This year we decided to ‘holiday’ in the south of France. It’s a pretty looooooooong journey which makes it extra funny that after being in the car for approximately 1.5 minutes (I’m not exaggerating) the following questions begin…
We get the ferry to Calais (which involved spending £30 on food no one would eat and hanging out in the arcade room for 1.5 hours) and drive to a skanky Ibis hotel somewhere in the middle of France to break the journey up.
I love sharing hotel rooms with kids because you basically get to sit in a dark room and drink wine out of tiny plastic toilet cups and listen to them fight.
All in all, a fun day.
Got up and spent even more time in the car. It’s fine because we have those DVD players on the headrests meaning that the kids are happy and content. Or they would have been if they could just MAKE THEIR BLOODY MINDS UP!
By the time we arrive at our cottage (we opted for self catering as our kids only really eat pesto pasta and chicken nuggets) the car looks like an utter shit tip and we all hate each other. Just the way a typical family holiday should begin!
The day starts as it always does in France with a trip to the boulangerie to buy a ridiculous amount of croissants and pain au chocolat, followed by stuffing them down your face until you feel sick.
Then we spent about four hours in the pool playing ‘shark chase’.
Later on I had a little sit down and a cry thinking about all the things I used to enjoy about holidays before I had kids…
We decide to go to the beach to meet my friend Jane who happens to be staying close by. Between us we have a 6 year old, a 3 year old, a 2 year old, a 1 year old and enough kit to make it look like we are setting up our own (very shite) festival.
It is carnage – children are pooing everywhere! They are dropping bananas in the sand had then screaming because they can’t eat sandy bananas!
A random woman is sitting idly next to us reading some sort of celebrity magazine. She looks up and I catch her eye. Is she smirking at us?
I hate her.
Got home and rewarded self for excellent parenting by drinking ALL OF THE WINE.
As the kids slept in the car they don’t feel tired enough to go to bed and want to go play on the zip wire instead – Joy! I agree to supervise and enjoy it slightly more than I let on…
As they are having such a lovely time
and we really can’t be fucked with bedtime as we are a bit pissed we let them stay up until nearly 11pm.
The kids reward us for their late night by sleeping in for an extra 4 minutes so that was totally worth it. Plus I have a hangover.
I don’t really like being around children when I’m hungover but as we are on a ‘nice family holiday’ I have no choice.
To make myself feel better I spend as much time as possible hiding inside and snacking. I plough through Petit Écolier biscuits, le Jambon crisps and pistachio nuts. Having hangovers in France seems so much classier.
FYI in France beer definitely counts as a snack or else it wouldn’t come in snack sized bottles.
Go to the beach again for more torture. We take a picnic and no one will eat it because it’s ‘BISGUTIN!’.
Look down trying to find sun cream for approximately 30 seconds. Look up – children = gone.
Find feral children approx 1/2 mile down the beach. Drag them back.
Try and resist screaming abuse at a family we walk past happily eating their lunch together.
Today is our last day. The kids are sad as they would like to stay forever but unfortunately it’s time to get back to our crappy life.
As we have a washing machine here I decide to wash all of our clothes so that when I get home I will have no laundry to do. Words cannot describe my joy and smugness at this brilliant idea.
Hanging the clothes out to dry in rural France I feel just like a farmer! There are 3 chickens here so I imagine that counts…
Shortly after that I start feeling quite pathetic for actually enjoying doing laundry whilst I am meant to be on holiday. FML.
To compensate for my patheticness I eat a mint magnum even though I am still full up from lunch and don’t even want one because…
Oh dear time to leave. Give up on keeping the kids amused via any means other than throwing food and sweets into the back whenever they open their gobs.
After another epic journey we finally arrive home – sadly the kids energy levels don’t seem to be in tune with ours…
In contrast I feel very much like I did after I got back from an 18-30’s holiday to Kavos in 1999 – jaded, confused and a bit disgusted with myself.
Still at least we made lots of lasting happy memories…
**************P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)
Ha ha. Love it all. Especially the picnic shouting. Marvellous!
Nothing’s as exhuasting as a holiday with kids…
This is totally what our family holidays used to be like. This year, we had sex on holiday, went out for tea together and read books on our sun loungers. Were the kids with us? Yes. But we went with a specialist holiday company to a holiday park designed for families. They loved it – kids’ activities, water park, kids club, kids parties etc. And for us? Actual rest. I totally recommend it.
Sounds amazing. Where/How???
We went to Ibiza with Tui to one of their ‘Family Life’ resorts. I would totally recommend them. Our kids are 5 and 7.
Was it the seaview Ibiza? we looked at it for next year if so :) xx
No, though we did see the Sea View, but they’re with First Choice. We went to the Hotel Club Aura at Port Des Torrent with Tui/Thomson. The travel company really matters, as they do all the child care / entertainment etc. and Thomson were amazing.
I am going on holiday to BE with my family and kids. Work and school does not allow us these days to spend enough time with my children and my husband. Although i can understand why people opt for these kind of “families holidays” I see it as getting rid of the children in a selfish way. We also drive to mainland Europe and yes we have that the bickering in the back that drives us nutty, but by giving them some entertainment (and it does require some pre planning!) and engage with them, they are much better. We do fun activities together as a family. Often we find a large playground where the girls can enjoy them selves and we relax on the site or sitting on a terrace if available. I do love the stories though because I do see and recognise a lot of my family in them but then again I am very positive and forget about the wining and take away the fun parts. I also come back home more tired then when i left but a nights sleep will take care of that. :)
You are the family on the picnic blanket!!!
FO Sylvia you bore
Please please tell us of this magical place?
Love it! I too have had the same smugness from laundering in France and I too found it one of the highlights of the whole week
Super funny but actually pretty much like our holiday. I also felt great job satisfaction after doing the Washing on holiday in Spain lol
Haha..love this! We have two feral boys aged 13 and 9 trust me it doesn’t get easier the older they get!!
We went to Disney a few years ago and seeing Mickey and friends, fireworks etc etc blah blah was great but one of the best days was the day we discovered the hotel had little laundry near the pool! Me and the sis-in-law had a great time buying little boxes of washing powder and washing all our clothes whilst the kids drowned each other in the pool..how American we felt putting our stuff in ‘the driers’ and being ever so English and taking it in turns to pop in and check no dirty scum had stolen our smalls (we forgot we were in Disney and that would never happen in the ‘happiest place on earth’. We were proper smug bitches when we returned to Gatwick with our cases full of freshly laundered clothing!
Just got back from Disney with 3 cases of freshly laundered washing :)
Doing the laundry on holiday is the best! Only trouble is that as they are ‘holiday clothes’ I end up putting them straight into the attic when we get home :/
It does get better. It really does. It won’t take long. We had four months drifting around southern Europe two years ago with 9 and 11 yo boys. Blew every penny we had saved but it was worth it. It was fantastic.
Amazing. And exactly accurate to every family holiday. The smiling photos are either photoshopped or the children are bribed with gin and candy. I just wrnt on a short road trip with my 2 and the 3 year old just melted down so completely we had to leave a kangaroo farm without really seeing any kangaroos. Great sadness.
Crying with laughter. Smugly done all our washing in France too x
This is MY life…!!! And y do I think it would get better each year??? As soon as we landed last week my daughter started asking when can we go to the park?!!!!!!
Washing on holiday = excellent mum (10 points)
I would have forgotten the laundry and realised when we pulled up at home! Last year I spent most of the day packing then drove me and the kids to a caravan park. Picked up husband train station at about 7pm…he had got the train from work and I had spent the day packing and driving. Got to caravan park and then went to unload the car. That’s when I realised that everything had fitted in the car really easily as I had left the kids suitcases on the landing upstairs. Funny what you forget when you are continuously interrupted! Next day I had a fab round trip to our house with my favourite music playing! I thoroughly enjoyed it.
You must do it again next year :-)
I’m not a parent yet but this was bloody hilarious. As a teacher and having 32 (yes, 32!) little scrotes on a daily basis, a lot of this resonates. Last year was hell. I looked at other teachers with disdain thinking ‘fuck you and your well-behaved, under control class’ whilst mine were going all Lotd of the Flies the split second I’d blink.
Every holiday snap from years ago (5 kids, one baby and a toddler amongst them, to Brazil, anyone? WTF were we thinking?) shows me clutching baby and toddler, my face so tense its a wonder it didn’t stay like that, hang on, it did…
Did not do any laundry. Best moment? Everyone else went for a walk, nonsleeping baby slept for 10 mins and I lay under a palm tree crying a bit and ogling men.
BTW I used to amuse myself by drawing little stick people to illustrate my sad life too!
Love the bit about looking down to get the suntan cream, look up and the kids are gone half a mile down the beach- that’s my kids!
Holidaying in the South of France with our four adult children means we all go for cocktails at the beach bar; all go to the casino at Monte Carlo; have semi-intelligent conversations about art when in galleries; can talk and laugh over meals out and, best of all, we take it in turns to cook and they do their own laundry! Expensive, yes, but all the work in the early years definitely paid off. Strangely enough, one of our best family holidays was driving from Yorkshire to and across the Sahara (and back) for three weeks when they were 8, 9, 10 and 12. Travel freaks r us!
Great post. Have you ever thought about franchising the name out to parent and toddler groups where the main aim is to talk about how shit parenting is rather than attachment patenting and how wonderful ones child is. I’ll be up for that. It could be a bring your own alcohol….couldn’t it?
I have decided to build a swimming pool in my small back garden so I never ever have to go away again. Nothing is more holiday than not having to pack and go on holiday. Plus it will be less grass to mow. Have justified cost to self by thinking of savings on family flights and massively over priced school holiday time shit cottages that smell of damp and don’t look like the sexy brochure.
I’m crying with laughter! It’s so our holiday!! My kids are 11 and 8- no it doesn’t get better!!! Sorry……
We had a similar experience of
Family holidays but then started going with two other couples and their children . Rented a big villa or country house with a pool . The children entertained each other ,we organised swimming galas , various assault courses and games for them. The adults took it in turns to cook, go out etc. and it all worked really well. Would definitely recommend!
Love it! This is exactly the sort of holiday I used to have when I was a kid, even down to the ferry. Not sure I I’m L ooking forward to this stuff with our Little Bear or not…
I haven’t bothered going on holiday for nine years – far easier and more enjoyable to just take days out. I figure culture of an international kind is lost on the little people – really looking forward to sitting at some French bar with mine when they’re old enough to get pissed with me.
Ha ha ha… that was hilarious!! Especially the pictures! Thanks for reminding me why we’ve only been on one holiday (if 1 night away counts) since our 2nd child was born. (He’s nearly 3.) You are sooo much braver than us!
Funny and oh so relatable!
Heheheh too funny!
hahaha this is amazing! :D keep up the good work!
You totally travel in luxury Katie – when we used to drive down to the south of France on our yearly summer holiday there were 7 of us bundled into a Renault Espace (yes I have 4 siblings), we had no air conditioning and my parents always seemed to seek out the traffic jams. There were no DVD players and we had to take it in turns to have our “tape” with our choice of music played. Two years in a row my parents decided to save money and not pay for a hotel to stop off in, instead they just kept driving and pulled over at an “aire” to sleep when the need arose. The pain of trying to sleep in a cramped Renault Espace! It used to take us 30 hours door to door.
We did this every year, but one, from 1984 until 1992 (although older siblings did drop out of the holiday to stay at home and have “parents are away” parties). I constantly ask my parents how they are even still together, still in love, still sane.
BUT it was absolutely life-changing for me. I fell in love with France and the French language (we first went there when I was 8). This led to me doing a degree in French, living in the south of France for 12 years, falling in love with and marrying a Frenchman and having half-French half-English babies. So imagine what this early experience might do to your little angels….! (On the other hand my eldest sister still hates the Bloody French, so maybe not….!)
Congrats on the book, can’t wait to get my copy, and I keep telling anyone who will listen about you :-)
Sitting here in Turkey. No kids grand kids back in UK. Love watching mums and dads struggling with little ones, the same problems in any language.it does get better usually when they have left home, then there are the grandchildren!!!!
Fuck my life this was our holiday, except we went camping like absolute dickheads, thinking that that would be do-able with a 4 year old and a feral 1 year old. NEVER. EVER. AGAIN. Also, Sylvia, nobody likes a sanctamummy, do one.