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Give me yur tips for surviving a holiday with extended family

(15 Posts)
whatdayisit Fri 08-Aug-08 19:00:20

My Dad has booked a week's holiday in the UK, for Mum and Dad, me, DH and our 2 DC's, plus my sister, her DH and their 2 DC's. 4 boys in total ages, 1,2,5 & 7.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but as it draws closer, I'm starting to worry it will be quite stressful. My main issues are:

- My sister has a very short fuse
-My mum will never give an opinion on anything, but if you make the "wrong" decision, will then spend the rest of the day saying "are you sure"
-Dad enjoys moaning, which generally we all ignore, but for a week..?
-I have the oldest 2 of the 4 boys. I don't think they are badly behaved, but they are boys. My dad and sister's DH are pretty free with their criticism of the boy's behaviour and Dad of my parenting methods.
-DH gets impatient with my parent's inability to make a decision.
-I will get over sensitive if it feels like the babies are being cooed over all the time and my DC's are being told off constantly.

Really all these are lovely people and for a day at a time we would have a great time together, but for a week in close confines, I think I'm going to need the patience of a saint (so will they). The children will love having their grandparents for a whole week and my DC's love being with their little cousins, but the extra excitement isn't going to help their behaviour. At least AF's just been,so at least I won't have PMT smile

What are your top tips?

moondog Fri 08-Aug-08 19:08:40

Don't go.
No, seriously, spend at least some time a day apart even if only a nap in your room.

FluffyMummy123 Fri 08-Aug-08 19:10:18

Message withdrawn

cornsilk Fri 08-Aug-08 19:12:03

Grit your teeth very hard.

SammyK Fri 08-Aug-08 19:12:08

Spend lots of time away from them grin,

wander off and lose them for a few hours

have early wink night

have a full day trip with just you, DH and your dcs.

You get the idea.

We often go away as a group and the only way it can work is with time away from them in the mix!

TheGreatScootini Fri 08-Aug-08 19:16:53

We have just returned from a week in the middle of nowhere with DH's family (22 of them!)It was nightmarish.Ive never known people to bicker so much over nothing..Really at least two people out of the group were giving each other the siletn treatment on any given day, so it became akin to being a UN peacekeeper, trying to remember who was cross with who and not inadvertently siding with someone by passing them the salt at the wrong time grin

I got through it by going to bed early.The later in the evening it got and the more drunk they became the more they bickered, so I figured I was best off out of it.And I didnt drink much lest I lost self control and said what I wanted to say smile

In the day I made sure I did my fair share of cooking/cleaning up etc then spent the rest of the time doing outdoorsy things with my DD's and some of their cousins..DH and I made our plans for the following day in the evening and let everyone know what they were and said whoever wanted to come could.That saved rows over who was doing what when and hurt feelings when someone suggested going to say a stately home and we would have had to say no (as our DD's are very little and not to be trusted with artefacts and such like).

Good luck grinCan you MN whilst you are there to vent if needed?

TheProvincialLady Fri 08-Aug-08 19:24:43

I went on holiday with FIL, MIL and SIL last month. We survived by not spending too much time with them and especially by not spending endless hours faffing over where to go, how to get there, what tea shop to use, etc etc. We decided what WE wanted to do each day, based on our own interests and what the others had said they might like to do. If it suited us, we did it together. If it didn't, we did things separately. I think FIL would rather we had done everything together but that is his cross to bear, not mine, and at least he is still alive after the holiday which he wouldn't have been if we had been together too much!

Basically, don't be a martyr and ignore anyone who acts the martyr around you. You are there for a holiday so make sure you do the things you like to do on holiday.

moondog Fri 08-Aug-08 19:26:19

Blimey Scoot! Did you all cook and shop? I like the idea of a big gang get together but think chef essential.

Bink Fri 08-Aug-08 19:46:27

Top tips:

- accommodation? Have at least something that is your OWN space, where you (& dh) can retreat & pour yourselves huge G&Ts & then emerge looking all Zen with a frozen happy smile

- meals - who's in charge? Are you in a hotel, or self-catering (and, if self-catering, can you do separate meals or are you stuck all together)? If your sister has a short fuse on the spot, but is reasonable when less stressed: if self-catering, do emailing organisation to sort out a meal plan with her so you both know what is going to be served up by whom when (I can't emphasise enough how much this helps, and somehow it doesn't matter if one does more than one's fair share so long as you don't get tangled in that awful awful last-minute stress-stuff)

- activities - do your homework on what's available around where you're going to be, tell your sister what looks good (again, in advance, if (as above) she's fine with warning & is only short-fused when ambushed (actually - you know - with boys of 2 and 1 she's kind of entitled to lose it sometimes smile)) and make plans - and then just stick to them whatever ghastly dithering your parents do.

As an example: we like to take another family with us to our holiday house, and at least a couple of times during the week first thing in the morning I on my own just proactively take the ambulant kids (mine & the other family's) to the beach. No questions (apart from letting other parents know what I'm going to do!) - no negotiation - no-one else involved. Works like a dream. And it's so no effort, really, compared with the awfulness of mass ad hoc confused decision-making

TheGreatScootini Fri 08-Aug-08 19:55:31

Gaah.It was decided that one couple would shop each day and then cook that night.Therby everyone took it in turns.But try catering for 22 peoples tastes.We were going to do a huge curry on our night, but we ended up doing a chicken one, a beef one and sodding dahl too.Cooking for 22 is no picnic.Nor were the wrangles about what people wanted on the shopping list, nor the splitting the bill afterwards ad finitum.
And dont get me started on the near fist fight that occurred one night over who hadnt washed up.I beg of you.
I did not come back relaxed.We are going to Gran Canaria on Monday for a week to recover grinJust the four of us, needless to say.
DH has conceded that it was not a good idea and that we are never doing it again.A weekend maybe (in 10 years or so) but no longer than

whatdayisit Sat 09-Aug-08 12:07:33

Thank you for those.

We've been away with my parents before and that was Ok. When Dc's were very small, I was just pleased to have some help TBH, but adding sister to the mix?

For food we have agreed that each couple will take one meal ready prepared (spag bol or something easy to reheat) we will have fish and chips at least once and prob go to the pub for a roast on Sunday, so hopefully that will be OK.

I'm taking my running shoes, so if all else fails I can disappear for an hour.

I agree sister is entitled to a short fuse with 2 under 3, but she's always had it. I'm hoping she'll be so grateful for some help with the Dc's that she'll cust the rest of us some slack tis time. smile

Anniegetyourgun Sat 09-Aug-08 12:20:24


Oh sorry, projecting a bit there. If you weren't a much more patient person than I am you would never have agreed to go away with extended family in the first place. (Even I have been on holiday with my sister and we both survived the experience, so it can be done.)

Some excellent advice here, I suggest you take all of it except mine!

muggglewump Sat 09-Aug-08 12:32:22

Good Luck!
I went on holiday with my Dad this year and it was utterly awful.
It didn't help that I had no money and I don't drive so I was stuck with what he wanted to do. I did make plans without him the last two days and used taxis but he sulked at that even though he sulked when we were with him.
So long as your family aren't as unreasonable as my Dad, you'll survive.

Uranus Sat 09-Aug-08 12:41:02

lots of wine, great tunes on your ipod so you can block the others out when needed, a sympathetic DH that you can bitch to when it all gets too much

DeeRiguer Sat 09-Aug-08 12:45:00

getting the wobbles a bit too
and its only my mum and dad late sept spain
for a week and i wouldve spent that time visiting them anyway so..

agree with others its important to state what youfancy doing and do it..
time alone is important i learnt that in week 2

shock at 22!

we had nightmare one with dh family (bil sil 2 dn and pil) but do not know them well or would never have gone (they live stateside, thank the lord) would NOT do it again...(with them) but pil yes i would they are chilled on holiday..
uncle barney aunty brenda have been staying with pil for a week and only eat meat n two veg despite living in southern spain hmm
i thought that would be difficult to cater for (dont eat meat for a start!) but 22!
hat off!

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