Facebook and my new friend Twatter are full to the brim of holiday countdowns at the moment. Things like “only 10 days to go until I’m on the beach with my handsome hubby and beautiful children”.
Obviously, I’ve gone wrong to start with. I don’t have a husband. I have, well, I don’t know what I have. We’ve been together for years, have a house, children and I still don’t know what to call him. Boyfriend? I’m 36 not 14. Partner? Sounds like some sort of dodgy business set-up. I normally settle for ‘other-half’. I don’t like it but can’t think of anything better. Anyway, digression over. I’ve gone wrong because he’s not handsome. And my children are not beautiful. I mean, none are hideously ugly nor would they get stared at on the street, but they’re certainly not going to be asked to be the next Milky Bar Kid. I should add that I’m no oil-painting either. In this way, we all suit each other. Would hate to have a beautiful child that people thought we’d stolen.
Anyway, back to the topic. I used to look forward to holidays… pre-children. Tomorrow, for instance, we embark on the delights of a ‘family holiday’. All five of us. Well, all 5 and a half if you count the growing fetus. We’re going with some friends who have two further little humans. That’s FIVE children. Five lots of moaning. Five lots of mess. Five lots of needing the toilet at inappropriate times. 24 hours a day. For 7 whole days.
I’ve learnt that no matter how upbeat and positive I am, no matter how much I envisage everyone smiling happily on the beach eating a lovely nutritious picnic, by 10am tomorrow morning after a couple of hours (of the eight or so in the car), there will be hideous moaning and arguing and fighting and I’ll wish I could knock myself out with valium. No matter how many times they are asked if they need the toilet before we leave, within 20 minutes of pulling away, someone will need the the toilet. No matter how many times the rule about not being allowed to smuggle sweets into the car is repeated, a half chewed gummy bear will be stuck to a door handle when we get out for the 1464th toilet stop.
I just don’t find it enjoyable. I come back wanting a rest. Wanting to just lie in bed for a week. But then I’ve got to go back to stinky work. Which is worse. Just. The children, however, love it. And I suppose it’s all for them in the end. They don’t remember the fighting, the arguments over who has the top bunk, the over excitement, the over tiredness and the over priced ice creams.
There was an article recently reported on the BBC on the key to happiness (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23097143). Not surprisingly the following was noted:
“Having children lowers your happiness levels, but your happiness increases when they grow up and leave home”.
And this is the reason we will persevere through this. Much like not not appreciating things until they’ve gone – by enduring these ‘holidays’, when they have all finally grown up and left home (if we’re both still alive and kicking at that point – knowing my luck I’ll keel over the minute the last one closes the back door) we will enjoy our holidays so much more. We won’t complain about the cockroaches in the bathroom or the mold on the bread, because what, quite frankly, is mold on bread compared to a large turd mashed into a holiday cottage’s carpet?
So the children will love it.
And we’ll appreciate life more in the future as a result.
And that’s why we’ll go.
And, as I tell myself every time, I’m going to enjoy it. OH YES.