All across the UK we have enjoyed a rare heat wave. I personally have enjoyed it so much that I merrily and somewhat naively started to Google “family friendly holidays.”
As I type I allow my mind to day dream of sunbathing with one eye open, watching two boys happily building sand castles next to me whilst I sip a cold cocktail. Heaven!
Yet I know this delirious holiday google is a dangerous game as the reality is i’m more likely to be sweating and life guarding the sh*t out of the kids 24/7.
Not this time I say. This time things will be different.
I am wrong! Of course I am! Allow me to introduce Portugal 2017.
It starts about a week before the holiday ACTUALLY begins, with the packing, unpacking and picking up things I thought id packed that my toddler – Leo – has dragged around the house or shoved down the toilet for me to fish out later.
Once I’ve packed absolutely everything I own, I move onto cleaning the house from top to bottom. I have no idea why I do this? People say its so they don’t come home to a messy house but I come home to one of those every day so it wouldn’t make a difference really. Yet like the pre holiday loony Mum I become, I scrub the crap out of my sofa and frantically fluff my pillows. Cleaning marathon done I retreat to bed only to get up a few hours later to do the middle of the night trip to the airport with two tired and grumpy boys.
I used to really LOVE airports. I mean that was the start of the holiday wasn’t it? Perusing through the duty free make up and perfumes, grabbing a coffee or the obligatory airport pint selfie at 5am. These days I get dragged past the Chanel and Mac and straight to the huge window to plane spot repeatedly until we board.
This is where the real drama unfolds. It’s like keeping a wasp under a jar trying to keep two boisterous boys seated on a plane. My advice here is do not try to buy a drink, you WILL end up gingerly dabbing the crotch of the stranger unlucky enough to be seated next to you and that isn’t something anyone wants to see at 6am on a Wednesday.
Once we arrive at The Eden Resort Albuferia, (its gorgeous) we begin what is to become the daily suncream drama! Its sticky, it goes in eyes and up noses and always results in a tantrum.
Once the kids look like they have been rolled in PVA glue we head to the beach. Here we play what I refer to as “the parenting relay” as we take it in turns to pass the baton of childcare praying for synchronised napping and cocktails. Those moments are rare but enjoyed immensely when they do happen and almost always result in the other half announcing “this is the life!”
After the sun has gone down and we have braved the kids mini disco full of other parents having an equally hellish time we head back to get the boys to bed with the promise of sitting out on the patio with a bottle of wine well into the night. Yet we collapse on the bed, exhausted and fall asleep about 9.30pm. Rock and Roll!
Despite sleeping through at home both boys wake up at 4am and declare they are hungry. Not good when the all inclusive buffet doesn’t open for another two hours! I find some snacks left over from the plane and dish them out to buy 15 mins of entertainment.
We then get ready and SOMEHOW with all the usual “ nooooo you get me dressed, ive got a poorly finger” excuses we almost end up being late for breakfast.
Today we decide to head to the pool to avoid the shit storm of sand we endured the day before. Whilst searching for the kids pool we come across a Holy Grail, The “adults only” pool.
They have funky music and double bed style sun loungers. It looks like an Ibiza pool party in there! I admire tanned twenty somethings laying sipping “sex on the beach” cocktails flirting with the buff life guards. Meanwhile I have a mum costume, a balding life guard and “Dave and Ava” playing through YouTube to keep Leo from having regular meltdowns.
Somewhere along the way to the pool Henry somehow manages to bully us into buying him a super soaker too. Yes! Really! The clue is in its name and whether you mean to or not (im guessing he did) those things squirt really far blasting anyone in their path. In the end I confiscated the thing and but it did come home with us and for months it made regular appearances at bath time. Never again!
At this point we adopt the phrase “same shit, different country” and from then on the rest of the holiday goes fairly well. We kind of just start enjoying it for what it is and if your good moments outweigh your tantrums then I say you’ve succeeded in having a “nice time” on a family holiday.
Once everyone got used to their “new life” we began to enjoy the remaining days. We spent our time shift taking and playing beach games as a family. We built sand castles, ate ice creams and I did my Mum dance at the disco.
Most of all we enjoyed watching the kids smile and laugh as they found new foreign bugs and explored the beautiful beaches. We coo over their developing bond and as the usual mundane routine disappears we smile and finally relax so I start to google “holidays 2018.”
Love Kathryn, A Mum Like Me xxx