So there we were on a holiday we have been looking forward to for seven long months.
Sun? Check. Pool? Check. Family time? Check. No obligations, work commitments or housework to do? Check.
So why the bloody hell was I so angry?
I call it holiday rage.
I can’t explain why every time I go on holidays with my family I get so cranky. Maybe its because I feel like while everyone else is having fun, I’m still running around after them all; finding shoes, making bottles, pushing prams, finding snacks and getting up at the crack of dawn. It seems as though all the thinking and planning is up to me.
It’s almost as though a family holiday is just like home, except there are none of the things you can rely on to give you a break.
I miss childcare.
Is that terrible?
My partner and I touch down in paradise with such high expectations of a blissed out, relaxing time. Then we remember that the kids don’t really do ‘blissed out and relaxing’ and they are tired, hot, demanding and not appreciating fully how lucky they are to be on holiday. (How could they appreciate it? They are tiny little people. Their idea of a good time is eating a Kinder Surprise on a public toilet floor.)
We're pushing strollers with huge, grumpy kids in them. We are sweating, fighting. Then a childless couple glides past with no sweat marks, laughing. Holding hands.
So now it’s two disappointed adults Vs. two ungrateful children. And we’re staring down the barrel of two long weeks together.
Please stop pouring conditioner into the fish pond.
Please stop flushing rocks down the toilet.
Please stop telling me my forehead is sweaty.
Please stop asking me to get you a frikkin beer.
Please stop asking me to buy you a shitty Hello Kitty drink bottle.
Please stop smearing chocolate on my crispy white sheets so the housekeeper thinks I have leaving skiddies in bed.
PLEASE JUST STOOOOOOPPPPPPP!!!!!!
All the family is emailing, saying: “How are you all? You must be so relaxed and happy!”
And I can’t tell them that I want to run away from the villa screaming and go and hide in a rice paddy for a few days. I will live with the wild dogs and get $5 pedicures.
There were arguments at restaurants. There were tantrums at the shops. There were fights in the car.
But we fixed it.
We changed our expectations and lived for the kids. When kids are happy, parents are happy. We did all the beautifully bogan water parks. The kids loved it. We found kid’s days at local restaurants and hotels. Balloon animals saved my holiday. We ate Coco Pops. We sat by the pool and watched them do endless jumps (cocktail in hand), oohing and ahhing at the heights reached, and the amount of water displaced.
We didn’t expect them to sit in a boring restaurant three times a day, sometimes eating at home, or finding a restaurant on the beach so they could play and be free.
We gave up on shoes, hair brushing and bedtime rules. It was all very naughty, and exactly how a holiday should be.
And when we needed some time out, we hired an excellent babysitter and had adult conversation and cocktails. (When I say adult conversation, I mean that we talked about the kids.
The holiday rage still reared its ugly head every few days, but the holiday was a success.
And now we are back and the weather is gloomy and I want to go back.
But childcare really is glorious.
*First appeared in Nick Jr Parents Blog