There is nothing quite like a family holiday when you have a kids. On the one hand there is the amazing feeling of all being together, having fun and feeling happy - then there is the other side.
The first thing you are hit with is the initial holiday preparation, explaining the whole procedure and plan and answering all the questions, of which there are many. All the while you are just hoping to god that they will go along with the whole thing and not sabotage your efforts. Next there of course comes the packing. By the ripe old age of three, they are very sure of what they want to take (everything) and what it must be packed in - something highly impractical, but it does have Spiderman on it! The drive to your destination can and will be long and exhausting for you (very politely put) and for your toddler/child/baby, yet the endless questions continue, some of my recent favourites randomly shot at us on route to the West Country were - 'Why are cars sometimes yellow? Where are we going - Africa? Do they have cats in Devon? Is there water in the sea still? Can ducks eat sausages?'. They may seem slightly irrelevant to us, but hey - to them at that precise moment in time, their concern for a sausage choking duck is a valid one - humour them wisely and your life/holiday/journey will be far easier.
Finally (hallelujah) you arrive and the unpacking is something nightmares are made of. Your toddler excitedly opens every cupboard and drawer, before redressing the bed a few times and loudly insisting their wellies be stored in the microwave (just say yes) whilst also highlighting every element of danger in your new temporary abode - and that ladies and gentlemen is the first hello to Mr first aid kit - you packed that right? It's right there with the kitchen sink.
For the first night there will be no sleep for anyone, purely from the excitement of it all, which is lovely of course and goes down very well after a long noisy sweaty drive with 'Old MacDonald had a badger' on repeat for 9 hours (no sarcasm of course). On day two the fun can really begin and that night you may even get a little sleep - if you're very, very lucky.
Gone are the days of holidays being relaxing, or something that can be classed as 'a break' - but that's OK. Holidays become so much more worthwhile and appreciated when you have children, they do also require lots more planning (plug protectors, Calpol, a billion outfit changes, a full itinerary and a range of inflatables). They aren't very restful and you have to share your ice cream - something that really takes some getting used to. You do however get to re-discover those things you loved as a child, sandcastles, paddling, burying each other in the sand (heads out, lets not get nasty) and of course my all time favourite - rock pooling!
Holidays with children are tiring, but so much fun. You can have lots of adventures and teach them about the world whilst seeing their happy faces enjoying something a million miles from their normal routine of nursery, playgroups and sleep - which to them, I'm sure is much like our boring routine of work, food shops and no sleep.
Thanks for reading,