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Will this be a relaxing holiday for me?

(27 Posts)
tigermoth Sat 17-Apr-04 09:38:23

many facets to this problem so a basic outline:

This year we have not booked a holiday since dh and I have uncertain work commitments (possible job changes temporary contracts etc). This means we can't really afford a formal holiday. We often take our main holiday with our inlaws in Devon and indeed we were counting on this. But they are putting their house on the market so have told us they don't want guests this summer. We will go for a long weekend and that's it. I am a bit gutted about this but understand the reasons why.

Soo... dh's friend and his wife have invited us to visit their new villa in Spain for a week as and when we can manage it. Wonderful you say, but here's the catch. Both of them are teachers specialising in primary and early years, heads of department, many years experience. One of them has taught my son (not at his current school). I know they will be off duty, and they are both very nice people but I will still feel watched and judged, just because of what they do. I would say my style of parenting is a bit laid back and my sons will be very lively and exciteable, I know it. They always are in a strange place. The couple know our sons, but have never spent more than a few hours outside a classrooom setting with them. The woman is also a stickler for neatness and very houseproud I have been told. Every time I think of the holiday I get the jitters. Will this work out? and what happens when teachers are off duty? do they switch off?

Jimjams Sat 17-Apr-04 09:41:45

I take it they don't have children?

I wouldn't go (sorry!). we had a similar conversation about visiting dh's aunt - but I think ds1 would be too much for her so we're not going. It would just be a nightmare. I know I need *very* understanding people if I am to stay somewhere with ds1 (even in-laws are a nightmare tbh). Your situation is less extreme but sounds as if it could be similar.

Sorry you're not coming down- would have liked to meet up

JJ Sat 17-Apr-04 09:50:20

I wouldn't go. I find it hard having playdates with people who are like that, even if they have kids the same age. The phrase "stickler for neatness and very housproud" made me break into a cold sweat just thinking about it ...

You're welcome here anytime. I'm the exact opposite...

Tinker Sat 17-Apr-04 10:50:41

I wouldn't go either tigermoth. I got the jitters just reading your post. I think going on holiday with any other couple/family would be extremely stressful even if you know them very well. But with such completley differing approaches to raising kids/housework etc sounds like a recipe for a very unrelaxing break. Sorry.

Chandra Sat 17-Apr-04 11:16:40

I wouldn't go, the problem of visiting a house is that in someway you need to respect the *household rules* and if the expectations are so different it's not going to be nice for any of you...
PS..No, teachers never switch off... at least my mother never did...

jaffacat Sat 17-Apr-04 11:23:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jmg1 Sat 17-Apr-04 11:33:42

Message withdrawn at user request

WideWebWitch Sat 17-Apr-04 11:34:04

Haven't read the other responses but noooooooooo! Don't go! You're right, it won't be relaxing for you. Especially if she's houseproud. What about doing an NCT (or mumsnet) houseswap instead?

mummysurfer Sat 17-Apr-04 11:47:53

i'm with jaffacat. i too teach and have lots of friends who stay with us with children of different personalities and attitudes and i would be upset to think they might not come because i'm a taecher.
if they are very experienced they will have seen it all before
when deciding whether to go or not i would be considering the villa and its location.
hope you have a nice time

bossykate Sat 17-Apr-04 13:54:47

"Every time I think of the holiday I get the jitters" >>> tm, i think you have answered your own question! good luck at finding another holiday option

JJ Sat 17-Apr-04 14:04:42

jmg, nope, in Switzerland. And we don't live in a new lovely villa.

We love guests, though! As long as they don't get the shakes staying in a messy, chaotic house.

It's not the fact that you're staying with teachers, tigermoth, it's the fact that it sounds like you'd be stressed about the state of the house every waking moment.

oiseau Sat 17-Apr-04 14:56:39

I posted yesterday on a similar problem (pressurised to go and stay at in-laws villa in v un-child friendly resort). We have finally decided we are going but only because its family and we have turned them down three years in a row now! It sounds like you can quite easily get out of this one without doing any lasting damage to the relationship.

As bossykate says I think you answered your own question! If you aren't looking forward to it its not off to a good start. House swap option sounds a good one to me.

tigermoth Sat 17-Apr-04 15:47:54

oh, difficult to follow your advice. You see, dh is really keen on going and he is best friends with the other bloke. The couple have children (grown up now) and would consider themselves very hands on and practical. They would be hurt to think we felt they couldn't cope with us. Also, my oldest son is very keen to go (best chance of a holiday we have at the moment) and to be honest, I can't trust him not to put his foot in it and say something embarassing if we decline the offer. And I do want to make it work out somehow.

So, going on the assumption we will do this, any damage limitation suggestions from you? Any nice (and true) stories of tolerant teachers living in close proximity on holiday?

I will be taking the boys out as much as possible, and definitely will check the size of the villa - anything too small and I will put my foot down. Must dash - expecting a visit from my friend, the social worker - her son is staying for a sleep over

Tinker Sat 17-Apr-04 17:38:58

Ah, well that puts a different light on it. Well, my mum was a teacher and I went on holiday with her as a child . But, I realise it's not the teacher bit that's got you worried. I'd just create as much space between you in the days, don't plan to spend all/any of the daytimes together. If you get on, you can always change those plans but I'd go on that proviso.

Janh Sat 17-Apr-04 17:55:16

Oooh, tigermoth, I would go like a shot. I wouldn't think for a minute they will be "watching and judging" - having had children of their own and knowing just what normal primary age children can be like I should think they would actually be quite understanding and tolerant (and, as you say, off duty).

We went to Spain last year with my cousin, who used to be a secondary school teacher though now does one-to-one with SEN in primary school. We have boys the same age, 14 then, and DS2 was just 10. Her son is very quiet and civilised, DS1 isn't (as you know!) and there was never a hint of censure (though I think she was glad to wave goodbye to us at the end of the holiday!) I know she is family but she says what she thinks as a rule.

I can see the neatness issue could be a problem but will the boys have their own room? Or be in with you? As long as any of their mess can be confined to their own space, and they don't actually throw food at meals(???), it should be OK. And you won't be together every minute after all.

Hope you can go!

Whereabouts is it? And when would you be going?

tigermoth Sun 18-Apr-04 10:06:17

well, it's nice to hear that Janh - sounds like you had a similar-ish holiday to this one. I think the key is to keep out of our friends' way when the children are at their most lively. TBH I do this already with houseproud PILs when we stay in Devon, but they are family and even if they were fuming at the chaos we cause, they would still put on a nice front. The children don't throw food or start drawing on the walls, but they do make a lot of noise.

I think I need to talk to the couple before the holiday. So far it's been my dh who has organised this with them. I have spoken on the phone but not for long. I want to say that if they feel the boys are getting on their nerves, they have my permission to lay down the law with them if they want to, but we will do our best to keep them in line.

I really wish we had people in our lives who were less houseproud, though. We are not slobs, honestly we could be much worse, but even if the in laws change their minds about us going to Devon, they will be on tenterhooks in case we mess up the house, so whether it's Devon or Sapin, we will be in an ultra neat environment.

The inlaws want to keep their place pristine at all times for viewings, and also prepare for moving into their other house nearby. So lots for them to do. Whatever my secret views on this, this work will come before seeing family this year. When I think of the lived-in places I have seen as a house buyer - bedrooms full of children's toys, hallways full of bikes, paint scuffed on skirting boards etc - it didn't put me off as long as the house was reasonably sound. Still, I know I must accept that the PILs are different.

I am also entering every holiday competition I can find, just in case...

Thanks for the offer, jj I do like the sound of your house.

jimjams - I had intended to look you up if we were round your way for a while in the summer. If plans change, I'll definitely let you know.

Www, a house swap might be a solution so I'll think on. But whether anyone would think it's a holiday to live in our house in this area is debatable. Don't know whether I dare inflict that on an anyone, especially another mumsnetter!

Jimjams Sun 18-Apr-04 10:14:42

Tigermoth- we'll probably be going away sometime (although we're having our own holiday nightmareso I'm not sure ) - so if I can talk dh round you could houses-sit for us! Dh gets funny about this sort of thing though so it would take some serious talking (not becuase he's houseproud just because he's a boring lawyer with the odd file at home).

Every time our friends with autistic dd visit she always goes straight to his study and he comes home to find dogs drawn everywhere. So far its been on postit notes (which he likes) or books but I know she's going to get into one of his files one day. I keep telling him its his own fault and he should get a lock for the room. If she doesn't do it ds1 will anyway.

Slightly OT there. But anyway we are not remotely houseproud- you have to mind not living in a dump (plenty of space though). Toys everywhere.

tigermoth Sun 18-Apr-04 14:45:42

hey, that's lovely of you jimjams! I'll mail you offline in the next day or two so don't say anything to your dh at the moment - plans our end are very fluid, too and more complicated than I've written here.

tigermoth Sun 18-Apr-04 14:46:16

when I say mail you offline - I mean off mumsnet!

carla Sun 18-Apr-04 14:52:13

Haven't read all of this - but being mums - is it EVER going to be a relaxing holiday

Jimjams Sun 18-Apr-04 15:18:04

NAd ous have just got more complicated. We may have decided to can the holiday and go in the october half term instead (when you would be welcome to housesit!) But that will cause a HUGE family row so we may not.

Looking forward to talking to you ofline- although I am away for the next three days (first time since ds1 was born )

AussieSim Sun 18-Apr-04 15:25:01

Go! Teacher's switch off (FIL, SIL and BIL all teachers). And teaching children is not the same thing as being a parent. Holidaying with children is never the relaxing kind of holiday you had before them anyway. I am also sure that this couple have thought it through before they issued the invite and are prepared to be supportive and relaxed.

tigermoth Sun 18-Apr-04 17:24:00

Hope you have a good three days off, jimjams. How exciting! I'll email you before you return.

Thanks for that vote of support, aussiesim. I suppose teachers must switch off to keep their sanity. I do really wonder how they manage to ignore the teacher in them if they are faced with (to them) unacceptable behaviour by parent or child. If they feel they have the skills and experience to sort it out it must be hard not to wade in and not to judge. Away from the orignial subject now, but it's something that bothers me. We count a group of teachers amongst our friends, and I always feel slightly on edge when we take our sons along in their company. Also, (and this surprised me when I first witnessed it)they happily chat about parents of children at the schools they teach in in a generally derogatory way (without naming names) forgetting I am a parent - not a teacher - myself.

AussieSim Sun 18-Apr-04 17:31:47

My SIL bitches about parents too, but mostly parents who treat her like a therapist rather than a teacher, asking for advice about relationships in the family etc etc, as well as parents who invade her privacy by calling her at home or collaring her in the supermarket or whatever. These kinds of pitfalls are relevant to lots of different professions - being from HR - I hear lots of people bitching about us and a bunch of HR people together will bitch about employees, so it is just human nature.

I try not to give a shit what other people think about me unless they feature heavily in my life generally. I have become quite good at it since I have been here in germany as I stick out like dogs balls - dress, language, friendliness etc etc. So long as you are happy and your good friends and family are happy I wouldn't worry about people who only play a 'bit part' in your life. Germans are very strict about classifying people as 'aquaintances' (bekannte) or as 'friends' (freunden) and in this case I think it is really practical.

SenoraPostrophe Sun 18-Apr-04 17:46:08

I think go, too.

Because we live in Spain we often have visitors too and it's *never* been a problem. It's been really nice because we've been able to get to know a lot of friends much better.

Also if these people were really pernickerty then they wouldn't have invited you: they know what kids are like.

Where in Spain is it? In the unlikely event that you do feel uncomfortable you can always come and spend a day with us

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