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to have hated my holiday in France with my children?

(169 Posts)
kiera Mon 20-Apr-09 10:10:29

dh thinks IABU. we just had a week in Brittany and after a few days I just wanted to come home, even though I had been the one that had organised it:

- took overnight ferry over thinking would be great idea, ds2 (2) didn't sleep well so got little sleep, would only sleep with us on v narrow beds
- ds2 then threw up twice in the car when we got off the ferry (sea-sick?)
- owner of the gite tried to rip us off by demanding a clean gite from top to bottom at the end of the week or we pay her 45 euros to do it herself, plus charging for bed linen and towels if we had not brought our own, and demanded a £200 security deposit cheque before we went - is this common practice in France?!?
- remote control for the DVD player missing, owner eventually found it and dropped it off - half way through the week - so dh and I could not enjoy films together as planned
- ds1 aged 5 whining complaining not wanting to walk if we went anywhere other than the beach ie anything he didn't want to do
- both children refusing to eat the food, even familiar foods, then having tantrums when denied ice-creams as a consequence
- much planning and cooking of dinner to ensure it was something they would eat only to have it rejected
- tried to have a meal out but both kids so badly behaved we never did it again - sticking forks in the table, making loads of noise, complaining etc etc, didn't eat the (not cheap) food even though just burger and chips
- kids rejected me all week in favour of dh who was the 'favoured parent' as he is normally at work
- no time with dh to myself apart from the 2 hours in front of the telly inbetween them going to bed and us going to bed
- the worry about the ferry crossing home - 9 hours on the ferry - in case ds2 sick again (was fine thank goodness)

At times I felt like I hated my children and I hated being away and I feel like the Ungrateful Mother/Wife from Hell!!! Dh cannot understand why I am not gloriously happy...

kiera Mon 20-Apr-09 10:11:39

oh yeah and I was on my period so no sex either grrrr!

mum23monkeys Mon 20-Apr-09 10:17:26

holidays are often a let down if you have expectations of a relaxing time, once you have small children.

The food thing drives me mad (dc1 is very fussy) so the last few times we have gone on the ferry to France I have taken a freezer bag with a huge spag bol in it, as well as a huge chunk of 'normal' cheese. It has taken the pressure off.

I'm not sure if you are BU or not really. Sounds like your expectations were a bit U, but maybe dh could have helped more? But your dc are still quite little, you're still in the 'plain hard work with no appreciation' stage.

I do understand though, and it probably feels worse right now if you are faced with all the unpacking and a mountain of washing.

MorningTownRide Mon 20-Apr-09 10:17:58

YANBU - when we went to Lanzarote I spent most of the day in a basement area because there was a ride on car that ds wanted to play on.

On the days he wasn't allowed down there he spent most of the time whining to play on the car.

Dh spent a lovely time swimming and playing with dd.

Did have loads of holiday sex though!!

babybarrister Mon 20-Apr-09 10:22:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BecauseImWorthIt Mon 20-Apr-09 10:26:02

YANBU! Where's the holiday for you if you're self catering?

And children of that age don't switch off just because you're on holiday.

But it will get better as they get older, honestly.

(and I don't think the gite owner was trying to rip you off - you are expected to do a final clean in the gite or take the option of paying for a cleaner - and it's routine to ask for money as a deposit).

Grumpyoldcaaaaaaaa Mon 20-Apr-09 10:29:29

Sounds like all my holidays - we go to France every year!

The cleaning and deposit is standard - did you not book through a Company here who advised you of this? We paid a EUR 250 last year.

You get used to it, I personally love it now.

ABetaDad Mon 20-Apr-09 10:32:27

kiera - had the same experience when DS1 and DS2 were 4 and 2 years old. Building up the expectation of holiday is also part of the problem.

TBH we solved it by just not going on holiday again until DSs were 5 and 7 respectively. It was just a waste of time and money before that age and like you I just came back hating the whole idea. For small children a holiday is just a lot of change and stress - not relaxing for them or for you either.

Maybe get grandparents to take your children for a few days so you can go away with DH to a really nice country house hotel in the UK and get to know each other again? Having kids this age is the worst part - it will recover from here.

LauriefairycakeeatsCupid Mon 20-Apr-09 10:37:57

You were not on holiday. The accent was just different.


kiera Mon 20-Apr-09 10:41:04

BecauseImWorthIt/Grumpy - thank you for clearing that one up about the gite before I sent her an email of complaint!!!

Thank you everyone for your reassurance. At what age do children get better lol? I honestly do forget that I am still stuck in a hard phase - it's paradise compared to when they were babies, that WAS hell!!!

I would love to go away with dh but we have no-one to have the kids. He has no parents and I only have my mum who won't babysit but that's another issue angry!

Grumpyoldcaaaaaaaa Mon 20-Apr-09 12:56:38

Just to clarify - when I proclaimed 'I personally love it now'!!! I was referring to going to France on holiday and staying in a gite (I eat solidly for the whole holiday), not forking out deposits.

I have found Kiera that my 2 have become better as the holidays have progressed food-wise. We've been through the buger 'n' chips trauma ('but the burgers are weird mum and I don't like the chips'), the whole 'I want Red Leicester cheese' thing. One holiday in particular I seem to recall cooking spag bol every night and making ham baguettes EVERY lunchtime!!! Still, they were on holiday.

Just in case anyone thought I was a bit odd grinwink

And my 2 are now 11 and 4 (and I'm gestating one, conceived on our last trip to France, at the moment).

ABetaDad Mon 20-Apr-09 13:00:31

kier - you are in exactly the same boat as us. Grandparents who are apparently totally incapable of looking after kids. It is a wonder me and my wife managed to survive childhood. That is why we just ended up not going on holiday at all for several years but the Grandparents still went on 3 holidays a year. angry

It will get better. smile

OrmIrian Mon 20-Apr-09 13:04:41

It sounds hellish but I think your expectations were a littke skewed. Your DC are not going to be that different on holiday to they way they are at home - maybe worse as they are unsettled. It gets worse as you get more stressed and tired and they respond to that, and you all find it harder and harder to make the best of everything.

How old are they?

I think that for the first few years holidays aren't holidays as we know it. They are 'washing up with a different view' as my mum puts it wink

onepieceofcremeegg Mon 20-Apr-09 13:08:08

I prefer shorter holidays now, like ABetaDad suggests I personally would be happy to stay at home, but dh prefers to go on holiday.

As a compromise we generally go Mon-Friday or a long weekend in this country. (this also limits the heap of laundry that comes back with you). We eat out a LOT. My dcs aren't particularly fussy, but if I think they will be tired etc I just take suitable snacks to the restaurant/pub. (easy things like a bit of bread and butter, fruit etc)

Also we have short weekends away with NO dcs once or twice a year now.

onepieceofcremeegg Mon 20-Apr-09 13:10:19

kiera you will be able to go away eventually without them. (I don't mean when they leave home (!) I mean when they become old enough for sleepovers in a few years).

Incidentally on one holiday we had, dd1 woke at 5am every morning - it was absolutely horrible and ruined it for me.

Zinaide Mon 20-Apr-09 13:18:09

If this was a Gite de France booked through their regional office in France then it is normal to charge a security deposit of between 150-300 euros depending on the level of decor. They do also usually charge for bedlinen and towels but make it very clear beforehand that they are going to. You can always bring your own, the gite owners don't mind either way.
If you booked the gite through Brittany Ferries then they should have told you clearly how gites work, so you didn't get any surprises on arrival.
I agree that those overnight ferries are a pit of Hades and we have never taken the dcs on them. We honestly prefer a longer drive from Calais as the roads are really good now.
It really does get better, we have great times in France now the dcs are 6 and 10.

Zinaide Mon 20-Apr-09 13:19:28

And the clean is normal too, I'm afraid.

I would comment to either G de F or Brittany Ferries on the lack of the remote as DVD players are one of the extras that bumps up the rating and allows the owner to charge more.

themoon66 Mon 20-Apr-09 13:25:32

First time I took ours to Europe they both nearly starved sad We went on eurotunnel and drove all the way down to the Med, taking 2 or 3 days. I can honestly say that both kids only drank coke and ate crisps in all those traveling days. Oh yes, DS ate half a dry roll at breakfast one morning.

I was past caring by the time we got to Lyon.

Gateau Mon 20-Apr-09 13:45:19

"I think that for the first few years holidays aren't holidays as we know it. They are 'washing up with a different view'"
Not for me they're not; we've decided to go a hotel this year and get spoilt. It's my holiday too- and DH's also. Why should we cook, clean and worry about what to have for dinner every night? Where's the holiday there?

kiera Mon 20-Apr-09 13:45:26

OrmIran - dcs are 5 and 2. Don't know what I was thinking really - I forget how unsettled they are, ds2 esp, away from home. I just thought they would be so happy as they would be able to go on the beach every day!

ABetaDad - when we came home I said to my dh "I miss you!" he said but we've just spent a week together - but we hadn't spent a week TOGETHER IYKWIM. Just having a day together makes all the difference to our relationship - I'd rather have a day than an evening as it's longer and I'm not so knackered. we belong to a babysitting circle for evening sitting. going to have to beg childless friends for day sitting tho!

cremeegg, I agree about shorter hols. a few days would have been much better. I think that was about the time I started wanting to go home!

dh has agreed to me taking a long weekend away next bank hol, I am going abroad with my mum. that will be fab but even so I wish it was with him instead sad

kiera Mon 20-Apr-09 13:46:08

PS lol at themoon's coke and crisp eating dcs!

kiera Mon 20-Apr-09 13:47:07

yeah gateau - that's my thinking for our next (short) break

mumblechum Mon 20-Apr-09 13:48:32

We didn't take ds abroad till he was five for the reasons you describe, but are v lucky in that we could leave him with my parents for a week while we swanned off to Tuscany.

Now the prob is that he's 14, comes with us and is bored out of his tree.

So it kind of gets better but not.

Sorry. grin

fiplus4 Mon 20-Apr-09 13:49:27

Also just had week in Brittany in gite. Daytime ferry Portsmouth-Caen had cinema showing Monsters vs Aliens and decent restaurant that didn't bat an eyelid at 4 children not sitting bolt upright in their seats. Our gite was booked direct online with UK owner (and much cheaper than BF ones) but looked after there by local farmer's wife & we just had to dump our dirty sheets & towels in bath tub before we left. No traffic in hamlet so children roamed free - current in electric fences no real hazard! Did castles and rock pools and boat trips and all that sort of stuff & ate lots of crepes which are cheap and uncontroversial. One severly squashed finger was dealt with really kindly by local hospital with minimum fuss. No telly in gite, which horrified the brood before we went but took laptop and small selection of DVDs. Our youngest now 5, though, which probably helps. Holidays can be just that - sometimes.

Gateau Mon 20-Apr-09 13:51:10

We always sneered at the thought of hotels abroad - crappy, generic buffet food etc (DH and I are foodies and love cooking!!), but I have researched one particular hotel thoroughly and the food is reportedly very good. Granted, it's not going to be a spectacular gourmet experience but to have food cooked and on the table and being cleaned up after is enough for me!

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