So, you have decided where you are going to go on holiday, and you have sorted out your holiday accommodation. You might be forgiven for thinking that this is the point where you can relax, kick back a bit and start to enjoy yourself. I'm afraid that this is where the hard work really begins.
Before you can go anywhere 'things' have to be packed. And when you have children, you have to take an awful lot of 'things'. If you are a Mum then this will be your job because Dads don't do packing. Their holiday preparations involve looking at maps and 'planning the route'. Never mind that you know the simplest most stress free route to your destination your husband will spend hours poring over an ordnance survey map that he bought when he went on a Scout trip in 1982.
The only part of the packing process that Dads get involved with is the loading of the car. And it will happen like this:
Bags in boot of car.
Boot of car won't shut.
Some bags relocated onto seats of car.
Passengers won't fit in car.
Cry of 'Who packed all this crap' will be heard.
Return cry of 'If you weren't so busy playing with your fucking map you could have done the packing' heard.
Bags out of car again.
Passengers in car.
Bags placed around passengers.
Smallest passengers start to cry because they have been in car for nearly an hour.
Dad gets in car, can't find car keys.
Dad gets out of car and swears.
Mum points out that he put keys in boot prior to shoving the luggage in.
Dad asks why she didn't tell him that.
Mum says that she didn't realise that she was supposed to give a running commentary.
Dad gets all luggage out of boot.
Gets in car.
Realises luggage not back in boot.
Puts luggage back in boot.
The holiday has officially started.
This brings me neatly to one of the themes of this post. When you go on holiday your husband will turn into the most annoying man alive. This is because when Dads go on holiday, they 'go on holiday'
On the journey your husband will insist that he knows where he is going, and he will blindly follow his meticulously planned route even when it is patently obvious that he is going the wrong way. When I was a kid we went on a holiday to Cornwall. it took my Dad 11 hours, yes 11 hours, to drive from Birmingham to Cornwall because he had 'a route' and he was a bloke 'on holiday' and it was his God given right to stick to his route on his holiday!
So the chances are that by the time you reach your destination you will already want to beat your husband round the head with a tyre pump.
It will be your job to get the children and the luggage out of the car while your husband surveys his holiday realm. When a husband surveys his holiday realm he will swagger around rubbing his hands intermittently while saying 'Ahhhh'. It will not matter to him that the children are crying, the carefully packed clothes are strewn everywhere and that there is nothing for dinner...he is 'on holiday' and none of that will concern him.
For the next week, or 2, your husband will regress.
He will not be able to:
look after children,
wake up before 9am,
be responsible with money.
He will be able to:
buy a range of plastic objects designed for children to go fishing with...(in his mind he will 'land the big one'),
fall into water,
get covered in mud,
wear surf shorts,
get sunburnt (dads don't do sunscreen on holiday, they believe that they are immune from the effects of the sun)
So, for mothers the annual summer holiday can be a taxing time.
Sometimes people go on holiday with their in-laws. They think that having grandparents along for the ride will make it easier, give them a break. This theory is wrong, incorrect, silly and just plain crazy.
Having the grandparents with you on holiday is the fastest, surest way of tearing a whole family apart. Particularly if it's your husbands parents that you are taking with you.
For a start off, with the in-laws on board your husband will revert fully to his child-like state. He is no longer an adult, he has 2 mummies to look after him! You mother-in-law will reinforce this notion by treating him like a little boy.
After you have struggled with the holiday packing and endured a traumatic journey to your destination and unpacked all your holiday stuff your mother-in-law will look at your husband and say:
"Oh dear, you do look tired, and haven't you got thin...why don't you sit down, we've got everything under control here.."
This will make you feel a bit cross. But do not show any feeling, because if at any point you look tired, annoyed or stressed you will be told to 'get in the holiday spirit.'
Your mother-in-law will be in charge of the kitchen, you might think that this is good when you are on holiday.
Your mother-in-law will ignore anything you say about what your children can/can't eat. And then she will tut whenever your children don't like what she has prepared for them. You will be expected to eat at rigid times and if you have a glass of wine with your dinner she will look at you as if you are one step away from a trip to rehab.
If you try eating out they will shake their heads at the price of meals and complain that everything tastes of garlic.
If you are holidaying near the coast, fish and chips is a fairly safe bet. However be vigilant for fish bones. Fathers-in-law of a certain age have a habit of getting them stuck in their throats.
Remember though, when you are a parent the holiday isn't about you anymore, it's about your children. And it is only once a year.
So good luck to those of you who are yet to go away. May the force be with you.