Oh How Our Summer Holidays Have Changed!
Remember that time BC (before children) when you would plan your holiday with your significant other? You’d scour the self-catering options (AirBnB didn’t exist back then) looking for a gorgeous rustic studio apartment on the Greek Islands somewhere and a cheap ass flight. You could get a holiday for £300 and when you got there you’d live on paprika crisps and local beer. A little later on but still before the rugrats landed, you’d perhaps have a bit more cash and holidays would be boutique hotels where children didn’t exist and cabanas were the selling point. Now though, with two small kids to cater for, holidays are a whole different ball game.
BC we would actively avoid package holidays. We’d quickly side-step any bouncy twenty year old in a polo shirt with a travel company logo on it, hanging around the airport. We couldn’t think of anything worse than being trapped in a resort on an all-inclusive deal eating from the same four restaurants and never seeing anything of the place you’re in. Mini discos were our ideal of hell and don’t even get me started on aqua-aerobics in the morning.
We were so arrogant I think we felt sorry for those parents as we watched them struggle, laden down with buggies and brats, dripping in sweat and definitely on the brink of divorce, pile on a coach to go and sit in an all-inclusive resort. We were obnoxious and entitled and FUCK ME, we were ignorant. But oh how the mighty have fallen…or have we? Now, with the beauty of hindsight and the reality of two small children, I cannot think of anything more JOYFUL than landing in an all-inclusive resort.
On Tuesday we are heading to Mallorca for ten days. We are on an all-inclusive package which means, for ten days, I don’t have to make a bed, cook a meal or clean a bathroom. Ask me where I’m going in Mallorca? Don’t know, don’t care. We probably won’t leave the resort. As long as there’s a kids club, a splash pool, restaurants overflowing with food and local wine on tap, I literally could not care where we are.
For me, holidays are more valuable than they’ve ever been. In that BC time, a holiday was lovely but it wasn’t as sphincter-clenchingly necessary as they are now. I’m at burnout. I can’t get my brain to work in a straight line and actually finishing a task is becoming harder and harder. With my job being so screen focussed, I can’t wait to take all my pictures on an actual camera and lock my phone in the safe, checking it only once a day. I’m going to read, swim, chase the kids around, play scrabble on the balcony with my husband while the kids sleep and enjoy a glass of red wine. Sure, we’ll fight, the kids will annoy us, they’ll get tired and I’ll be super bored of putting sunscreen on after about three hours on the first day BUT, I won’t be making beds, cooking meals and cleaning bathrooms. Win.
In our current status as a family of four with two young children, the all-inclusive option is the only option if we want a real holiday. I’d love to do villa holidays again, in the future, but only if the kids are old enough to make their own food or we’re so rich we can afford a chef and a housekeeper. Holidays are for everyone - yes, the kids need to be catered for, but we also need to make sure we get a proper holiday out of it too. There’s a lot of pressure on us for the rest of the year to juggle all the plates and catch all the balls so making sure that you look after yourself on those precious few days, is really important.