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To be thoroughly pissed off about extra additions to ski holiday and to get my clip board out?

(139 Posts)
Beachcomber Wed 20-Feb-13 09:01:24

Will try to keep this short. We are lucky enough to be going skiing for 6 days next week. We live in France and will drive to resort, we have our own gear so no ski hire. We are very very lucky in that an acquaintance gives us mates rates on an apartment (half the normal price). All this means that we can afford to go skiing. We still save up for this though in order to pay for our lift passes and lessons for the children - it is a special treat.

DH has invited a friend and his girlfriend to join us for 3 out of the 6 days (he checked with me first and I was perfectly happy with the idea as it is fun to do this sort of thing with other people). They were pleased to come along. However it now turns out that they will be bringing two children with them (the girlfriend's from a previous relationship), when we invited them, the understanding was that the children were with their father that week.

I am really not keen on this happening at all. It means the apartment will be full to bursting (someone will be sleeping on pull out sofa in living room, the only small bedroom will need to have 4 people in it and two people will have to sleep in bunks in the hall). French ski apartments are tiny and there is never enough space to store/dry ski things, and there will be only one combined shower-room with the toilet in it for 8 people. We are self-catering so going to have to organise meals for 4 adults and 4 children around a table that only sits 6 at a squeeze.

Also the two children who now appear to be coming are of the noisy, jump on sofas, talk back to their mum (and others) type. Last time we spent time with them she got pretty frazzled. I feel sorry for them all, she is exhausted, she works full time and a single mum with young children who are obviously finding the upheaval of their parents divorce really hard. That doesn't mean I want to spend 3 days squeezed into a small apartment/going skiing with them though. Even worse, the mum is a beginner skier so I'm not too sure who is going to be in charge of her kids on the slopes as they ski better than she does and I can't see them being content to keep their mum happy on green runs.

AIBU to want to set some ground rules with everybody before we go? Such as each family is responsible for their kids and only their own and can we please not have the blokes off doing the black runs whilst the mums take kids to the toilet/sort lunch for them/sort out another change of dry gloves/drop them off and pick them up from lessons, etc? I also want us to have some idea of what we are going to eat in the evening and to have discussed who is sleeping where before we arrive. Really, I would prefer this not to be happening like this but we are just going to have to get on with it now.

Callisto Wed 20-Feb-13 09:49:05

Sorry, but I don't understand why the childcare would fall to you? The other mother has a partner yes? So surely he will be the one doing the childcare? And both of the men going off for the day while the women look after the children? This isn't the 1950's anymore, not even in France.

OP, it sounds like my idea of hell (the badly behaved children in particular), but really, it is only three days, and you will only have to do childcare and catering if you allow yourself to be walked over. Be firm that everyone (including men and children) mucks in and it should be manageable.

Beachcomber Wed 20-Feb-13 09:49:56

DH isn't that bothered. He is much better at saying no to stuff than I am (probably because he's french!) so he would feel perfectly happy saying 'sorry no' if the mum asks him to help out with her kids on the slopes, etc.

I am an overly polite Brit so will find it much harder to say no to her, especially if the poor thing is struggling to even sort herself out. I think that is why I would prefer a little beforehand planning - so I don't end up with DH and male friend off having a great time on the black runs and me being asked to manage 4 kids on the blues - which to my mind would be unsafe.

usually when we ski as a family we split our time with the kids in a way where DH gets to go and do some difficult stuff or off piste - at that point I have the kids on the blues. Then DH has the kids and I get to concentrate on myself/practice/do drills/try reds. We also ski as a family a fair bit, all together because we enjoy skiing with our (youngish) children.

I don't want to be in the position of dealing with the other mum and her kids when I am doing my turn with my own children. DH is much less bothered than me as he is a much better skier and could manage that better but would also be much frencher and rude direct with the mum about her children not being our responsibility.

Sugarice Wed 20-Feb-13 09:54:28

You should make it clear from the outset that you aren't going to be Nanny to her children over the three days.

Say to friend and gf : I didn't plan on your dc's being here, are you going to be ok managing them what with gf being a beginner, I'll be busy with our dc's remember.

Beachcomber Wed 20-Feb-13 09:58:10

You are right Callisto - we are not in the 50s even in France. grin

I think I don't want to bank on the fact that partner will help with kids. He is a very very good snowboarder and they aren't his children - he hasn't known the children for very long as this is quite a new relationship.

I'm probably being a bit controlling in wanting to sit down and discuss how things are going to be organised beforehand. I think I'm just trying to pre-empt a situation where the blokes head off for a morning of black runs and the other mum can't cope and I have to help her (whilst managing my own kids and wasting an expensive ski pass on helping 4 kids get their skis and boots on).

Sugarice Wed 20-Feb-13 10:00:37

The more you say the more of a bloody cheek it is that you weren't consulted before concrete plans on inviting the children were made.

Beachcomber Wed 20-Feb-13 10:03:40

I didn't plan on your dc's being here, are you going to be ok managing them what with gf being a beginner, I'll be busy with our dc's remember.

Yes, this is the sort of thing I want to say beforehand I think.

I want him to realise that his (expensive) ski pass will have to be used to help out with his GFs kids for much of the time. Especially as he is very very good and probably hasn't been on a green or a blue (unless it led to a bar!) for the last ten years and he probably has NO IDEA what a faff it is skiing with kids and how much time you waste helping them to sort their stuff/go to the toilet/have snacks/etc. And also what a responsibility is is having them on tows/chairlifts/etc.

OK. I need to suck it up. Make the best of it. And practice saying 'non'!

LIZS Wed 20-Feb-13 10:03:43

I would be too. I think the men see it as opportunity to have a good ski under the guise of a family holiday and you will be left with 5 4 kids and a beginner "friend". Will they entertain the kids at all after skiing, cook perhaps or just head for the bar ? How old are the children, surely the beginner would need refresher lessons or at least be cautious, leaving you potentially responsible for all 4. Could you suggest they rent an apartment next door ? Can you ring her direct and discuss arrangements as "you know what men are like sounds so easy but I think there has been some misunderstanding so how is this going to work..."

Saski Wed 20-Feb-13 10:13:12

There is no fucking way I would agree to this. These people, by way of misunderstanding or cheek, are threatening to hijack your holiday.

Are there some financial arrangements that have somehow emboldened your guests? Are they paying half?

Beachcomber Wed 20-Feb-13 10:22:03

Blokes are not the 'head to the bar' and leave the womenfolk to manage the children types. I think after skiing will be OK, just a squeeze and a bit hectic for showers, meals, etc. Both men will expect to cook, clean up, etc. I am going food shopping on friday so will phone friends and ask how we are going to organise food. (there is no supermarket in the resort)

No, they haven't been emboldened by financial arrangements. Although I think we need to discuss who pays what. We aren't expecting them to pay towards the apartment but they are the sort who will offer.

Callisto Wed 20-Feb-13 10:22:30

Sounds like the partner will be less than helpful. And I can see his point really. I don't think I would be bringing children on this kind of holiday with a new bloke, and if I was the childless partner, I would be less than impressed with having to provide childcare for a couple of bratty kids. Of course this isn't your problem Beach, but the more you tell us the more it sounds like the children will be really hard work.

I think you need to tell your husband to tell his friend that his partners children jut are not welcome. Good luck.

StuckOnARollercoaster Wed 20-Feb-13 10:23:00

Surely the answer here is to talk to your DH about your concerns and make sure the 2 of you are a 'united front' with regard to not getting left on your own with all the kids.

Saski Wed 20-Feb-13 10:28:33

I'm actually irritated with these people.

TippiShagpile Wed 20-Feb-13 10:33:11

I had a situation like this once OP. It ruined my holiday.

DH and his mate were up and away on the first ski lift and spent the day doing their off piste malarkey and I ended up having to hang out with his mate's wife and their kids on the nursery slopes. They were all beginners, they didn't want to pay for ski school for their kids (mine were at ski school in the morning) and I felt bad at leaving them so I ended up hanging around. After 2 days I told her dh to pull his finger out and spend some time with his wife and kids (in a polite way of course) so my children and I could get some skiing done.

Beachcomber Wed 20-Feb-13 10:38:58

Thank you everyone for commenting, it is really helping. Helping me to feel better and that IANBU by not wanting this to happen and giving me ideas on how to limit the damage now.

I was surprised to hear the kids were coming at all - I suspect a British couple would have cancelled once they knew they would be having the kids, for their own sakes. French people are much more casual about introducing new partners to kids, going away with them, etc.

Personally I wouldn't go away on holiday with my children (even for 3 nights) with a partner unless we actually lived together. Currently they both have their own houses but are pretty much always at one house or the other. I'm not too sure how long they have been spending time together all 4 of them though.

There are very nice people honestly! I think a lot of this is a cultural difference between me as a Brit and them as French people who are more causal about kids be it in relationships or squeezed into apartments

I think my main plan will be to forewarn them that I wont be a 'ski nanny'.

Beachcomber Wed 20-Feb-13 10:45:54

DH and his mate were up and away on the first ski lift

That is the sort of thing I'm worried about.

People who are good skiers/boarders are on the lift before less good people (especially kids) have managed to get their boots on and find their gloves.

I DON'T want the good skiers to disappear 'just for a quick warm up' whilst I am left to sort out 4 kids and a beginner. I know the answer is for them to book themselves lessons and will suggest this but I don't know if there will be places available at this late date, nor if they can afford them.

Sugarice Wed 20-Feb-13 10:54:24

Sort it out beforehand and make it perfectly clear.

They are nice people you say so they should be understanding that you won't be expecting to do all of the graft and caring for three extra bodies whilst on the slopes.

NorthernLurker Wed 20-Feb-13 11:02:38

It sounds like they are pleasant people so you should be able to work this out. I couldn't bear to disappoint excited kids - even if they are brats - so I would have to muddle on. No reason why you can't agree a food rota though and after all there will be three days when they aren't there at all as well right?

BuiltForComfort Wed 20-Feb-13 11:36:47

The trick here is to arrange your own skiing and do NOT feel responsible for the other dcs or gf. Your DH's mate is her partner, he is the reason she's coming, it's up to him to help her get organised, book lessons etc. beginners need lots of help and that is HIS job not yours. Organise yourself in the same way you would if they were not coming. Choose somewhere accessible for lunch and say you will meet them there at x time. Go out with your DH and dcs, ski as a family first or drop them in school & hit the slopes with your DH. Get your DH on side with this - its his mate and their miscommunication. If you meet for lunch you can then ski as a group after and give your DH's mate a chance for a bit of fast skiing IF his gf is competent enough to ski some gentle runs with you and dcs.

LIZS Wed 20-Feb-13 11:39:38

Which 3 days is it ? If you have already established your family's routine by their arrival then you can more easily say we're off to warm up, meet you at x o'clock by lift y.

Beachcomber Wed 20-Feb-13 11:47:00

That is sound advice BuiltForComfort. I need to get on with things as I would normally and they will have to sort themselves out, certainly for a fair bit of the time. I don't mind doing some gentle greens with her - I'm an intermediate skier and am happy to do some gentle skiing on easy slopes as I use them to practice my own technique and there is great scenery where we are going so it is perfectly pleasant to so gentle stuff with a beginner (we've all been there and someone was nice enough to spend some time with us). I just don't want to be doing it with 4 kids to look after at the same time.

AFAIA, she can ski a bit - she has been before on two occasions and I think can slow plough her way down a straightforward green. She is nervous of lifts though and anything at all steeper than a gentle green or long (fair enough for a beginner).

And yes, we will have 3 days to ourselves to do our own thing too.

Beachcomber Wed 20-Feb-13 11:49:18

LIZS, unfortunately it is the first three days.

Although at least that means we have the other three days to look forward to and will appreciate the quiet apartment once they have left!

SeventiesBush Wed 20-Feb-13 12:01:48

I agree, just organize yourselves, I wouldn't make any formal, preemptive statement that you're not going to be looking after their kids, just decide what your family is going to do and do it.

Then they will either have to ask you if you can take care of beginners/kids and you can say no, or you can have a casual "so what are your plans for today" chat at breakfast, and if there's any sort of "Well, we thought we could leave the kids with you for the morning" or whatever, again, you just say gosh, no, sorry, you'll have your hands full already, shall you all meet up for lunch/hot chocolate after the lifts close?

zoobaby Wed 20-Feb-13 12:02:07

I think you need to make your expectations/limits very clear to your DH and have an agreement between the 2 of you. You defo do not want to get stuck with extra kids purely from the logistical nightmare that is toileting while kitted out in ski gear (I say this as someone who's never been up a mountain with kids).

If the "dad" and the extra 2DCs are similar ability to your family, why don't you just stick together en-mass for 2 days? If not, they can be his responsibility completely. Also, since kids tend to be daredevils, suggest that the 2 men take all 4 on some of the more adventurous pistes? Or fiddle about in the ski park if there is one. I'm less confident than my DP so I'd absolutely insist that I never be left with unknown kids who might get ahead of me. Maybe agree to meet the mum somewhere at lunch and perhaps agree on some time when the kids would be with her (tough if they get bored).

It's easy to be insistent (and justified) about arrangements on the slopes, but I'm really feeling your pain for in the apartment. Yikes! Will the stove be large enough to cook for that many? I remember we once had to cook spag... had to cook mince first then pasta second as stove wasn't big enough for 2 pots simultaneously. Haha.

NorthernLurker Wed 20-Feb-13 12:15:32

if there is an oven you can slow cook bolognase in that

Beachcomber Wed 20-Feb-13 12:45:56

I think you need to make your expectations/limits very clear to your DH and have an agreement between the 2 of you.

Yes, I think this is key.

You are all being most helpful with all your positive suggestions. Am feeling a bit less like half our holiday has the potential to be ruined.

Cooking is going to be tricky - two electric rings and a microwave are what we have to work with. There is a dishwasher though and an electric 'raclette' thing that doubles as a crepe thing (technical term). I am thinking about bringing my slow cooker - it is pretty big so we could shove some meat and veg in it in the morning and then just have to boil up some rice or potatoes to go with it when we get back. Can't help feeling pissed off that am finding myself thinking about the logistics of food preparation though (bah humbug!).

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