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Mumsnet, please talk me down. On holiday with my kids.

154 replies

mycatisannoying · 20/07/2022 12:05

Girls, aged 21, 16 and 13. And they're really fucking me off.
I seem to be the only single parent at this resort, and all around me there's happy families enjoying their holiday.
I'm naturally a fairly positive and cheery person, so believe me I am trying. I've been looking forward to this holiday for so long and have been really looking forward to it. I'm not a deluded fool though. I knew we'd have our moments. I adore my children but probably wouldn't choose to spend this much time with them, in two rooms.
I am fed up of managing their moods, their spats, trying to get them out the room at a reasonable time (2pm today).
I've just told them - calmly - that I won't be doing this again, and that future holidays can be taken with their father (money no object to him). That if they wanted to stay in on their phones, we could have stayed home.
I'm doing my best and it's going to shit. I should add that it hasn't been ALL bad. I do seem to be catastrophising though, probably because it meant a lot to me that we all had a good time.
Please help with some words of wisdom so that we can enjoy our last few days together.

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Needmorelego · 20/07/2022 12:07

I'd leave 'em in the room and go do your own thing.

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Shoxfordian · 20/07/2022 12:07

They’re old enough for you to just leave them to it

If they’re not up then just go down the pool yourself or to the beach, tell them you’re going out by x time and then go

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GirlInACountrySong · 20/07/2022 12:08

I'd forget the 'together' bit

Leave them to it, carry on doing what YOU want.... they are more likely to join you when the pressure is off

And if they don't, we'll, so be it

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SteveHarringtonsChestHair · 20/07/2022 12:08

Oh you poor thing - fellow single mama of 3 teens here and I feel your pain!

TBH they’re all old enough that if I were you I’d be saying “this is what I’m doing today, if you want to come with me set your alarm for xx” and see what they do. I know it feels like a waste but so is arguing and feeling resentful, so just think what you’d like to get out of the next couple of days and tell them anyone who wants to join you is welcome. If there’s one thing my kids hate more than each other, it’s missing out!

Hope you manage to have some nice times for the rest of your stay, and next time book yourself a peaceful retreat on your own (or PM me and we’ll go together 😂)

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maiafawnly · 20/07/2022 12:09

Im a single parent that goes on holiday with teenagers. I leave them be now. I take my book down to the pool get a lounger and let them do what they chose. I generally plan one excursion day but discuss with them before hand what they want it to be and what day we are doing it. The rest of the time they do as they please, they make their tiktoks and snap chat their friends, my 16 reads so much its untrue, they cool off in the pool. Its their holiday too, and even if you don't like how they are using the time, its still a break from home.

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RubyReigns · 20/07/2022 12:11

Relax your expectations. Sit down and ask them what would make the day fun for them. What would make it fun for you? Can you do something each day for each of you? Organise some time each day they can just sit on devices.
Mine are younger but I find my expectations of what is a good time on holiday versus the reality of actually being on holiday with all three are polar opposites. I learnt on our last holiday not to plan activities but just to go with their energy levels/moods and relax in to it. I had a much better time once I’d given up trying to have a good time and just let them lead.
Good luck and I really hope you can enjoy the last few days.

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AbreathofFrenchair · 20/07/2022 12:12

mycatisannoying · 20/07/2022 12:05

Girls, aged 21, 16 and 13. And they're really fucking me off.
I seem to be the only single parent at this resort, and all around me there's happy families enjoying their holiday.
I'm naturally a fairly positive and cheery person, so believe me I am trying. I've been looking forward to this holiday for so long and have been really looking forward to it. I'm not a deluded fool though. I knew we'd have our moments. I adore my children but probably wouldn't choose to spend this much time with them, in two rooms.
I am fed up of managing their moods, their spats, trying to get them out the room at a reasonable time (2pm today).
I've just told them - calmly - that I won't be doing this again, and that future holidays can be taken with their father (money no object to him). That if they wanted to stay in on their phones, we could have stayed home.
I'm doing my best and it's going to shit. I should add that it hasn't been ALL bad. I do seem to be catastrophising though, probably because it meant a lot to me that we all had a good time.
Please help with some words of wisdom so that we can enjoy our last few days together.

There was me and 5 sisters growing up, ages ranges were 11 (me) to 22.

My dad took us away as a single parent and stood for no messing around. At the start of the holidays we all got to pick what we wanted to do for one day then the rest of the time we did as we pleased. On the days we picked something, everyone had to get up early and get ready and go, on the other days, you could sleep in or do as you pleased round the hotel as the youngest, I generally hung around with my middle sister or my Dad.

Could you try something similar? I dont know how long youve got left or where you are in the world but, for example, say tomorrow, "today we are staying local, I'm going to have breakfast and sit by the pool, come and join me when and if you want or just let me know what you are you doing" and let them get on with it and maybe organizse another day where you go shopping and lunch and they all have to be present for that.

Generally in our family, forced time together all day every day on holiday just doesnt work as someone ends upset, someone else feels let down etc etc.

Even now, theres 3 of us and on hols, we don't do everything together and we spend time apart and tend to flock together of an evening to catch up.

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maiafawnly · 20/07/2022 12:15

I also find that if i say I'm going down to the pool, to breakfast, or for a walk down the beach etc, they generally just get sorted and come with me anyway. I don't say we are, just myself, and then they want to come. I find holidaying with teens so much better than when they were little and needed micro-managing and constantly watching ], now I do get to relax and enjoy the quiet time, but also have a lot of fun with them

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mycatisannoying · 20/07/2022 12:22

They haven't made it to breakfast on any of the days, but at least it has been peaceful for me Grin
Thanks so much everyone. I think I've been a bit of an idiot Blush
Oh, and in my OP, I meant to say that I'd been saving hard. Instead I put that I'd been looking forward to it x2. The heat is getting to me I think!
Thanks again for the support Smile

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maiafawnly · 20/07/2022 12:27

mycatisannoying · 20/07/2022 12:22

They haven't made it to breakfast on any of the days, but at least it has been peaceful for me Grin
Thanks so much everyone. I think I've been a bit of an idiot Blush
Oh, and in my OP, I meant to say that I'd been saving hard. Instead I put that I'd been looking forward to it x2. The heat is getting to me I think!
Thanks again for the support Smile

Not at all, its natural to want everyone to have the best possible holiday and be excited for family time, teenagers are just built differently and sometimes the best way to have a great time is to just let them come to you naturally and enjoy their space as well.

Plus, quiet alone time to not have to think about household chores, or what's for dinner, just time to yourself and relax, is so valuable. When you get back to the daily routines at home, you'll have been glad of the break!

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SmellyToilet · 20/07/2022 12:29

I took my then teenage sons on an American road trip years ago - they argued constantly, eldest refused to get out of the car at the Grand Canyon as it was “boring” and youngest went on a major rampage and threatened to call 911 on DH for child abuse. We had spent thousands on it.

I told them I will NEVER take them on holiday ever again. And I never did. Holidays have been so much more enjoyable ever since.

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hellswelshy · 20/07/2022 12:29

Op I feel your pain. Took my dds on holiday last August...it was hard work! Similar issues to you, lots of wanting to stay in their room on phones etc. I now realise that I need to approach it differently and adjust my expectations 😃The next holiday we went on in May was totally different as I left them to it and got on with things myself and dh. They actually joined in more without me asking! Try to relax and enjoy YOURSELF, if you're happy they will most probably want to join in. If not, please yourself and do your own thing!

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ThanksAntsThants · 20/07/2022 12:33

Let them get on with it and go and enjoy yourself. Stuff em, if they want to stare at their phones then they can carry on, don’t let it spoil your holiday. Teenagers can ruin anything.

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FarFarFarAndAway · 20/07/2022 12:34

I'm a single parent and dread holidays away for this reason. At home we can go off and do our own thing, but one parent isn't quite enough on holiday I find, and sorting everything out all the time is tiring for that parent. You have had good advice though, and I think lowering your expectations and just hanging out if they want is the way forward!

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EHopes · 20/07/2022 12:40

Would it be easier to try and have a day each with them individually? And let the other two just do what they like?

Holidays are so hard. We had one reasonably good one just before covid and that was only because with 3 adults to 4 children aged not quite 8, 10, 11 and 13 we were able to seperate out enough that each adult got some alone time and each kid got some 1-1 adult time and even then my 13yo almost completely destroyed it three times. Including with an absolute whopper of a tantrum on NYE.

It's ok to be disappointed. Huge hugs.

But please try and enjoy the parts in between. When you get some time alone at breakfast etc.

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junebirthdaygirl · 20/07/2022 12:40

You will find in years to come you will hear them telling their boyfriend about the great holiday they had in Spain. You will be listening wide-eyed. Has happened here.
We were in ltaly when my ds was 16 and flatly refused to go on a day trip to Venice. Recently he as telling me he was off to Venice and said what kind of fool was l not to go to Venice when you were paying for everything. I could go on! . Ignore them. The gap between fantasy and reality leads to depression. If even one wants to join you head off and enjoy yourself. Otherwise chill out at the pool and renew your ownenergy for coming home to a busy life.

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clipclop5 · 20/07/2022 12:43

DD is 18, and I’m also a single mum. It’s slightly different considering it’s just me and her but I find beach/resort holidays are the ones where she tends to get bored, moody etc. Also the sight of all the ‘perfect’ nuclear families having fun does tend to make me sad as well so I’d rather avoid! City breaks are far better as we’re constantly busy and can plan our days out with different activities, things to see and do. Also plenty of shopping opportunities!! We both end up far happier than if we had just been laying by a pool all week

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BlueWhat · 20/07/2022 12:43

You're expectations are too high unfortunately. Just let them get on with it.

As PPs have suggested say I'm doing such and such at x o'clock if you want to come.

And just enjoy yourself relaxing by the pool reading.

I go on holiday every year wiht teenagers, last year I just let them get on with it. Was so much easier. One DC didn't get up until noon!

First day it annoyed me, then I let it go. It's their holiday too.

This year I'm going with 4 teenagers! Some people never learn ;)

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zafferana · 20/07/2022 12:46

Agreed that if they want to stay in the room on their phones, I'd leave them to it and go and do your own thing - lie by the pool, wander into town to shop, whatever. I certainly wouldn't be wasting my energy getting into arguments. You've tried to do a nice things with/for them and they're being ungrateful, but that's DC for you! 21-year-old is an adult, so she can pay for her own holidays in future, 16-year-old you probably won't have to take away again, and 13 is a tricky age. I'd try to salvage some of your holiday for yourself though and leave them to stare at screens, if that's their idea of a good time. Seriously, this generation have no idea what they're missing, but adults trying to tell them won't change that - after all - they know it all don't they?!

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Eeksteek · 20/07/2022 12:52

SmellyToilet · 20/07/2022 12:29

I took my then teenage sons on an American road trip years ago - they argued constantly, eldest refused to get out of the car at the Grand Canyon as it was “boring” and youngest went on a major rampage and threatened to call 911 on DH for child abuse. We had spent thousands on it.

I told them I will NEVER take them on holiday ever again. And I never did. Holidays have been so much more enjoyable ever since.

Ha ha! Took my kiddo on 6 week road trips round the UK, France and Italy three summers running. London, Edinburgh, Paris, Switzerland, Venice, Rome, Siena, Pompeii. Last year she complained she didn’t want to go away for all that time as none of her friends went on holiday at all so I sold the camper and she whinged about coming to pizza express and a Premier Inn with me (chosen because she liked the breakfast!) once a fortnight and spent the whole time on her phone. This year we can’t afford to go away and she’s moaning all her friends are on holiday and we’re not. There’s no pleasing some people!!

I’m struggling to let her just please herself because she’s a bit young and too bloody minded to arrange anything social at all. She refuses even to walk the dogs with me, as she does not wish to be seen in public with her mother. When I have an entertainment budget again, I’ll divvy it up and we’ll take turns. She’s 12. Pray for me!

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Knackeredmommy · 20/07/2022 12:53

Try and enjoy yourself, I went away once with my teens. I made them agree to 1 excursion and that we eat dinner together. They spent a lot of time on their phones in the room, I chilled by the pool, but not in a rush to do it again.
Leave them to it and enjoy the rest of your hols, in peace, by the pool with a book and cocktails!

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Workawayxx · 20/07/2022 12:53

I'd just drop the rope. Let them know you won't be making them do anything - if they want to sit in the room all day then fine but they're welcome to join you in anything you do. Also you won't be sorting any spats. Then cheerily let them know what your plans are each day and get on with enjoying your holiday!

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Sparksinthelectrics · 20/07/2022 12:53

There's good suggestions here, I just wanted to add maybe you could also do a one on one day with each. Eg 21 year old, would you like to do a spa thing just me and you on Tues pm? 13 year old, I'm thinking a visit to donkey rescue/ local city/ whatever on weds or is there anything you want to do that's special for just us 2? That way you don't miss out on the intended quality time but you also each have your own space?

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mycatisannoying · 20/07/2022 12:53

FarFarFarAndAway · 20/07/2022 12:34

I'm a single parent and dread holidays away for this reason. At home we can go off and do our own thing, but one parent isn't quite enough on holiday I find, and sorting everything out all the time is tiring for that parent. You have had good advice though, and I think lowering your expectations and just hanging out if they want is the way forward!

Absolutely. The only time I miss my ex husband is when we're on holiday. There's a lot to be said for the whole tag-team thing, and not being the only one to carry the mental load.

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DaphneSprucesPippasClack · 20/07/2022 12:54

I've watched friends ruin months of days out and holidays by holding on to the 'we have to have prefect family time' thing. That puts more pressure on everyone and of course it implodes.....

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