In exactly 18 days, we are taking a family holiday.
It is our only family holiday this year. We actually take about four weeks of ‘holiday’ throughout the year, but usually, three of those are spent visiting my family in Wales. Which is, of course, a lovely time but not really a holiday in the same way. That time is spent enjoying the company of family members we don’t get to see often enough and visiting as many of them as possible. The boys love it, but we don’t get a moment of alone time as a family.
Which is why I am counting down the days until our humble, four-night adventure at Center Parcs. Husband and I have been to the Elveden parc several times before we had kids. We spent our hours idly cycling, swimming and chilling out in the spa. They were possibly the most relaxed, calm and content holidays I’ve ever had.
We booked this one on a whim because we realized, with much dismay, this may be our last chance to take the boys there, at least for a long time.
The problem is Gray is starting school in September.
I checked the website. A two-bedroom cabin, four nights mon-fri in May (term time) is just £400. Not bad. The exact same thing, during the summer holidays? Closer to £1600.
That, in my opinion, is disgusting. We could not possibly afford to drop almost two grand on four nights away. It is cheaper to go abroad, or even to euro Disney!
But it is such a shame, we loved Center Parcs and we really wanted our boys to experience it too. The quiet, bubble-like atmosphere away from the world, not to mention the most epic swimming pool ever! So, May = our last chance!
One reason I am so looking forward to this holiday is not just the time with the boys, but our time with each other. Husband and I work around each other now, avoiding the need for childcare, but leaving us with very little time together.
Husband and I get, on our best day, 5 hours out of 24 together. (Not counting sleeping next to each other!)
We get one day a week together as a family.
With the constant ups and downs of life, things can get stressful and feeling like you’re lacking in quality time can serve to exacerbate this.
Sometimes, getting away from it all is not a treat, it’s a necessity.
We need time to refuel. We need time to destress and reorder our priorities in our minds.
Most importantly, perhaps, we need this to remind ourselves how lucky we are, how loved and how happy we have the potential to be.
You’ll notice I say ‘potential’ there, because I know from experience that sometimes, it is hard to be happy.
I know I am fortunate. I know I have a beautiful family and have the privilege of being financially stable, with a future I can plan for without too much doubt or worry.
But, sometimes things crop up that just… distract you.
We just found out that Gray got his first choice of Primary school. We’re so thrilled, it has lifted a massive amount of stress! Now we are confident he will be in a good environment, just five minutes from our door!
The thing is, leading up to finding out we had the fear of not knowing hanging over our heads. My mind kept telling me we would never get our first choice. that we would have to drive him 20 minutes each way and drop him at a place we had not looked around and didn’t like.
I knew there was a solid chance things would go to plan, but it wasn’t until I read the name of our first choice in that email acceptance (and shrieked loud enough to concern people) that I let myself admit how scared I had been by the uncertainty.
I almost cried with relief. Seriously.
It brings into focus all the times I had let those negative thoughts creep in over the past few weeks. The number of little things I probably could have handled better, or paid more attention to but didn’t due to being distracted, well….
Scary when you think there is always a new issue to replace the one that has just been resolved, isn’t it?
How much do I miss every day? How much do my relationship, parenting and everyday life suffer due to stupid, unnecessary stress?
A family holiday doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, a week in a tent an hours drive from home can be more than enough. I know sometimes we think holidays must involve white sandy beaches and airplanes, but that just isn’t the case. As long as you are away from the norm, with the chance to do something fun/relaxing/both, that is more than enough.
Even if you get one week a year, even if it’s ‘nothing special’ in your eyes, just as long as the focus is on your family and spending time with your kids, you have succeeded in having a true family holiday. When you get that chance, take it.
Don’t let it pass you by for any reason, trust me.
My General Manager has just resigned, and it just so happens that our week holiday Is when he leaves. So I now know that during my week away my old Manager will be leaving and either our shift runners will have to cover the store alone, or a new GM will appear while I’m away.
So, pretty stressful. And, if I’m not careful, a stress that will follow and distract me the entire time I am supposed to be disconnected from worry, focusing on my family.
Now the challenge is to keep that from happening. To keep myself from letting the outside world ruin this week for me.
Well, challenge accepted.
My kids are worth more than temporary stress. I will make this holiday the best, calmest and most memorable for our family so far. And no stress is going to stop me.
Remember, if you find yourself in my position; nothing is more important than your family and your happiness.