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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

dreamingbohemian Wed 10-Jul-13 10:23:52

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.

DamnDeDoubtance Wed 10-Jul-13 10:27:31

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 like...like 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.

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