First, accept it is not a holiday. It is a work trip. You will be doing the same thing as always, just in a different location. There will be slightly better views, slightly more wine, slightly less housework. But it will be the same shit. Prepare for this and it won’t be such a rude shock.
Second: beach time! Have lots of it! This is what you came for, right? Put the kids in their swimmers even if it’s freezing and you are sure you are only going to walk and build sand castles and collect shells. They are going to get wet no matter what the weather or water temperature, because they do not feel the cold nor the judging eyes of strangers. Take a couple of towels and a spare nappy too, it’s a cold, cranky, loooong walk home otherwise.
Find a local restaurant where children are welcome and people aren’t too drunk. It will probably be a club of some kind. Make peace with this. Your children will eat deep fried rubbish drowned in tomato sauce and become obsessed with Keno, but it will be cheap and you’ll be home by 7. 7.30 at the latest.
You know that kids play room at the club that you thought was a god send? Turns out it was a hotbed of gastroenteritis. Here’s where the holiday gets really fun! Hope you brought LOTS of spare bedding! Just pray for morning (somehow everything is more bearable in daylight) then take the kid who didn’t get gastro out the next day to escape the germs and smell of Glen20 and never-ending washing pile. I find cupcakes an excellent bribery tool.
When everyone is feeling better it’s time to get out of the house again. Of course the weather has now turned wintery so instead of the beach you need to find a playground where everyone can eat more cupcakes and spread some more germs.
Between the gastro, the crap weather, the dog weeing on the carpet every morning before you let him out and the torturous sleep deprivation due to the baby refusing to sleep in unfamiliar places even when he isn’t vomiting every hour, you are now desperate to go home. If you and your partner are still on speaking terms at this point, you should count that as a successful holiday.
Luckily the weather finally comes good and you can spend your last morning soaking up all that beach goodness and admonishing yourself for those uncharitable thoughts you had towards your beloved family an hour ago.
Stop for fish and chips on the way home (we like the Kiah Seafood Cafe in Moruya where there is also a fab park for the kids = excellent place for lunch), then ice cream to extend the holiday fun just a bit longer, then hit the Clyde. That wasn’t so bad! This was a good day! Hopefully the kids will sleep a bit and we can listen to a podcast rather than the Frozen soundtrack. Holidays are pretty good! Then you hear a cough and a splutter from the back seat and sure enough the baby throws up. Three times.
Put the kids in the trailer while you clean out the car and the car seat and reminisce about all those awesome pre-children holidays you had together that never involved any vomit or hand sanitiser and know that everyone passing you is just so glad they are not you.
But then the kids DO sleep, and the dog chills out in a most adorable way, and you get to listen to a podcast, and you think to yourself well at least I’ll get a blog post out of this whole mess.
And that’s how you holiday.