Friday, 10 November 2017

Why I Don't Take All Of My Children On Holiday

Do you ever start writing something and feel like it might turn into a bit of a rant?

I do...and this is one of those posts! So I apologise in advance if I get a bit heated/sweary/or just go on a bit...but this is something that's been bugging me for a while now so I thought it was time to get it off my chest.

Last month, Jon & I headed off on a med cruise holiday with Tyne & Noah... at 4 and 2 years old respectively they are the oldest two of our three young sons, with the baby of the bunch 20 month old Sailor (an ironic name given the holiday he didn't go on, I know!) being left with his grandparents.

Before we went, I wrote a note in my blog diary with an idea for a post I wanted to write entitled "Why I don't take all of my children on holiday"...I knew that some people who don't know us well and don't know our lives would probably find it a bit unusual or even odd that we weren't all going on holiday together, and so I thought it would make for an interesting topic to cover.

Typically, I didn't get chance to write it as the time whizzed past and it was too late...we were already on holiday.

However, when we got home...I posted a photo to Instagram with a caption along the lines of "We're back from our holiday and its safe to say we all have the holiday blues!". It wasn't long before some twat opinionated person commented with "Holiday blues? I'd have thought you'd be glad to get back to the third child you left at home".

Now...first of all...let's clear something up. I'm not writing this post as any sort of defence, like I said...I had always planned to write it and just never got around to it...because the thing is, no matter how much you think you know someone purely because you read their blog posts or watch their occasional don't REALLY know them. You don't know the ins and outs of their lives, and therefore you have absolutely no right to judge anything about them. And if you do that? You're an idiot. So either way...your opinion means nothing and I don't need to defend myself against it.

But the comment did remind me of why I wanted to talk about this topic and so here we are

Why DO we sometimes choose not to take all of the children on holiday with us?

Why would anyone EVER want to take a holiday without one of their children?

Well I can't speak for everybody...but here are OUR reasons.

We had our children very close fact we had all 3 children within the space of 3 years. Now this can be a good thing in some ways, I'm not saying it's a bad thing...but what it is? Is hectic. And chaotic. And stressful. And LOUD.

And it's that way the vast majority of the time.

Somebodys usually crying, or throwing a tantrum, or has bumped their head or scratched their knee, or wants a story, or needs a nappy change, or is hungry....there is ALWAYS something going on. It is never quiet.


We have had babies at home for the past four years (sometimes two at once).

We have been potty training somebody for the past two years and for the foreseeable future.

We have had children in nappies for the past four years.

We have had teething children for the past four years.

We have had disturbed sleep and sleepless nights more often than not for the last four years.

I have spent most of the last four years pregnant, suffering with extreme morning sickness and exhausted. I have had 3 major operations (c section births) to recover from in the last four years. I also have an auto immune disease that causes extreme tiredness anyway.

In short? We are very TIRED people. Really, really bloody tired.

It is RARE that we get a full nights sleep. It is RARE that our day doesn't involve a lot of crying, a lot of tantrums, a lot of doing things for the boys.

And that's fine...that's what we signed up for. I'm not complaining about it and I wouldn't change it. But I am saying that in all is hard work.

So when I  pay thousands of pounds for a holiday, I want to enjoy it to the full...I want to think about how I am best going to be able to make the most of that holiday that I have worked hard for...and if I think there may be a chance that for those 2 weeks we may be able to sleep a little better than usual or be a little less stressed out than usual...then I'll probably take it.

Because unlike most of the families I know...we DON'T have a support network close to us. My parents live 5 hours away, Jons parents are dead and we don't have any close friends nearby.

We're on our own...we don't have babysitters very often, we don't have anyone to fall back on who can pop over and lend a's just us.

And that is a lot of pressure. And a lot of work. And again...I'm not complaining, but I am saying it is hard.

Another thing that people don't realise about life with 3 young children so close together in age is that it is very challenging on a practical level.

For example, when walking very long distances like you tend to do on holidays...all 3 of the boys could do with being in a pushchair or else there is LOTS of whining. None of them like being in carriers so they aren't an option. We have a double pushchair, but how could we manage to fit another single pushchair into the car or into the cabin on a cruise holiday?

Another thing is the worry about disturbing other people....I have that worry EVERY single bedtime at home, I stress out about whether our neighbours are sick and tired of hearing 3 little ones all crying and tantrumming at once because they don't want to go to bed. I don't want that worry on holiday too. Our evenings on board the cruise were hard enough with 2 young children refusing their beds...a third one would only have made it even harder and more stressful which is not what anybody wants to experience on holiday.

It is also very difficult to keep 3 YOUNG children safe at once...our 2 year old is a runner. He tries his best to break free of our hands and run away constantly. I lost count of the number of times on our cruise that Noah broke free and tried to run....luckily one of us stayed with Tyne while the other ran after him before he fell overboard but add another baby into the mix? And that would have made things much more difficult. What if they ran off in different directions? Do we leave our 4 year old alone while we each run after one of the little ones!? There are too many "What ifs"...I quite simply would not feel comfortable being responsible for all 3 of them on a cruise.

So you may ask....then why book a cruise holiday? Why not book one you can all enjoy together? short...why should I?! I enjoy cruise holidays, I work hard to pay for them....why shouldn't I be allowed to enjoy them?

If I'M happy that my child is absolutely fine at home with his grandparents, why should it bother anybody else?

My youngest son is not even 2 years are very would have cost over £1000 to take him with us. Can you justify spending that for a child who wouldn't even know where he was? I couldn't.

As for my son being "left at home"'s not as though he's sitting by himself with a pot noodle and a torch waiting for our return. He's visiting his grandparents...who, by the way, live a 5 hour drive from him so its very rare that he gets to visit them. We're lucky if we get there once or twice a year.
Most children I know see their grandparents once or twice a week.

Sailor adores his grandparents, and they love having him there to spoil...he's taken on days out, he gets to visit our extended family in Liverpool...he has a whale of a time. So what's the problem?

I only wish that my own Nan was still around to go and spend time fondest memories of her are of the times I spent sleeping over at her house when I was a little girl. I loved having one on one time with her, those are special memories...why wouldn't I want my son to experience that and have those memories too?

And the final thing to consider...the holidays we take are NOT our only chance to be together as a family like they would be for most people.

Jon and I have been based at home ever since the children were born...I have been a work from home mother and Jon has been a stay at home dad...all of us are together at home EVERY SINGLE DAY and have been ever since the boys were born. The boys don't even go to nursery. We are all together constantly.

So a holiday for us is NOT a rare chance  to have quality time together as a family that we never otherwise have....we have that chance every day.

We also do not have only one holiday per year....we are lucky enough to be able to have 2 or 3 holidays...this year Sailor didn't come on our cruise holiday, but he DID come with us for a week in Butlins and a week in Cornwall too...and he'll be coming with us to Disneyland Paris next week, only a month after the last holiday that he "missed out on". So it's not like it was his only chance to go on holiday this year.

As things stand at the moment, we have never been on holiday without at least one of the boys....a lot of parents I know have taken child-free holidays and are they vindicated for that? Should they be? Should they not be allowed to enjoy any time away on their own because they had children? I certainly don't think that's the case.

So why should we be looked down on for not taking all of the boys on every holiday we take?

Some things we choose are not suitable for all of their ages. Some things seem like they wouldn't be safe for all of them at once. To be honest Im a little worried about how we're going to manage all 3 of them logistically on and off rides at Disneyland next week...and goodness knows what we're going to do about the pram situation! (We did Disneyland without a pram for Tyne once and it was NOT a good move!!!)

These are all our decisions to make. Because only WE know our children and only WE know what would be best for our family circumstances.

So if you  look at us and wonder why we'd ever want to go away without one of the boys, you can kindly take your judgy pants off and shove them firmly up your arse...because unless you have also had 3 children in the space of 3 years who are also bad sleepers and you also have no local support network and rarely get a good nights sleep or the chance to have a conversation with your other half uninterrupted and you also work full time running your own business  to support your family...then you don't understand my life or my reasoning.

And you don't have to understand it. But you DO have to stop judging what I do by what works for YOU and YOUR life...because it's not the same.

And guess what?

Next year, we've booked another cruise...and this time? We're only taking Tyne!

Because it was an extra £2000 to take Noah and Sailor, and Noah drove us absolutely crackers on this last  holiday with his constant running away so *shock horror* we thought some one on one time with our eldest son while Noah and Sailor visit their grandparents might be nice.

So it'll just be Disneyland and Butlins that we all do together as a family next year....

I can get social services phone number for you if you'd like to report our terrible cruelty....

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