Do you enjoy preparing for a holiday?  Or would you rather just set off?

Last week my children’s school Beach in the sunset from a cliff top. How I sabotaged my holidayhad a training day.  My husband had booked the day off work months ago, and I managed to wangle things so that I could be off with them.  We booked a static caravan by the seaside.  We weren’t anticipating the beautiful weather – that was a bonus.

But getting ready to go was a nightmare.  I was working until late the evening before, so we had to pack the next morning.  As usual, the atmosphere in our house before a holiday was dreadful.  It was interesting to work out why!

Before we left…

There were a few things that had to happen before we left.  My son needed to do his homework.  I refused to take it with us.  He had some spellings to write out, and some map co-ordinates to plot.  After having been fine up until the word “homework” was mentioned, he suddenly went all floppy.  No-one was helping him.  He couldn’t possibly do it by himself.  I found myself yelling at him to do his spellings because he didn’t need any assistance with this part.  Naturally, he burst into tears.  I left the room.

My daughter needed to practise her violin.  She was going to be playing in a concert this week, and every little bit of rehearsal helps.  Like her brother, she flopped and seemed to be incapable of playing anything.  I accused her of being pathetic (she truly was!) and left her crying, too.  What a great mum.

Making everyone upset

It’s not just the kids who end up upset before we go away. My husband seems to be incapable of thinking for himself in this situation. We end up glaring at each other and sniping all of the time. It’s not a pleasant atmosphere.Enormous pile of suitcases. How I sabotaged my holiday

The thing is, I could see it all happening around me. It was me who was shouting at the kids. I had scared my husband in the past by needing him to do things my way. I was in a pattern of ruining the start of our holiday.

We were lucky enough to have amazing weather and to spend two days on the beach. After our dodgy start, our holiday was lovely. I was so relieved that I hadn’t ruined it for everyone, but I knew I needed to make a change.

Handing it over

On the afternoon that we needed to empty the caravan, I did just this. For once my job wasn’t to do all the packing up. The children wanted to go to the swimming pool, and it’s not my husband’s thing. I took them and he packed everything up. Well, when I say “everything” I actually mean his clothes and the stuff in the kitchen. He did the cleaning and tidying up. I still packed mine and the children’s bags. But I let him pack the car. This was still an enormous change from usual! Looking through a bridge to see children swimming in the sea. How I sabotaged my holiday

Next time we go away, I need to change my attitude. Of course, I still need to make sure we have the essentials with us, but I think this can happen in a different way.

My plan is to make everyone a list. We will talk them through beforehand. Each person will need to complete their list (which may include instrument practice and homework) but does not need to be fine exactly on my terms. I wonder if we will be able to break the pattern of Mum being an ogre and the family being pathetic?

Have you noticed patterns like this in your relationships?

For more posts like this, follow Secrets of Heaven on Facebook


  1. Sounds like our household! I think lots of mums have ‘their’ way to do things and end up hanging on to too much and then resenting others when there is too much to do! I would love to see how you get on with your new strategy! My husband has a lovely neat list for his own packing while I pack everything else! Maybe we need to have more lists for everyone to use as you have suggested so that everyone can share the responsibility and I let go…even if it means things get left or done differently! Or will I get more stressed by that/1 😉 I always feel I need a holiday after a holiday and don’t get me started on the washing pile!!

    1. I’m already planning when we will do washing when we go to Holland in August… :/ Yes, I felt more tired when I got back than I had done before we left! I am glad it’s not just me, though…

  2. It’s very rare for us to have gone away while kids were in school so I’ve never encountered the homework thing I do take charge in organizing, pack for the kids, that way I’m sure it’s done.

  3. We don’t have kids in our home so there’s a lot less of us to coordinate before a holiday, but I think lists and being prepared is. great idea x

  4. I once read somewhere that holidays are one of the most stressful things to plan and do. I definitely agree with this sometimes! Don’t get me wrong, I love getting away, but it’s not always as relaxing as you’d think.

  5. I personally know that most holidays ruined before you even set off, I am glad you ended up having a lovely time.

  6. I love to travel but I find I get really stressed and people cannot even do the simplest of things. This winds me up and I get even more stressed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.