Do you enjoy preparing for a holiday? Or would you rather just set off?
Last week my children’s school had 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.
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!
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?
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