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I'm not enjoying my family holiday
25

Notenjoyingholiday · 21/09/2018 12:14

I know I am being unreasonable about this so it's more of a vent than anything else.

NC but regular poster.

DH, DS and I are on our first family holiday abroad. DS is 17 months and I'm just not really enjoying it. I think I had certain expectations in my head as to how it would be and the reality is different.

Flight out was a nightmare, DS wouldn't sit still, moaned and cried most of the way and I felt so self conscious. Fortunately there was a spare seat on the flight so a lovely man gave up his seat in our row so we could have somewhere to put DS once the seatbelt sign went off. Dreading the flight back as chances of similar situation re seat arising are slim.

Hotel is lovely, all inclusive, but trying to feed DS is proving hard as all he wants to eat are chips and olives 🙄 I feel like we get 5 mins to throw a meal down our throats before he starts kicking off while DH wants to indulge in multiple courses at the buffet.

I had thought DS might nap during the day on a sun lounger but no he needs to be up in the room, dried and in the cot to sleep, which sometimes can happen 5 mins after he's been creamed and got into the pool. He literally won't sit still or even stay in the pool, wants to walk round and round constantly. His naps never seem to happen at the same time so we have occasionally missed the room being serviced because he's sleeping.

I feel constantly cold and shivery when we get back to the room for naps but DH feels hot so wants air con blasting while I'm shivering under the bedclothes and now I've got a sore head and throat 🙄 We're obviously spending way more time in the direct sun than we otherwise would traipsing round after DS.

I know that DS's behaviour is normal and he's like this at home but I just feel it's magnified by being away. I feel we've wasted our money on the wrong type of holiday. I feel like we should have waited until DS was older (as my DM cautioned at the time of booking) and yet I feel terrible for admitting that I'm not enjoying it when there are families that can't afford a holiday.

Can someone just give me a boot up the arse please?

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NotANotMan · 21/09/2018 12:17

You don't need a boot up the arse you just need to acknowledge that it wasn't the right kind of holiday to book with a toddler, get through it and chalk it up to experience Gin

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LIZS · 21/09/2018 12:23

Just chill. The main thing with small children is to manage expectations. It does not matter if he eats only chips for a few days. Offer fruit, yoghurt etc in between. He may not have a long attention span but try to go out to break the day up, a wander after breakfast or mid afternoon in the buggy may get him off to sleep. Do you have favourite toys with you or can you buy some cheap beach toys. Can you hire bikes with a trailer, visit an animal attraction etc!

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DemocracyDiesInDarkness · 21/09/2018 12:26

Sounds exactly like our first holiday with DD. Was god awful from start to finish. 18 months is a shit age to take them abroad. They don't really enjoy anything, they don't nap as easily as small babies.

Let him go nuts on olives and chips though, no harm there!

Then wait until he's 3, forget what it was like, and do it all again Grin

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Lauren0rder · 21/09/2018 12:28

Also, don’t be on duty as parents at the same time.

Negotiate times so you can have 4 hours free toddler time and then DH can have some free time.

If he wants to walk around, let him. You won’t mind because you are lying down reading a book.

I would do 8-12 and 12-4 4-5 5-6

Come together for dinner and take it in turns for evening duties.

No point in you both being miserable at the same time.

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StormTreader · 21/09/2018 12:28

I'm seeing a lot of "DH wants". Is he pulling his weight? Is he sitting with your DS for half the meals so you can indulge in multiple courses at the buffet?

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Keepingupwiththejonesys · 21/09/2018 12:28

This is why I just won't go abroad until my youngest is at least 5. If I'm paying out all that money for a holiday, I want to enjoy it too. We go to pontins every summer. The kids are 5, 3 and 1 and all absolutely love it. Is it my ideal location? Of course not. But there's lots for them to do there and I can actually enjoy alot of it.

Just chalk it up to experience and maybe go for somewhere like pontins/haven/butlins next time. You can actually sit and have a drink while just watching the kids and believe me, its great!

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Largepiecesofcrookedwood · 21/09/2018 12:31

Goodness Op it sounds horrendous.
We found ironically that self catering was a lot easier and spent several happy holidays at Eurocamp sites. We never ventured further than France, normally drove due to the absurd amount of paraphernalia that one small child requires for a week away from home and generally set very low expectations.
It was something of a shock though to discover that holidays were no longer the blissful periods of relaxation that I had become accustomed to Grin

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HemanOrSheRa · 21/09/2018 12:38

Sounds exactly the same as our first holiday abroad with DS when he was 17 months old! Bloody awful! I cried with relief when we got home and didn't bother again until he was about 8. We holidayed in the UK instead.

While we were on the holiday from hell in Greece we did much as Lauren suggested. Taking it in turns in 'timeslots' Grin.

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Notenjoyingholiday · 21/09/2018 12:44

Thanks everyone! It's good to know I'm not alone!

We have books and some toys with us for the room but lucky if he spends 5 mins on them.

I can't fault DH, he is the calm when I feel I'm about to have a breakdown! I'm not sure either of us could cope with 4 hour slots though! We do take it turns to spend time with him while the other person relaxes though. Think I might suggest a walk after lunch rather than back to the pool!!

DS was unwell when we first arrived so had to take turns going down for dinner once he was in bed. Maybe we should dine with him then go down separately again! 😆

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BlaaBlaaBlaa · 21/09/2018 12:46

You need to sit down with DH and make a plan. We took DS away to corfu at a similar age and this is how we worked it so we both got a break.

  • kept some biscuits/rusks in the room so when DS woke up he had something to snack on while we got ready.


  • All went to breakfast together but ate fairly quickly or took it in turns to entertain DS if he was kicking off.


  • went back to the room for get sun cream on etc.


  • one of us took DS for a walk, to the playground etc for an hour or so while the other chilled out. Swapped over and the other person took DS for a nap or 'chill' time in the room. We alternated days.


-Went for lunch together...tried not to get stressed when all DS would eat was chips and bread. It's better than nothing and not forever!
Again, took it in turns to entertain DS if he kicked off.

  • Used the baby club in the afternoon or did something all together.


  • back to room for nap. We got ready for the evening while DS slept.


-out for tea - same situation as lunch

  • went to the entertainment which DS liked and often fell asleep in his pram so we could have a drink. Even if he didn't we just did what we could even if it meant taking it in turns to walk around.


The key is team work and not getting stressed at a situation that can't be helped.
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Hoppinggreen · 21/09/2018 12:49

Self catering and teamwork that’s the key to toddler holidays
Also, your DH needs to realise that things have changed now and the leisurely meals etc are off the table for a few years

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BlaaBlaaBlaa · 21/09/2018 12:58

I found self catering with a toddler just ended up being the same old jobs just in a different place....all inclusive is far less stressful! Especially if you choose a family friendly place like the TUI family life hotels.
Self catering is great when you're a large group but as a small family of three we opt for all inclusive every time!

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BridgetJonesDaiquiri · 21/09/2018 12:58

I feel your pain. If you can afford it you could do a holiday that offers a nursery or nanny service like a Scott Dunn or a tots to travel - useful if your little one is already at nursery back at home. We went to Crete in June with Scott Dunn and they were absolutely brilliant, could drop off and pick up DD (then 14m) from their crèche throughout the day. She had a blast doing all the fun activities she does at nursery and I was less stressed with her being out of the sun. We still had quality time with her but also had a lovely relaxing time when she was being looked after (I actually had time to read a book!). Only problem is that it isn’t the cheapest option but they do decent discounts if you book ahead. For us it’s an expensive but much needed break, particularly as we both have fairly high pressure jobs as well as usual family life x

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delphguelph · 21/09/2018 13:07

Work with your DS, rather than against him. If that means random nap times, do it. If it means taking turns with your DH to parent, do it.

And the limited diet is fine.

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DebraBarone · 21/09/2018 13:35

This takes me back! It does get better OP, I now have 3 and holidays are hard work but enjoyable if you pitch it at the level of the youngest kid. They have the attention span of a gnat at that age. Pools also difficult for long, they get cold, wander off, nightmare! Beach much easier as they can play in the sand and paddle, they stay warmer, explore etc.
Could you hire a car? We had the same problems as you and decided to treat the all inclusive hotel/pool as our base, but went out every day. We spent more money, but it was worth it. So biscuit/milk/iPad first thing to eek out the tiniest lie in, breakfast at the hotel, back to room for suncream (feel your pain) and get stuff together, go out somewhere for an hour or so eg beach/local town/random walk! Let DC nap in the car. Eat out when you can, stop for a drink and take snacks for the DC and give up on their diet for the duration of the holiday! Back to hotel pool for mid afternoon swim then room for showers, bit of downtime then early dinner, pop to play park on way back. Wine in plastic cups on the balcony in the evenings if DC sleep, otherwise embrace “one up all up” and go to bed at the same time (late for them/early for you). Go with the flow!
Another vote for self catering next time though Smile

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Figgygal · 21/09/2018 13:38

Yup I didn't take ds abroad until he was 5 for this reason
Stopping him from drowning or burning does not make a holiday imo

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serbska · 21/09/2018 13:56

Golden rules of toddler holidays.

  1. Let them eat chips if that is all they want. You're not there for long.

2. Go somewhere with a kids club that will take little ones for a couple of hours so you get some child free time together as a couple.
3. Use the hotel babysitting service for at least one evening.
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Cloud9Until6am · 21/09/2018 14:07

Sounds just like our first (and last!) family holiday abroad since having kids. Since then we've been to Centre Parcs a few times which is so much more kid friendly. Even the journey there is much more straightforward and it's a 3hour drive! We've just decided to leave holidays abroad until the dc are older 🤷‍♀️

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timeisnotaline · 21/09/2018 14:39

For the plane back, you just need the mindset that it will be awful but it won’t last too long. Alternate you and dh holding screaming wriggler and zone out when it’s not your turn.

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Hissy · 21/09/2018 15:04

Holidays with under 5s are EXHAUSTING!!

Agree with those who say 'pick your battles' absolutely too the hand overs - i mostly a single parent (or previously when with dc dad may as well have been) so there wasn't anyone for me to hand over, so yes to splitting the supervision

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Babymamamama · 21/09/2018 15:06

Is there a kids club you could use? Even to give yourself an hours break?

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ConsiderHerWaysAndOthers · 21/09/2018 15:21

  1. See if you can buy an extra seat for the flight home. If not take loads of snacks and then take turns to walk up/down the aisle.
  2. Let him eat the chips and olives. Take toys/colouring to the restaurant for when he’s done eating. Consider a bit of ice cream to get him to stay still for long enough for you to actually chew your food.
  3. Go somewhere. Any nice towns, walks or cultural stuff nearby? If you’re really lucky he might sleep in the buggy too.
  4. Get some supplies for the evening; wine and easy to eat food for you guys so it’s not a loss if you don’t make it down to dinner.
  5. Give each other an uninterrupted couple of hours to relax while the other one takes DS for a walk or something.
  6. If the hotel has a babysitting service then use it.
    And next time get childcare! I also recommend Scott Dunn but if their prices make you fall through the floor then Club Med with a kid’s club is pretty good too!
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topsyanddim · 21/09/2018 15:25

It’s just a shit holiday age. I remember eating a £100 meal in 30 mins whilst taking it in turns to take a screaming child outside. It gets better quickly, our daughter is 3 now and this year we lounged around whilst she played in the toddler pool with friends (constant supervision!) and in the evenings she ate out with us then watched a film after dinner on the iPad whilst we had a couple of drinks. Ie it will get better!!!

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Boyskeepswinging · 21/09/2018 15:35

I feel your pain! I remember being on holiday when mine was a similar age, being woken up at 5am as per usual and my usually very mild-mannered DH almost completely losing it due to not having any sort of a holiday lie in. The good news is that it's not long until it becomes easier, especially once they are old enough to entertain themselves with books/iPads/telly to give you a bit of a lie in. And of course then you've got the problem of trying to get teens OUT of bed Grin

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Notenjoyingholiday · 21/09/2018 16:10

Thank you all for the great advice. We're only here two more full days so will suck it up! DH wants to go snorkelling so I might barter this with a spa treatment!

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