Monday, 27 August 2007

Holiday Stress.....

I don't know why I do it, but I do it every year and regret it....I'm talking about going on holiday with my family - 3 kids and an ADHD husband plus (this year only - I've promised myself) my Mother.

About a week before we go the stress level starts to rise as I try to wash, iron and pack for 3 children plus myself. This being England, it could rain, hail, snow, shine, blow a hurricane or any combination of the above; I have also known it to be three of those IN ONE DAY. This means I need to pack 3 times the amount of clothes that you would normally take on holiday - waterproof clothes, hot weather clothes, beach wear, fleeces and wellies, smartish clothes to go out for a meal, scruffy clothes for Rock-Pooling in the rain.....the list of possibilities seems endless.

All this packing has to be done at the last minute since they don't have a lot of clothes so, unless I let them wander round in pyjamas for 3 days, I can only finalise the packing the day before we go.

After I've finished with the children's packing I have to start on mine. Same problem as before - 'What shall I take? Will it rain, snow or shine?' coupled with the questions 'Will this fit? Will my bum look big in this?' I haul my summer clothes out of storage and commence a mammoth 'trying on' session in front of a full length mirror. Anything that looks too grim is relegated to the floor. Two hours later I am left with what I think they call a 'capsule wardrobe' aka 'the only clothes that fit and don't look too bad'.

Then there are all the 'must haves' that my children can't last the week without - surf boards, buckets, spades, books, games, story tapes, DVDs etc etc and they can't possibly share any of it so everything is times 2 (or sometimes 3 if the littlest one sees what the other two have got). Before very long there is a HUGE pile of suitcases, bags and equipment stacked on the living room floor. My husband sees the pile and says - 'How come the pile is bigger than the size of our boot? It's not going to fit in'. Two boys start shouting and crying because they can't go on holiday without <<.....insert name of any object here......>>

Dammit - I've forgotten to book the Mother has said she will babysit one night provided I book a meal in a REALLY nice restaurant so she can go out one night too. There is more than one Michelin Starred restaurant in Cornwall but most of them are fully booked, finally manage to get a table in a restaurant that will be swanky enough and then have to start the process all over again to book a 'last night' meal for the 6 of us. The restaurant can only fit us in at 5:30pm or 6pm which is a lot earlier than I like and means dragging the kids off the beach at 4pm....Note to self: book restaurants for next year's holiday in February to ensure satisfactory choice of restaurant and dining time.

By some miracle the whole kit and caboodle is ready by 10pm Thursday and we open the wine. It takes us until 10am the next morning to actually fit it all into the car - we have a large Saab estate and it is full to the brim by the time we set off. I have about 6 inches of leg room and not enough space to knit or even to find a book, I am also bored of playing 'I Spy' by the time we reach the motorway.

Another note for next year - TAKE LESS STUFF.

Part 2 - The Holiday

Friday - Plymouth: Raining
You don't want to see a picture of Plymouth in the rain surely.

Saturday - Truro:Raining
Didn't take any photos of Truro in the rain either but here are two happy boys in their holiday bedroom.

Sunday - St Michael's Mount: Not Raining but blowing a Gale, Grey Skies and Freezing Cold.

Monday - Portreath: Hail, Wind, Sunny Spells - here is one of the sunny spells.

Tuesday - St Ives, Porthminster Beach - At last the sun comes out

Wednesday - St Austell, The Eden Project - Sunshine and Clouds

Thursday - Portreath Again: Very Windy but also sunny.

Here is King Canute, failing to hold back the tide .

Friday - Lappa Valley - Cloudy, Sunny and Windy

And that 'last night' meal - here's my Princess enjoying her Pasta Bolognese.

Saturday - Portreath for the Last Time: Roasting

ADHD Husband forgot the sun was shining and forgot to put any suncream on - he came home looking like a lobster!

Part 3 - Post-Holiday Stress

We always do the journey south in two parts, staying over night in Plymouth to break up the journey. But for some reason we never break the journey back and try to do it in one long slog. Because we had stayed on the beach until 4pm, it was almost midnight when we got home. The kids had no clue what time of day or night it was and all refused to go to bed, we adults we desperate for sleep but they wanted to watch Cartoon Network all night...

Now comes the fun part - unload the car, hoover up half a ton of sand, wash suncream/ice cream/juice and God knows what off the seats and carpets, clean the sticky hand prints off all the windows, door handles and buttons. I unpack all the bags and suitcases onto the kitchen floor only to find that they all have another half ton of sand in them - there is now a mini-beach on the floor. Make a small mountain (and I mean a mountain, it's bigger than my two year old) of washing and stack another pile of toys, books, unworn clothes etc at the bottom of the stairs. How the hell did all of this fit in the car? and why did we take it?

No-one has any clean clothes to wear so for the next two days the kids wear pyjamas and things that don't fit. I do 11 loads of washing and then iron it all, fold it and put it all away. I'm completely shattered - I need a holiday

Oh yeah and holiday knitting? I completed ONE SOCK TOE in 12 days.
I'll be back when I have the energy to type.


Anonymous said...

Ahhh, road trips with kids. Hopefully there wasn't too much "seat hogging" and "mom, he's looking at me" going on in the car.

Oh, your poor hubbie! Sunburns are miserable. I'm glad to hear you got some sun and nice temps at least part of the trip! Perhaps you've ended this trip the way it started... with a nice bottle of wine. Sounds appropriate!

What are those Eden project domes? They look interesting. You've got some beautiful scenery in your neck of the woods!

Hope you're recovering from your holiday (sounds funny, huh!)

Your SP11

Jeanne said...

Vacations are such a doubled edge sword - nice to get away, but I think with small kids it always ends up to be a lot of work! But your pictures are beautiful and hopefully you had a great time while you were on it!

km said...

Your holiday is my vacation...whatever, it's all the same. Someone once told me that it's a TRIP when you take the kids, and a VACATION when you go alone (or just with hubby). So true. I'm sure you need a "holiday" from your "trip". I totally get that. I have 3 little ones too...boy, boy, girl. KM
(from the FFBE)

Arianne said...


But that's exactly how I feel after a holiday with Evil Andy and the Orcling...and there's only 3 of us!

The photos are great! How was the Eden project? What restaurant did you go to? Was it nice?

I see your eldest is holding Simpsons comics and wearing a Simpsons hat. I'm going to offer my condolences. The Orcling is absolutely obsessed with The Simpsons. He has the same hat and I think about 400 comic books. Most of the time it's fine, but then there's the constant humming of the theme tune, and attempting skateboard feat a la Bart and then the endless Simpsons quotes and Anecdotes ("Hey, you know this one time on The Simpsons, yeah?") :) Kids...I guess you gotta love them (or you'd strangle them.) But I suppose there are worse magazines and television programmes and movies for young boys to spend their time fixated on. :)