It's that time of year when our thoughts all turn to holidays. Long sunny days and even longer fun filled, sangria soaked nights. Bliss.
However what no one tells you is that when you become a parent you will not have a relaxing holiday for at least the next 20 years.
Lying on a beach, eating exotic cuisine in a cosy little restaurant, lazy days by the pool....never again will you know such joy.
Pre-children, going on holiday involved no planning, it was a case of 'let's go on holiday tomorrow!' Clothes were thrown in bags and the only concession to organisation was to locate the nearest bar for our relaxing first drinks of the trip.
When you have children the planning involved to go on holiday makes the logistics of the moon landing look simple.
First of all you have to choose a location. At 'home' or 'abroad'?
Going abroad involves travel trauma. As soon as you set foot in an airport if you have a child under 5 it will either have a tantrum or diarrhea from the minute you get in the check in queue until the minute you get home 2 weeks later. Plane travel with small children is so traumatic that parents start to believe that driving overland to their destination is feasible.
24 hours locked in a car with screaming children on foreign shores where they drive on the wrong side of the road is a practice that the CIA might consider adopting when they are trying to break prisoners.
Once you have decided on your location you then have to think about accommodation.
Anything labeled 'Family Friendly' will be hideously expensive. There are a few jolly hotels around the country that are totally geared up to families and children. They provide children's activities and babysitting, but to book rooms there you need to make a reservation preferably before you get pregnant and be prepared to re-mortgage your house in order to afford it.
Many people opt for self catering holidays. The idea is that you book a lovely cottage in the country and come and go as you please. Now, if when you were looking around for a house to buy the notion of being miles away from civilisation, with no TV and no central heating filled you with horror please bear that in mind when you book a holiday. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no TV when you have children is Very. Hard. Work. You might have a fantasy of really getting down to some hands on parenting, but the reality is that you will be uncorking the wine before lunchtime in order to drown out the repeated cries of 'I want Cbeebies on'.
Also self catering cottages are seriously expensive too. And getting a reasonably priced self catering cottage in Cornwall during July or August is more difficult than teaching a dog A-Level Spanish.
So, you can't afford a posh hotel, a self catering cottage isn't your scene...what options do you have left?
There are only 2.
In your pre-children days you might have sneered at Butlin's breaks or camping holidays. You might have wondered what kind of person goes on that kind of holiday. Once you have children you understand that you are exactly the kind of person who goes on that kind of holiday. You will watch the Butlins adverts on TV and think 'Wow, that's my kinda place' or you will wander round your local camping shop and think serious thoughts about camping stoves and portable toilets.
Butlins and other holiday parks are great in terms of activities for your children. The only draw back is that they full of other people's children. Other peoples children on holiday, high on excitement and ice cream being as obnoxious as your own children. And other peoples children come with parents. And the parents of other peoples children can soon have you a breaking point.
Camping holidays are great in terms of flexibility and cost. The only draw back is that you living outside and are subject to the vagaries of the weather. And if it rains, no matter how much your tent cost it will always leak. So you will be in a wet tent, surrounded by other wet tents filled with other peoples children and their parents. Nice.
So, you have decided on a location and you have sorted your accommodation. Time for some fun eh?!
In my next guide to going on holiday I will outline why you should never go on holiday with your parents in law, and I shall look at going on holiday can turn your husband into the most annoying human being that you have ever met.