Not in the Brochure: Secret Family Holiday Joys

We just returned from family holiday at a well know family resort. You know the kind of place where people carriers roll in on mass on a Monday then cart off screaming kids desperate for their pool fix on the Friday. A place where you get your own piece of woodland tranquillity whilst sharing a patio with the wildlife and next door's wandering toddler.

Patio ducks trashing the Bistro set after too many Stellas down the pond.

Now as I enjoy the aftermath of going on a family holiday - the 4th load of washing in the machine and rationing the toddler's blue milk for adult use (tea) - or rather, avoid all that and write a post about the other things to take a bit of pleasure in from family holidays. The ones that aren't advertised in the holiday brochures (or in the Facebook statuses).

You have to take pleasure in something after a hellish week with your own genetic line.

#1: People Carrier Pride

Never will you feel more of the cool 'in crowd' when you roll up - windows down, kids screaming for the loo and more sugar with nursery rhymes pumping out- than when you arrive at a family resort. See the line of like minded families in people carriers (also know as 'your old life has died hearses'), adorned with spinning wheeled bicycles, baby on board signs, with sweaty gritted teethed parents at the helm and duvets twisted baby gyms in the back.

You are in great company. The ONLY place where the sensible car choice is cool. Those with hatchbacks are only looking at your car beast with envy. If you have a people hearse with slidey back doors, you are the royalty of the holiday park.

#2: Mum Bums and Tums

Whilst contemplating this holiday you may worried how you will look at the pool. Let's face it, since kids, that body is looking less Real Housewives and more Benefits Street.
Fear not, before you, behold the Mum bums and tums of the nation.
Bask in the comforting visual squidginess of the mum tum. Gasp in awe at the mountainous derrières and the oddity that is thighs that touch (or so the media would have you believe).

That's right ladies, you are in normal body heaven. You can relax looking at other peoples' jigglypuffs and perch you mummy bumbag tum next to theirs.

#3: Inadvertent exercise 

When you book your family holiday, you will be contemplate booking onto a spinning class or doing a work out in the gym. Do not bother with this. This is your holiday and there is plenty of free inadvertent exercise to be had. Dragging children through the sand in the play park when they don't want to leave is a calorie burner, as is, chucking yourself down flumes whilst holding onto your precious first born. Have you ever pulled one of the bike trailers with two kids in it? Must be easily 1467 calories burned a day doing that.

Also this now means there is no guilt from the bottle of white you sank last night, along with the kettle chips and family pack of creme eggs.

#4: Mega Nap-time

Every half an hour spent in the pool equates to roughly an hours nap time. Never has waiting freezing your mum bum off to go down that slide for the 9th time been more appealing when the pay off in mega nap-time.

#5: Family time

Family time is best appreciated when you've had a break from the family. The best way to do this is to bring along nanny/auntie/unsuspecting related babysitter to give you a night off so you can enjoy the charms of the local family pub at night. Push the boat out, buy some of those hot nuts, order rubbery calamari and something with chips.

If you have just one child you will be back home by 9pm, worrying they are going crazy for the sitter (they aren't, that little sod has slept through for the first time).
If it's your second child plus, you will stay out 10.30pm. You may visit a bar with sticky tables and suspiciously stained seats, maybe even do the twilight spa. You don't give a monkeys - this is freedom!
Heck you even pumped up the kids full of Kinder in the morning and let them skip nap time as Nanny's taking care of them this evening. It ain't your problem.


#6: Other Peoples' Kids

Those little soft play areas in the family restaurant on-site are worth nothing without other people's children. You can forgive that other peoples children are more mildly annoying than your own by the fact that they are so entertaining for your kids. You sit back and enjoy that moderately overpriced glass of wine, you kids are being taken care of by, er, other kids.

#7: The Schadenfreude Factor

 'The satisfaction or pleasure at someone else's misfortune.'

Here surrounded by paddy-inducing fodder (over-simulating activities, sugar filled snacks and those arsing pound coin driven ride-ons), many children's parents will suffer the full wrath of a toddler, a threenager or an actual teenager.

I love the sweet treat of someone else's badly behaved children. Not only does it distract from my own, it bathes my paranoid brain in the normality of children's behaviour. I take pleasure that mine do the same thing and parent to parent we can exchange that 'urggggh-fucking-urgghhhh-bites fist in despair' look.

Or rather I'm enjoying a rare moment of inner peace  as I eat my pasta whilst someone else's kids throws one down, knowing that my time will come later...but for now, enjoy the carbs.


#8: Bring on the Bluecoats

Picture the scene: Buffet dinner, plastic tablecloths, emergency exits blocked with highchairs and then the entertainer, in this case Nutty Noah (he actually exists folks...yes, your nightmares are real).
But look around, as he sings about pants, parading under the façade of magician but actually just spends an hour taking the mick out of our slack jawed children in awe of his multi-coloured trousers. Look around, at the other parents. We are all here under the same guise: To get sloshed in a safe environment.
Disappointment or Awe? Nose-picking certainly.

And actually Nutty Noah was entertaining for the adults, like watching the magician version of Shrek (not how he looks, that would be rude and untrue, but with bumf for the kids and jokes that the big kids get).


#9: No cleaning

No cleaning and an abundance of toilet rolls (if you go for the executive option). If you have gone for the comfort option, please use the leaves outside your back door to wipe you behind and watch us rolling around in our 4 rolls heaven over the road.

The no cleaning is the real benefit here though and the fact that its not your house. Time to potty train me thinks - yes kids, you really can join the bears to shit in the woods and it doesn't need to be summer, you can just dampen these well worn carpets in the lodge too.

#10: Observing the Natural Habitat

Peeking out from your hide (caravan), you can observe other parents in their natural habitat - harassed by kidlets, babies dripping off their nipples, pushing a pram beast and judgy sweet laden in-laws in tow.
See how they feed their children Hairibo to bring tone to their floppy paddy limbs. Watch how they have too worn the same outfit twice in a row. Hear them sigh at how their old life is over.
Join them, become naturalised.


#11: Neighbour Strangers

These holiday neighbours don't know you. Instead of thinking 'what are they going to think of my screaming brood/me screaming at my screaming brood?', think 'what a great opportunity to sleep train the toddler or cry it out with the baby'. Your never going to see them again, or the park security they call out.

#12: Stealth Sleeping-in Competition

This underhand family favourite game is vastly overtaking charades (which I eff'ing well hate by the way).
The rules are simple: Share accommodation with your family who also have a child. Both children will inevitably wake each other up at some horrific hour in the morning. Now each parental unit should ignore all screams for wee-wees/breakfast/cover feels a bit ouchy and feign sleep.

Whoever gets up first to attend to the random whim loses and has to entertain 3 plus kids from 4.30am when CBeebies hasn't yet started: The ultimate punishment.

The winning parent team has lie in and never admit they heard anything.
My sister and her husband are expert stealth sleeper-inners. Bastards.

13: Baby Safe (and Adult Safe)

If you're holidaying in specific family accommodation, you may be lucky enough to have baby shit included. Not actual baby shit, that would be gross and you have an ample supply if that already, but baby safety gear.
It also means less crap to bring with you and more space for er, other baby crap, such as toys that the little one simple cannot be without. 

In our lodge we had stair gates already fitted which also doubled up as adult safety equipment as late one drunken night my sister hurtled down the stairs, busting through the stair gate, legs akimbo. Now imagine if that gate wasn't there? She may have bruised her bottom as well as her pride.
I fear she may of lost her second virginity to that gate.

# 14:  Zombie Apocalypse

As the entrance barriers close behind you and you enter the forest of chalets, all phone signal dies, the TV channels are limited to a selection of kids shows and news 24. You are forced to leave your vehicle in the car park: You are cut off from humanity.
Yes ,there is Wi-Fi, but what if the government went all North Korea on you and filtered what you saw?
What if the channels are limited because a monkey loaded with a deadly virus has escaped from the lab? (and they know your not watching news 24 as your on holiday).
What if they barriers went down to keep out the new zombie nation?
Just as well you visited Centerparcs then, your new forest fortress.
(Just be careful that that red squirrel at your back window isn't you dear old zombified cat trying to eat your brain Dreamies).
Beware of fag-ash Squirrel

*This may just be one of those - 'is it just me?' thoughts. And it may just be me that gets this feeling on entering Centreparcs.*

#15: Bed bugs

A new bedroom can be scary for little folk, so those little bed bugs like to creep into yours at night. It's all sweet, snuggly, cuddly and wuvely the first not be fooled by the third  night you will be forced to the perimeter doing downward dog over the baby, protecting them from the toddler playing horizontal bed twister. 

The joy is in the first wuvely night together, not the subsequent ones. Swings and roundabouts.

#16: Leftovers

I don't know what it is about my family but whenever they holiday they like to bring all the half eaten remnants from the fridge to share out with everyone else. Seemingly thinking, if it's half mouldy and half uneaten, then surely it is perfect for someone else to consume.
Top favourites include half a bag of wilting salad, brown bananas, and car warmed milk breeding listeria.

The joy is in, now we return the favour. Waste not want not. Mwah ha ha! See you in the queue for the loo.

17: Youthful Staff

Look at them. So fresh faced, so eager, so happy to play with other peoples children.
Great, feel free to take my kids with you when you leave off your shift tonight.
*Uncorks cheap wine.*

#18: Master of the Capsule Wardrobe

Finally, you will master the capsule wardrobe. 
You have spent hundreds over the years on glossy magazines, promising you how to build your perfect capsule wardrobe to take on holibobs - you know the thing, just take a shift dress, a piece of string and some flip flops.

Now you can do this (mainly because you have to as there is a family size pack of nappies, 26 baby grows , four cuddly toys and a potty now taking up your side of the suitcase).
However you will have to settle for a pair of jeans, a cardi, and mum boots. OK, you can chuck in a nursing bra if you're feeling glamorous.

#19: Multiple Loos

Most accommodation has multiple loos. More places to hide. Simple.

#20: No Pressure Holiday Aftermath

You've just spent an entire week at a family resort, you have earned a week off of leaving the realms of your own home. Stay put, bunker down, foist those kids back into a routine, load the washing machine, load it again, unload it in-between, and order an almighty online shop.
No guilt to do 'stuff' with the kids, just enjoy that home time. Well try to, until they drag you out on day two, but only to Sainsbury's. They have a lovely salted caramel muffin in the café there - go get that.

#21: Thanks for the sugar coated memories 

Let's face it, when you travel with family, you basically transfer your shit life at home to a new, somewhat cleaner and less cluttered, shit life on holiday. You still have to wake at 6.30am. You still actually have to look after your children. You still await bedtime everyday. Except you have less ELC toy vomit to rely on.
But when your finally back to your own home, I like to indulge in some grass was always greener memories including; Wasn't the holiday lovely? Didn't everyone have such a nice time? When can we book the next one?
Obligatory 'Happy Family' photo
Yes, only sugar coated memories remain. Bit like giving birth really, you always forget what it's really like, so you have another one.
 *Browses Expedia*
So what are your secret family holiday joys?
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  1. This list is completely on point, aww the holiday mega nap! It's worth going away just for that.

    1. Oh, the joy that children bring to you life...namely, the resurgence of glorious naps. Free time for yourself or your own snuggly siesta. Thanks for reading.

  2. Sounds like a great vacation. Isn't it funny how all the rules go out the window when you are away from home? LOL! Tiring them out in the pool, brilliant! And even more brilliant sneaking off for some adult time. I hope you enjoyed it and aren't needing a vacation from your vacation!

    1. It was actually out best holiday so far (we've had many shit ones, so comparatively speaking, it was ace). I think this was because we left two bawling kids with my sister for one night while we fannied about in the spa and ate hot nuts at the pub. We also lowered our expectations that we would have any real type of holiday relaxation. Our first holiday when Firstborn was 10 months involved is sitting in a dark room, watching Spanish soaps, eating crisps for dinner so the baby would sleep. Top tip - always book accommodation with more than one room!

  3. Sounds like a great vacation. Isn't it funny how all the rules go out the window when you are away from home? LOL! Tiring them out in the pool, brilliant! And even more brilliant sneaking off for some adult time. I hope you enjoyed it and aren't needing a vacation from your vacation!

  4. Thanks for stopping by as well (and for the comment duplication, must mean you really liked this post!)
    Hope your family hols are fun times.

  5. Ha ha! Awesome! Sounds like a fab holiday. Thanks so much for linking up to #TheList x

    1. As fab as a holiday with kids can ever be....e.g. never the same as pre-kids holibobs! Thanks for commenting x

  6. An excellent holiday then! :D xx

    1. Any holiday is a good holiday isn't it??Love a hol x

  7. Replies
    1. In retrospect it was fabulous, whilst there I was regretting the whole family holiday decision. Thanks for reading.

  8. Haha! LOVE this!! Particularly number 17!!! Hahaha!! Such a brilliantly observed post — has just had me laughing out loud!! Thanks so much for sharing and linking up with #TwinklyTuesday x

    Caro |

    1. Glad it gave you a giggle! Thanks for having me at twinkly Tuesdays x

  9. Ha ha so funny, it sounds like you had a great time x

    1. Yeah, as much as I moan, a great time was had x

  10. All those reasons make me want to book a trip right now! And I'll even take the kids!

    1. must be desperate for a holiday! Good luck if you do, hope you find fun in the mischief like we did!

  11. I laughed out loud reading your post! Your observations are so true!!! I particularly enjoyed the inadvertent exercise, the looking good at the pool & mega nap time blurbs. There really is nothing like a family holiday!!

    1. I know and this is the way things are now, so I have to get used to it, may as well have fun. Glad you LOL'd, love a good LOL.