and was ill for a week.

Some you win, some you lose.

ubik Wed 10-Jul-13 15:19:32

And yy chilly - that is pretty much our routine too. And also late afternoon, evenjng at the beach is great with small children, it just gets cooler, the sun us more gentle and they get a good run about before bed.

bigTillyMint Wed 10-Jul-13 15:21:17

This is what family holidays are like! I just think it has been more of a shock for you as you haven't done a family holiday before.

Our best holidays when they were small were abroad(hot) in half-board hotels (so I didn't have to do anything) with a good kids club so they could spend the odd hour therewink and make friends. Or camping abroad (hot) with friends and loads of other children around so they could go and play with them for at least some of the time.

Now they are teens, all-inclusive abroad seems the way to go!

LtEveDallas Wed 10-Jul-13 15:41:28

We've never had a bad holiday. Even the prisoner-of-war-complex-from-hell was a 'good' holiday. It set the scene for better holidays to come.

We always go AI to somewhere with kids entertainment on tap. Places like First Choice Holiday Villages, or Thomson Superfamily Resorts.

When we go through the brochures we look for:

Evening Entertainment
Daytime Entertainment
Kids Clubs

Distance from Beach
Distance from Town

It has to have everything in the first list, and preferably some of the second list. The main aim of the holiday is to keep DD happy - first list, then we can enjoy the stuff in the second list!

Last year we had all the above, and swim up rooms and an on site waterpark - For less than £3K.

We had such a great time we have booked the same place again for this year at just over £3K

Right now we can afford to do that every year. When we can't, then we will save up until we can, and if that means we go every other year, so be it.

juneau Wed 10-Jul-13 15:49:54

*I have resigned myself to the fact that a family holiday isn't a holiday for me. There might be more wine than usual and more ice cream and a meal out or two but basically it's like being at home but with a different view and more uncomfortable bed.

Yup, I'm with Calabria on this one - particularly the bit about the uncomfortable bed!

However, we find that other DC are the key to having at least a little bit of downtime and our kids having lots of fun. Last year we rented a cottage in a complex with other British families staying and DS1 (aged four at the time), had a lovely time. This year he's five and DS2 is two and we're doing something similar, so I'm hoping that they'll run along and play and we can sit reading a book and sipping a glass of wine while keeping an eye on them.

LtEveDallas Wed 10-Jul-13 15:51:27

We've never had a bad holiday. Even the prisoner-of-war-complex-from-hell was a 'good' holiday. It set the scene for better holidays to come.

We always go AI to somewhere with kids entertainment on tap. Places like First Choice Holiday Villages, or Thomson Superfamily Resorts.

When we go through the brochures we look for:

Evening Entertainment
Daytime Entertainment
Kids Clubs

Distance from Beach
Distance from Town

It has to have everything in the first list, and preferably some of the second list. The main aim of the holiday is to keep DD happy - first list, then we can enjoy the stuff in the second list!

Last year we had all the above, and swim up rooms and an on site waterpark - For less than £3K.

We had such a great time we have booked the same place again for this year at just over £3K

Right now we can afford to do that every year. When we can't, then we will save up until we can, and if that means we go every other year, so be it.

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 15:53:32

I don't think it's beyond the realms of possibility that your parents did enjoy your holidays, OP.

I am not lying when I claim to have enjoyed ours. I like dc's company, I think they are funny, they say interesting things, it is interesting to see things through their eyes.

They don't have to be lovely and informed for a holiday to be a success: some of our best memories come from a series of family jokes which grew out of ds' moaning in the car on the way between Granada and Cordoba and gradually being jollied out of his bad mood: they have absolutely nothing to do with his (non-existing) appreciation of Moorish architechture.

When dh and I visited Spain several years earlier we did all the grown-up things, reverently walking round the medieval churches, drinking the regional wines, staying out till all hours in the Plaza Mayor. I don't think there were as many laughs though.

I liked what Fillybuster said: "I started enjoying family holidays so much more once I decided that what I wanted to get out of the holiday was lots of time with my dcs, rather than escaping from them"

EldritchCleavage Wed 10-Jul-13 15:59:48

My sister and her husband have a set of photos of their DC sulking in various beautiful locations. They made the kids' reluctance to do anything cultural into a family joke. Every holiday had a 'here are the children sulking in front of...' picture. It was a case of hard cheese, Mum and Dad want to see it, so we're going.

Mrsrobertduvall Wed 10-Jul-13 16:02:58

I have to have a villa with lots of space, at least 3 bedrooms (there are 4 of us) so dcs get own room, and minimum 2 bathrooms.
There has to be a dishwasher and washing machine.

I have a nice house so am not prepared to compromise on a holiday by staying in less what we have at home.

BalloonSlayer Wed 10-Jul-13 16:04:29

Holidays with small DCs:

"Washing up with a different view"

or, as I say to DH:

"Imagine you have to spend two weeks doing your usual job. But without a phone, a computer, any of your colleagues you rely on, in an office that is slightly cold and uncomfortable and smells damp and musty. And you can't do a bad job, no, you have to do a slightly better job than normal, despite not having the tools you need to do even a halfway decent job. You are not permitted to get grumpy. You get home with a sigh of relief and contemplate going back to work on Monday with dread. You check your bank balance and find to your dismay a lot of money appears to have been withdrawn. You wonder when you might be able to have a holiday. Then you are told the dreadful news - that WAS your holiday. "

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 16:06:12

I actually find there is less whining on holidays now we travel with dc. Dh does have a tendency to get a bit moany when he is tired or hot or we get lost. Nothing like a teenager with a curling upper lip and a fine line in repartee to bring middle aged moaning under control. grin

kerala Wed 10-Jul-13 16:11:39

What was that line from modern family? "You don't get it do you? For me this isn't a holiday as a stay at home mom this is a business trip" not sure I agree but did a wry smile!

BeaconTent Wed 10-Jul-13 16:16:32

I've found every holiday with the kids stressful except for the one we're on now. I'm lying by the pool in an all inclusive aparthotel so no thinking about carrying enough money or what to do for meals. our DDs have their own room adjacent to ours and come and go as they please. the only thing is that by the time we've got to stage of being able to do this in terms of their independence combined with affording it we've had to wait until they are 19 and 16 with the eldest broken up from uni and the youngest finished her gcses. So all in all this holiday is relaxing and carefree. the past 18 yrs, not so much grin

MarshaBrady Wed 10-Jul-13 16:23:53

We've done villa with pool, city apartment, city hotel, 5* resort with restaurants and beach.

There were little things that were good and not so good for each.

I don't think we've fully cracked it. Not sure what the best scenario is with young dc.

Big villa or resort?

MarshaBrady Wed 10-Jul-13 16:25:25

Or just taking a nanny of course.

They had kids' club but two year old screamed place down, no chance.

He's been at nursery for a year now part time, I'd try it again next time.

chillybits Wed 10-Jul-13 16:28:09

other smugsville tip is..Kids Do Not Do Faffing (from adults, are clearly experts in this skill themselves)

Our holidays improved no end once DH realised this. So when differing from normal holiday routine below, we must have a plan we can articulate to kids which includes some wins for them (even if just plans for ice cream, a swim when you get back etc) and the day must be broken into chunks so the kids know their time at the market/museum/historical landmark is time limited and know what's coming next. Don't just start the day and see where it takes you - unless you are in fabulous hotel and have unlimited funds!

Oblomov Wed 10-Jul-13 16:37:18

I have felt your pain.
Now that ds's are older (10 & 5) it is easier. It gets easier with age. Not mine, I hasen to add.

We now do glamping. ds's play in park, ride around on their bikes. Dh and I sit and drink cups of tea. Then followed by glasses of wine.

I do remember the days of Ibiza, when 1 and 5/6 were a totally different experience !!

KobayashiMaru Wed 10-Jul-13 16:42:30

I don't get all the misery and moaning. If you don't like holidaying with your children, don't do it. But don't insist that its just the way it is with small kids, because its really not for all of us. I've got several small children and have wonderful holidays that they and we both enjoy a lot.

MarshaBrady Wed 10-Jul-13 16:49:15

What type of holiday do you do Kobashayi?

MarshaBrady Wed 10-Jul-13 16:51:07

Kobayashi I mean.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 16:51:42

mrsrobert that is my view, unless we are just going away for a night or two to see/do something specific in which case I don't mind.

We have a lovely house with nice things and I refuse to go and stay somewhere manky.

KobayashiMaru Wed 10-Jul-13 16:53:53

keycamp style usually, though it can vary a bit. We have a great time, its the highlight of my year.

Harryhairypig Wed 10-Jul-13 16:58:16

Yanbu, my kids fight like sods on holiday, well all the time but worse on holiday as they only have each other, DH gets stressed going away anyway and then nit picks at them which makes them worse, I get pissed off with DH as he contributes to the holiday being difficult. BUT I love holidays and going new places, and beaches, so we muddle through. But I now realise camping was probably hard work for my parents, not the endless days of relaxing fun I Remember as a child! The best holidays we have are at Centerparcs (lots of other kids there being naughty too) or with other people along as that helps reduce the kids fighting as they have someone else to be with, and DH and I have to be nicer to each other. So how you feel is normal, some children behave better on holiday than others, and it spoils it when they are a pita because of the change in routine. Mine would never go to kids clubs or make freinds either. I feel a whole lot better after reading this thread and am no longer worrying about the forthcoming summer holiday as know so many other people have felt like me, when all my freinds seem to have had lovely holidays. We haven't flown yet specifically because of the kids behaviour as well, am hoping to do so next year now they are older though. You are to alone, but don't give up!

Harryhairypig Wed 10-Jul-13 16:58:40

*not alone

valiumredhead Wed 10-Jul-13 17:16:57

Holidays are massively stressful, you come back feeling like you need another holiday to get over the one you've just hadgrin

We buy into all these adds we see on the Telly of people relaxing while the kids play happily-it's all bollox !

KobayashiMaru Wed 10-Jul-13 17:21:07

its not though, thats my point. What is it with the inability to appreciate that others may have a different experience than you? It's really arrogant.

Bonsoir Wed 10-Jul-13 17:22:50

We have had lots of successful holidays with DC. However, we always go to places with both a pool and a beach and not too many people and we eat out a lot. We go to places where we can cycle and go on boats as that is always novel and fun for we city dwellers.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 17:30:49

valium - it really isn't bollocks. DH and I relax plenty on holiday with our young children.

It is to do with mindset, how well behaved your kids are and what type of setting you choose.

motherinferior Wed 10-Jul-13 17:32:51

I suppose the thing is that most domesticity, and many things to do with small children, are profoundly wearing and quite tedious. So a holiday - which is supposed to be a break from day to day tedium - kind of highlights this fact.

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 17:34:16

valium, some people are even able to relax whilst playing with their children!

in fact one of the best days out I've ever had was taking ds to play Robin Hood in a half local wood: he played Robin and I played all the other characters. I do a most convincing Friar Tuck, I do grin.

curryeater Wed 10-Jul-13 17:36:07

Exactly, motherinferior.
When you look after littlies you are not thinking big picture - helping them choose courses, or negotiate school or relationships. Equally you are likely to have put off any big projects of your own, like major house stuff or big work projects, esp if on mat leave. So there is nothing to drop. You are feeding, clothing, and arsewiping, and none of that goes away - it gets harder. With older ones, yes there is big picture stuff in your lives and you can shelve it while on holiday. I hope.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 17:41:10

curry it doesn't get harder! It gets easier because someone else is doing the cooking, you haven't got to do any housework - and you are all together and enjoying doing interesting things.

I'm really slightly confused that people are unable to comprehend that some of us do enjoy our holidays with our young DCs.

I can see that if your idea of a holiday is just lolling about doing bugger all then you can't have that kind of holiday with children, but I've never liked doing that even pre-DCs.

BeaWheesht Wed 10-Jul-13 17:42:52

I am most definitely not a chilled out, earth mother, non stressy mother but I'm really shocked by this thread.

We've been away quite a few times with ds since he was a baby (now 6) and dd (almost 3) and te only time it's been awful is when ds was ill the entire week.

We've done self catering lodges // caravans mainly which reduces the stress I think but have also done train from Scotland to France and then a disney hotel - the kids are it all as an adventure and tbh we just go along with it. Yes, it's mainly focused on the kids but that's ok because it's the only time we really get just us 4.

valiumredhead Wed 10-Jul-13 17:43:32

Oh please, my post was tongue in cheek,I thought the smiley face made that clear. I can relax just fine with my older child but it was 'same old shit different walls' when he was little.

EDMNWiganSalfordandBlackpool Wed 10-Jul-13 17:47:52

OP, we recently won a holiday, all inclusive loads of activities expensive holiday. Being on a low income we were so excited, we have never been anywhere like that before and usually go camping/cheap apartment is Spain.

It was the worst holiday we have ever had and me and dd slept for four days when we came back.

It was bloody hard work, the kids club ballsed up care of my sen child on day one so I could not relax for the rest of the week as dd still wanted to go but I had to supervise the whole time, the standard of safety was a bit lax and dd also had a boating accident in the sea.

There was NOTHING to do for adults unless you wanted to get drunk all day, it promised all kinds in the brochure but there was bugger all, it was miles to get into nearest town, no shop to buy basics in between meals, miles to get to the beach, I sat by the pool bored shitless for a week not even being able to relax because dc were desperate to join in the activities but I did not trust the carers after they let us down on first day.

The holiday cost 5 grand for three of us and I would not have paid £500!

MarshaBrady Wed 10-Jul-13 17:53:46

A holiday with my older ds is very easy. And the three year old is getting better.

But when he was two I do remember quite a bit of trailing to make sure he didn't fall off a rock or off a ledge into a swimming pool.

It was quite good still.

ubik Wed 10-Jul-13 18:02:28

I have to say, DP and I would probably choose a lovely room in Oia, Santorini; eat in lovely restaurants, swim off the rocks, laze by the pool


bakingaddict Wed 10-Jul-13 18:09:00

Each year I do a mixture of AI and UK holiday cottage and I've never had a problem with my DC (5 and 2). Kids go to bed when they are tired and I've never had to put them in kids club. I might be a bit weird but I think to myself, I've come on holiday so I want to enjoy their company.

Of a day it's pool and beach and pottering around local markets and after dinner we go for a walk along the seafront and then back to sit in the bar and let the kids have some fun at baby disco. My DS usually ends up making friends with other kids even if they cant speak each others language. By 10pm they are usually flagging so we take them back to the room. Me and DH might then sit on the balcony with a glass of wine which we've bought from the local supermarket.

If we are in a holiday cottage we do a mixture of eating out or meals at home. Whoever prepares the evening meal, the other must clean the kitchen afterwards. Setting firm rules about who is doing what is the key when staying in a cottage. I don't understand why some mums get left with cooking and cleaning 24/7 when on holiday

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 18:09:14

I feel the need to say that some of the posters on here who enjoy the holidays with dc the most, are the ones who have more money than others. according to posts I have read on MN!

redwellybluewelly Wed 10-Jul-13 18:10:11

We went away when DD1 was about 19months or so and we nearly divorced over the course if that week it was that bad. In fact it was worse.

Part of the issue was DH expecting to 'be on holiday' and basically checking out of any kind of domestic chores or parenting during the week and getting unpleasant and obnoxious about anything at all dd did like not sleeping or needing entertaining.

The sheer effort to organise us all for a self catering cottage with DH doing utterly nothing beforehand was a herculean task. Ive refused to do it again until children are both regularly sleeping through and potty trained. End of.

chillybits Wed 10-Jul-13 18:17:41

yamsareyammy - I fall into that category and actually agree you're right in my case. My chilled out relaxed schedule relies on hot sunny holiday where going the beach and pool are a given. Holidays in the Uk with unreliable (crap) weather are a different kettle of fish altogether. Caravans would make twitchy and camping send me into a nervous breakdown but then I always hated those things, there are plenty of people who love that type of holiday though.

curryeater Wed 10-Jul-13 18:18:27

Yams, you nailed it.

badguider Wed 10-Jul-13 18:22:59

Our holidays are in the UK but are mostly just extensions of how we like to spend time at the weekends so they are relaxing but not that much of a change of schedule.

We walk/hike, bike, picnic, explore in the woods, read the papers for a bit and treat ourselves to food in a pub beer garden if it's nice weather. Later on we might add a zoo/safari park/ theme park day just for ds but it would be one day in the week.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 18:24:24

yams I'm not going to disagree with you, I said somewhere upthread that I accept that not being on a shoestring allows you to grease the wheels a little.

Having said that, our weekend away earlier in the year was two nights/three days - we spent £450 including fuel, hotel, all meals and days out and that included a couple of bottles of nice wine, lunch out, a small handful of activity books and new pencils for the DCs. I think that is pretty good value.

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 18:30:52

wow. 3 people agreed with me! Wasnt expecting that smile

I think those of you who think that we are BU for not liking holidays with children just have easier children than us. For example, some of you have said "later bedtimes for the kids and a nice lie-in!" but it's not that simple for many of us. My kids wake up at the same time (often 5.30am) no matter what time they go to bed - so we're up at silly o'clock in the morning with overtired children. That's just one example but there are many things I've read on this thread and gone hmm about, thinking "yeah right, my kid would NEVER do that". I am not being a misery-guts to say that I don't enjoy holidays with children and I'm certainly not expecting to be able to lie on a beach and do nothing - my children are just very, very hard work and if I gave them to you for a week's holiday then I guarantee you wouldn't enjoy yourself either smile

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 18:34:58

yamsareyammy Wed 10-Jul-13 18:09:14
"I feel the need to say that some of the posters on here who enjoy the holidays with dc the most, are the ones who have more money than others"

Not in our case. Apart from one week in Spain and two French cottage holidays, our holidays have been cheap cottages in the UK and self catering. A French gite with ferry passage for a family + car doesn't really cost more than a cottage in the UK. And is considerably cheaper than an all year round habit of weekly take-aways and meals out.

I think it's more that some people are less sensitive than others about being physically comfortable, some people genuinely enjoy small adventures like sheltering under a tree in a downpour, some people are natural story-tellers and have fun taking dc round places because they can make them come to life. My mother scores on all these. I'm not too bad myself. And both of us have husbands who do their fair share without grumbling.

MarshaBrady Wed 10-Jul-13 18:36:51

It does help to spend a bit. Although didn't resolve the trailing thing, but that was an age thing.

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 18:40:34

Thinking back a lot of our best holidays involved lugging dd on and off public transport in her wheelchair. Which probably counts as hard work. But they were still good holidays.

dirtyface Wed 10-Jul-13 18:43:05

oh yeah if we had unlimited cash it would have been fine grin

we would have gone all inclusive somewhere with a kids club so we would have had the best of both worlds then. cos i do love my kids (of course) and i do love being with them, seeing them happy and spending time with them. its just so RELENTLESS on holiday.

must admit did quietly chuckle at a post a while back that suggested taking a nanny next time ;)

curryeater Wed 10-Jul-13 18:45:01

Cory all that story telling and tree sheltering works on small children (if you are lucky) not babies. I do expect a much better time now not at the baby-face. Unrelenting bfing and night waking does not make for perky von-trapping on the alp in the daytime, no matter how great your storytelling.

dirtyface Wed 10-Jul-13 18:48:10

Part of the issue was DH expecting to 'be on holiday' and basically checking out of any kind of domestic chores or parenting during the week and getting unpleasant and obnoxious about anything at all dd did like not sleeping or needing entertaining

same hmm

MarshaBrady Wed 10-Jul-13 18:49:21

Ha yes think it was mine. I going to put a wink but it would be handy grin

We had kids' club option. Would have used it, not all day or anything but a couple of hours so can relax and recharge. But ds2 just wouldn't at the time.

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 18:50:36

It's not money, we had lots of holidays in very cheap gites - gites that were cheap because they were falling to bits and 350 miles from the nearest cow, and they were still good. We went for walks and watched a dog dig up and eat a load of baby moles (a little upsetting for dd), ds fell in a river, and we drank lots of wine and played lots of games. But we laughed all the time and enjoyed each other.

Yes I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned money as well tbh

If we had more money -- enough to get a decent-sized hotel, flights that don't leave at 5 am from remote airports, babysitters and so on -- I'd be more willing to take DS abroad more often. DH and I traveled all over the world pre DC but on a shoestring. It's certainly possible to travel that way with a toddler but I don't think we'd really enjoy it. I'd rather wait until DS is older and/or we have more travel funds.

It doesn't really matter now as we live in a nice part of France anyway wink

It's all what you're used to, surely? For example, Alibaba's weekend for £450 -- maybe it was good value for what it was, but we couldn't personally justify spending that much just on a weekend right now. Someday I hope smile

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 18:52:47

I have been on one AI holiday. Everyone else there was European, the only "native" people were the staff, there was AQUA AEROBICS in the morning and hideous hideous entertainment in the evening.

And people queued for tea and cake at four so they got their money's worth.

We ran away after three days.

Never ever ever again.

KobayashiMaru Wed 10-Jul-13 18:54:33

Feeding, clothing and arsewiping is hardly the largest part of the day, whether on holiday or not. Is it an attitude thing? Are you thinking you will have a magical holiday and everything will be perfection? Or are you being realistic, accomodating your plans to suit the whole family, and taking your fun from the little things?

As for the rest, you can hardly blame either your children or your holiday if your DH is a lazy twat who does nothing for any of you. I think you're focusing on the wrong problem here.

KobayashiMaru Wed 10-Jul-13 18:55:28

Oh, and I spend very little on my holiday, compared to a lot of people. It's not really about the cash.

Lovingmybabiesbottom Wed 10-Jul-13 18:55:34

Reading this thread has made me a little anxious about our first family holiday to south of France in September. With a six month and 3 year old.

Then I remind myself of the times that reading mumsnet has made me anxious.... Threads about weaning, threads about potty training, threads about going from 1 child to 2.

And then it actually happens, and I find out that it was a storm in tea cup and my experience was actually absolutely fine. So fingers crossed this applies to holidays too!

formicadinosaur Wed 10-Jul-13 18:56:06

Did they need more sleep? Might have been worth doing time out for bad behaviour each time. Sending them to their rooms until they can be nice. Most of our hols are nice except for loading the van

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 18:56:14

curryeater Wed 10-Jul-13 18:45:01
"Cory all that story telling and tree sheltering works on small children (if you are lucky) not babies. I do expect a much better time now not at the baby-face. Unrelenting bfing and night waking does not make for perky von-trapping on the alp in the daytime, no matter how great your storytelling."

Sorry, afraid I do also have good memories of walking in the hills above Bath with dd in her backpack (so much easier than later, with the wheelchair). Before story-telling, she always responded to singing.

Not in the first couple of months after the birth, no. But once they turned 6-8 months, they seemed quite easy and portable. Ds was just under 4 months when we went on his first holiday, staying with relatives at the seaside.

RestingUnderTheSun Wed 10-Jul-13 18:56:27

I've had some lovely hols with the dcs, incl me travelling on my own with 2 under 3yo.

The key for me was:
- routine when they were babies
- doing something that I knew I would enjoy and that the children would enjoy too so that stress levels are as low as possible.

For me, it means being in the middle of nowhere, going camping, 'sporting' type of activities.
What has always being impossible to do is ... to do nothing.

curryeater Wed 10-Jul-13 18:57:06

Ok Cory you are a better woman than me. Lugging wheelchairs I guess trumps bfing in exhaustion terms. And hindering von-trapping about the place.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 10-Jul-13 18:57:17


Holidays with very small children are NOT holidays - you can't switch off. THey are work away from home and invariably in worse conditions than at home!. I confess to not having taken mine anywhere on holiday until they were six and eight. I got their grandparents to stay in our house a week and DH and I went away for a week on our own. (that was my whole baby minding from grandparents for a year as I live 250 miles away from them). KIds were taken on days out by grandparents and had a whale of a time.

We then went on family holidays to Club Med where there were clubs for the kids for part of the time. The only way to have any "holiday" with kids is to pay for them to have some of their entertainment provided.

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 18:57:34

Lovingmybabiesbottom Wed 10-Jul-13 18:55:34
"Reading this thread has made me a little anxious about our first family holiday to south of France in September. With a six month and 3 year old.

Then I remind myself of the times that reading mumsnet has made me anxious.... Threads about weaning, threads about potty training, threads about going from 1 child to 2.

And then it actually happens, and I find out that it was a storm in tea cup and my experience was actually absolutely fine. So fingers crossed this applies to holidays too!"

I think you're onto something there. grin

formicadinosaur Wed 10-Jul-13 18:58:52

Occasionally take turns having the kids so that you each get an hour or two to yourself

KobayashiMaru Wed 10-Jul-13 18:58:54

In your opinion, a mothers. You're not stating facts, its not true that we all need to get rid of our kids in holiday to have a good time.

BarnYardCow Wed 10-Jul-13 18:58:55

Sounds normal for a holiday with young children, also, you put so much effort in and the anticipation of it all being fantastic like a centre parcs advert can leave you a little bit disappointed!

RestingUnderTheSun Wed 10-Jul-13 18:59:12

Oh yes cory I've been away with the dcs from a few months old 4 months with dc1 to a wedding in France and 3 months with dc2 to see family and my parents.

In some ways, having a baby so little was more restful than with a toddler. Plenty of time to rest/lounge around read whilst baby has a nap and no massive housework/shopping etc... that you feel you have to do when you are at home

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 19:00:00

Reading this thread I am wondering if the big difference is not perhaps so much the quality of accommodation or the quality of the flight but the quality of the accompanying dh.

It had never occurred to me that being on holiday with dh might mean as much work as being a SAHM when he was at work for the rest of the year: surely if he is there, he does half the work?

Hullygully Wed 10-Jul-13 19:00:04

Most people on this thread sound like they just don't like their dc very much!

KobayashiMaru Wed 10-Jul-13 19:02:57

More than half, if you're lucky cory, all that bumwiping and bathing that they miss at home, perfect timing to do it on holiday! Meanwhile you're on the deck/balcony with an aperitif....;)

MarshaBrady Wed 10-Jul-13 19:03:24

I don't mind mine. But I don't think we've cracked the perfect set up.

Maybe it is villa, pool and beach and no driving.

RestingUnderTheSun Wed 10-Jul-13 19:04:38

Hully I don't agree there. I think it's more about expectations (hols = being able to relax and do nothing as it was pre children) and the very very strong wish/need for a rest.

For me a hols is about changing scenery, routine and being able to forget about all the HW/shopping/class stuff/work taht needs to be done. Switching off from all that, except from the dcs. I actually found these are the times when I can have better quality time with them than when I am at home.

thebody Wed 10-Jul-13 19:06:29

Some of the posts are hilarious here especially the nanny one.

You don't need money to throw at your kids to make you enjoy them! Or make them like you! Or go to impressive holiday destinations to 'educate' the sprogs!!

You just need time together doing just stuff. Playing board games, digging in the sand, making sea defences, beach cricket/ footi, swimming in a cold sea( honest kids DON'T NEED wet suits here. Catching fish/ crabs in the rock pools,

Big picnic, walks, chats, make up stories and get them to join in.

Tea bath bed. Open wine and relax.

What's not to like.

thebody Wed 10-Jul-13 19:08:15

Agree Hully,, if you want child free holidays and lifestyle why have children really?

I'm sure everyone on here likes their kids just fine.

It's just, as Marsha says, everyone needs to crack their own individual setup, what works for you won't work for me.

At the moment, bungalow on a French rural campsite works great for us. I'm sure some of you would hate it and that's fine. I wouldn't judge your whole relationship with your kids just because you got stuck in a rotten setup for a week and didn't enjoy it. Yeesh.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 19:09:52

Part of the issue was DH expecting to 'be on holiday' and basically checking out of any kind of domestic chores or parenting during the week and getting unpleasant and obnoxious about anything at all dd did like not sleeping or needing entertaining

Well in that case you are taking the main reason that you didn't enjoy your holiday with you. Maybe rather than moaning about your children you should be moaning about your husband?

DH really takes over with ours while we're away, and the whole thing is very much a 50/50 effort.

curryeater Wed 10-Jul-13 19:15:08

Harrassing and gloating over women with domestically inert husbands is mean, complacent victim blaming.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 10-Jul-13 19:16:40


cory Wed 10-Jul-13 19:17:59

It's not harrassing and gloating, curryeater; merely pointing out that it is not fair to blame the presence of the children for the shortcomings of the husband.

LtEveDallas Wed 10-Jul-13 19:20:32

I'm not sure that money is the issue either. OP says she thinks she spent £2k. Our holiday last year was 2700 and that was it, no extras. We took 200 for tips/nick naks, but didnt spend anything other than that. I think £3k is quite reasonable for 2 weeks with all those facilities.

Holiday Villages are dearer, although Tunisa was quite cheap when we went, but there really is loads going on so it's very hard to be bored. I'm lucky I suppose that DD is very outgoing so wants to be involved in everything. I'd be exhausted if I was trying to do it all with her on my own!

We do cheap as well mind. We have a caravan on the SW coast that we spend time at. We do a lot there for free (when the weather is good), but it can be expensive trying to do trips/fairs/farms and so on, sometimes just sitting in the beach or exploring the dunes is all we can afford.

FacebookAnonymous Wed 10-Jul-13 19:20:52

'Reading this thread I am wondering if the big difference is not perhaps so much the quality of accommodation or the quality of the flight but the quality of the accompanying dh.'

Yeah cos heaven forbid any single mothers should take their kids on holiday....

MarshaBrady Wed 10-Jul-13 19:24:48

I was joking on the nanny one (for us anyway). Although I know many that do it.

The resort one was quite good but we would prefer not to be so stuck in one place.

Plus we saw the same people nearly every day. Prefer to explore a bit more.

cory Wed 10-Jul-13 19:25:07

Facebook, obviously I was referring to those many posts where it was clear that there was an accompanying dh.

I have travelled alone with dc too. Perfectly doable. In fact, I imagine it is a lot easier than with an unhelpful adult in tow.

MarshaBrady Wed 10-Jul-13 19:25:54

The villa was quite good but the beach wasn't great.

We just need to find that perfect spot and stick to it.

EdvardMonsterMunch Wed 10-Jul-13 19:27:02

At one stage in our lives' we went on holiday with 4 DCs under the age of 10.......choresville.
We went to the coast so everyday was sea and sand.
We tried to take it in turns to watch out for the kids, mission impossible.
No relaxation for us but a great time was had by kids!
Things seemed to settle down when youngest was about 4 and eldest 14.
They seemed to get along (bar the inevitable fighting) and we could finally relax.
So...........just 14 years to wait for that stress free holiday we all deserve after working at the coal face all year!!
(Then you get to a point when there's only 1 DC on holiday with you and it's kinda sad)

RestingUnderTheSun Wed 10-Jul-13 19:28:40

Facebook, but why should a woman be dealing with the dcs on her own when her DH is there and could help though? confused

It doesn't mean that single mothers can't go away and have a lovely hols with their dcs. More that it is very frustrating for someone to still be doing the bulk of the work whilst her partner is in effect enjoying his 'child free, before dcs style' holiday.
Now that would piss me off and would destroy my enjoyment of the hols, even if I would have done exactly the same, had I being on my own.

thefirstmrsrochester Wed 10-Jul-13 19:31:34

Part of the issue was DH expecting to 'be on holiday' and basically checking out of any kind of domestic chores or parenting during the week and getting unpleasant and obnoxious about anything at all dd did like not sleeping or needing entertaining

^ ^


Kat101 Wed 10-Jul-13 19:52:57

Passthetwiglets us too. It seems the later my kids go to bed, the earlier they wake up. Then we're faced with overtired moaning and the younger ones collapse and have an afternoon nap while we watch the older ones. And repeat, every day for a week.

I do like the idea of these children who go to bed later and have a lie in envy

ubik Wed 10-Jul-13 19:56:34

I can also understand that if you are both exhausted before the holiday, time alone for relaxation becomes very precious. DP and I were ill with exhaustion before we went away and were fortunate our holiday was relaxing.

I have to admit though that DD3 was left to float about in the pool, with arm bands and a rubber ring, but she seemed quite happy chuntering away to herself

dirtyface Wed 10-Jul-13 20:33:58

sorry, he is not that bad blush

he did do quite a bit to be fair. ie he made the dcs breakfast every day, and tidied up when needed.

just not as much as i would have liked / expected. am a SAHM mainly (do a few hours pt work) so the dcs are basically my FT job

yet it was still me who had to do the bathing of them, the dressing of them, their hair, the cleaning of their teeth every morning and evening. plus we ate in about 4 nights i think and he only cooked once and that was pizza and chips angry

hmmm maybe i need yet another new dh ;)

MrsRambo Wed 10-Jul-13 20:58:05


I remember picking up a copy of the Sunday Times, or whatever weekend supplement Giles Coren was writing for at the time and nearly spitting out the wine I was necking to anesthetize those rookie "first holiday with a baby' pains . There he was writing about how they were taking their nanny with them on baby Coren's first ever holiday to Cornwall because you know, otherwise it's just the same old drudge but at a different postcode.

"We need a holiday nanny" I sobbed to DH, whilst he was trying to peg a spare duvet we found in the airing cupboard up on to the curtain rail in DD's room in a bid to try and cut out some light and get her to sleep past 5.00AM....

I still dream of that holiday nanny!

<apologies to any welsh holiday cottage owners that might be reading who found one of their curtain rails stuck back up on the wall with sellotape. This was due to a heavy duvet being shoved round it...>

Wishihadabs Wed 10-Jul-13 21:02:44

TBH I have given up self catering (unless camping then it's a bbq which is DH's responsibility). Last year we went half board to Crete and it was wonderful. No meal planning, no shopping just spending g time as family. I am surprised your dcs are so old I agree going away with a 1&3 year old would be stressful, ours were 5&8 last year and we had a great time. What is this bathing and hairwashing of which you speak? I really don't bother. They are in and out of the pool all day anyway....

KobayashiMaru Wed 10-Jul-13 21:03:41

It's not victim blaming, fgs. hmm
If you lie down and stamp doormat on your face, people are going to walk on you. Lets not insult women by pretending we have nothing to do with how the men in our lives treat us, ok?

KatyTheCleaningLady Wed 10-Jul-13 21:10:32

This is why I'm going away by myself for a few days.

I will take each child for a weekend of "love bombing" in August. Then, in the autumn, my husband and I are going to Italy.

But there will not be a whole family holiday. Maybe a night or two camping, but never again will we go to a holiday park.

TVTonight Wed 10-Jul-13 21:13:03

We're currently on holiday with three, aged just this month 6,4,4. It's been lovely, up and out before ten to a planned, pre-researched "activity" : today it was walking 10km down a mountain, got back mid afternoon. Funnily enough, they were all asleep by eight and we got out the prosecco.

We are self catering with space to run about. Tomorrow we're going on train to a festival. Research and planning is essential (a work colleague used plan to the extent of which bus they would get!).

For us having an extra adult, DH, has been a bonus, and he's has done his fair share. The shagging has been happening copiously grin

We are very overdue a meltdown from one or all the girls, but we'll deal with that at the time!

thebody Wed 10-Jul-13 21:16:58

A holiday nanny?? what a bloody sad phrase.

stella1w Wed 10-Jul-13 21:17:27

I did a week with dc 5 and nearly 2 and it was horrible and exhausting, mainly because of the 2 yo. Up side is that now i don't feel bad about not taking the kids away. From now on until the 2 yo grows up a bit, it's day trips only.

thebody Wed 10-Jul-13 21:21:16

Stella, why was it horrible? Exhausting agree but horrible?

CocktailQueen Wed 10-Jul-13 21:23:06

I love our holidays! Sorry you had a crap time though OP.

We take it in turns to choose a day's activity (kids are 6 and 9) so we all get to choose something. We stay in self catering cottages and order a big Tesco order so we have nice food and wine, and have lunches out. The kids are old enough to get up and play with ipad, watch tv, read or play by themselves before brekky. They can also get snacks for themselves and can tell the time! Makes a big difference.

We also make sure we hire a gite with a garden where the kids can play. We do lots of free stuff too - beaches, walks, NT houses (we're members) - kids love all that and so do I

I do NOT camp and I do NOT go on hotel holidays with kids. One exception was Bedruthan Sands when dd was 1 and I adored it, Absolutely wonderful, relaxing holiday. Kids catered for, playparks and pools, kids' tea, soft play, kids' listening service at night so we could dress up and dine in peace. Loved it. Except every time we went one of us got a sick bug confused Maybe that could be an option for you, OP?

Fillybuster Wed 10-Jul-13 21:26:04

Cory - we never ever ever go away with other families, because we enjoy our own company and family unit. But (a bit like Carlsberg....!) if we did go away with another family, I think we'd be happy being on holiday with yours!

motherinferior Wed 10-Jul-13 21:30:52

Having kids is tough enough without having to enjoy it toogrin

thebody Wed 10-Jul-13 21:40:55

Just feel so sad at some of these posts.

My childhood was filled with domestic strife but remember my parents being totally different people as we got in the M5 and they made our holidays fantastic.

Hated the journey home as they were sad and back to normal.

Dh's parents had 5 kids and no car so went by train. Dfil was a butcher so couldn't get away till the Sunday so he brought all the luggage while dmil went down with all kids in the Saturday.

Holidays count. Kids love them. They deserve to actually.

JoJoCK Wed 10-Jul-13 21:42:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JoJoCK Wed 10-Jul-13 21:45:13

Sorry OP, have asked mumsnet to remove my last post, am way too tired and clearly not responding to you!

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 10-Jul-13 21:54:58

I think that the person who observed that this was OP's first family holiday has hit the nail on the head. IMO the first one is hard. You dont know what to expect and end up hoping for perfection.

Our first family holiday was camping in France when DD1 was not quite walking. I remember we said to each other 'it will be easier next year'.

And it was. And it has been each year since.

We had our last family holiday last year. This year we will be going away with just one DC. The older 2 are staying at home.

Arcticwaffle Wed 10-Jul-13 22:01:39

Some of our best holidays have been camping (in a tent, not a campervan). When the sun shines and it all goes well it's lovely, the dc frolic merrily in streams etc looking like a grubby version of a Boden catalogue. And if it's grim and tiring or wet, at least you haven't spent a fortune, and you can just go home early.

We've had some good holidays, and some hard ones, and many that are up and down. But they've all involved quite a shift in expectations of what a holiday is from pre-dc.

stella1w Wed 10-Jul-13 22:06:15

Horrible because exhausting keeping dc2 safe.

go camping with friends who also have kids, that helps.

LostLion Wed 10-Jul-13 22:13:36

I like holidays with the kids....but it does take a total revamp of ones expectations.

I wouldn't be so hard on the OP - its her first kick at the can. Going on holiday with kids is nothing like those pre-children vacations. It can be a bit of a shock to the system.

I remember the first time DH and I took DS1 on holiday. It was with some childless know, my friends who didn't start their day at 6:00am, go to bed before 10pm and spend every free moment heading off the park or entertaining their toddler in the non-childproof vacation rental. It put in sharp relief how much our lives had changed to say the least.

Groovee Wed 10-Jul-13 22:15:47

I'm finding holidaying with my 13 year old testing!!! She's been warned we wouldn't be shopping every day. We went to one place but she's googled the flaming other one and wants to go there instead! We've just had a huge row. Ds got his way and dh has taken him to the park while dd sits in a huff in her room, and I'm by the pool. She got her time in fecking Hollister last week and was told it was the one off trip there!!!! Ungrateful madam. Next year it's a holiday at home again!

superstarheartbreaker Wed 10-Jul-13 22:36:32

Last year I took a then 4 year old dd to Menorca and it was the most relaxed I have ever been with her. The reason why? It was too bloody hot to do anything! She couldn't race around and she spent most of the time in the swimming pool making friends whilst I lounged by the pool. It's the way to go I tell you. Better still if said resort has kids' club. Worth every penny.
It cost me a grand for 10 days for 2 of us including flights. But I do agree if it isn't at least 30 degrees in the sahde then the kids are too inclined to race around. I miss my adventure travel days when I could do cultural things and hiking rather than kiddy clubs and 'fun' activities. Sigh.

superstarheartbreaker Wed 10-Jul-13 22:37:29


Wishihadabs Wed 10-Jul-13 22:40:00

Meant to say it also depends on how much time you get to spend together during "normal" life. I am frequently outfromm 7-7 or DH is. So just having 3meals a day together is a treat.

Wishihadabs Wed 10-Jul-13 22:41:21

Also no homework, no school run, no work emails.

noblegiraffe Thu 11-Jul-13 10:35:07

I'm really looking forward to our holiday next week, Haven with a 3 year old and 5 month old. I'm on maternity leave so used to entertaining them all day and looking forward to doing it in different surroundings with activities on tap and DH to help out.

Those with older kids saying how relentless it all is - are older kids harder to entertain or have you just got used to not having to deal with them all the time since they started school?

Bonsoir Thu 11-Jul-13 11:01:57

This year DP and I are going away for 10 child-free days of total relaxation in a culturally different environment, to get away from daily life. DD and DSS2 are currently on a four-week activity bonanza holiday and will be very happy to chill on their return, when we go on a family holiday all together. So we will already be rested and they will already be activitied-out, and we should be able to hang out together and enjoy ourselves in the house/pool we have rented with another family.

<<crosses fingers>>>

Wallison Thu 11-Jul-13 11:08:19

I love holidays! One thing I've noticed is that I'm much more relaxed and chilled out with DS than I am at home - always try to keep that holiday feeling going when we're back but don't quite seem to manage it. But when we're away, I love every minute of it. We do self-catering, so that we don't spend a fortune on food and in the evening once he's gone to bed I can relax on my own and read a book or watch telly or whatever - I think that bit is crucial, actually. Have done shorter breaks staying in hotels and it's no fun having to wait for him to go to sleep and creeping round the room once he is etc. But sitting on a balcony and watching the sun go down while he sleeps all happy after a day in the sunshine doing new stuff ... absolute bliss.

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