A post by another blogger and some comments from friends got me thinking: the blogger asked about the other side of holidays – the bits that we don’t show on Facebook.
Tough holidays vs. tough moments
We’ve had some tough holidays that were seriously hard work pretty much from start to finish. But this isn’t about those holidays. This is about the tricky moments in the good holidays. The inevitable moments that are easily forgotten with a bit of rose tint in your spectacles.
Why travel with Things?
A few friends have commented that we are more adventurous than them…that they could not – or would not – ever do what we do for the stress of it all. With the aforementioned rose tint, you do forget that sometimes it can all just be quite stressful. Take our recent day out in Rome as an example:
All in all, we had an amazing, if packed day. We knew the kids would be tired (end of term and a late night arrival the night before). Immaculately planned, we left for breakfast at 7.45am at the Coliseum before heading off for a half day tour with Europe 4 Kids Tours / Rome 4 Kids Tours in a golf buggy. (This is an unsponsored post by the way but we were huge, huge fans). After a short rest (no napping – that would have been too easy) we dragged the kids round the Vatican Museums and to St Mark’s Square. You could say we felt victorious in having packed so much into a day.
Hard hard work
Did that mean that I didn’t lose my sh!t all day or that Mr Wanderlust kept it together the entire time? Or that our kids were angels all day? No. Far from it!
I found huge parts of the day really stressful if I’m honest. The kids were hungry at random times and only wanted to snack. When did you ever dream that you would be bribing your kid to eat more pizza?!! We were all tired and taking Things into situations where there are eleventy million people there with you and you could lose them at any time is super stressful. Every stop on the tour involved the worry that it would be a stop too far and we would have The Mother Of All Meltdowns right there in the middle of the Sistine Chapel or somewhere equally embarrassing.
Really hard work!
We didn’t eat a single meal without interrupting the conversation to shout “sit down or I’m going to throw your food in the bin / you won’t get gelato for dessert / there will be no iPad tomorrow / etc”. In fact one of us had to get up at every meal to shepherd the kids back to the table or off the road (ok, nearly off the road). Someone broke a glass juice bottle, we probably snapped at or shouted at each other about 10 times an hour, we made empty threats, we fulfilled threats and we nearly lost each Thing at least 5 times over the course of the day (“seriously how many times do I have to tell you to STAY WHERE I CAN SEE YOU?!”).
That’s not to even mention the bits where I almost had a breakdown over the many many MANY group tours that were milling about around us (and mostly oblivious to their fellow tourists but that’s another post) which had nothing to do with the kids and everything to do with why I hate being a tourist and much prefer to hang out in a country getting to know the locals.
So why bother?
And this was a good day! As we walked around, I did spend some time wondering why we do it to ourselves. The day would have gone so differently before we had kids! I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have worried about waiting in a long queue for the Basilica. We would definitely have spent more than 120 seconds in the Sistine Chapel. Even the days that go well are still exhausting from the hyper vigilance that comes with having Things there. I saw the perspective of those friends who “aren’t that adventurous”. An easy life would be so much more relaxing and fun!
I remembered all the reasons we do these things with our kids. Thing 1 has been reading the Lonely Planet Travel Book for Kids and knew what the Coliseum looked like before we got there. They remember seeing the Acropolis last year. Anyway, they would kick off whether they were being forced to go to Hever Castle or Peppa Pig World or the Vatican Museums (granted it is more expensive to go to one than the other). I would lose my sh!t wherever we took them in the world.
Do we need to do this? No…but I want to. I want them to share our love of travelling. It is important to us that they learn about different places and cultures and ways of life. I think it is good for them to see new horizons and vistas and perspectives.
Do you need to do what we do? Only if you want to. The best thing we can do for our kids is to create memories with them and for that it doesn’t matter where you are.