Guest Blog Post by Kay Harrison, a journalist and frazzled local mum of one.

Just like youth is wasted on the young, holidays are wasted on the childless.


Because it’s parents who really need the R&R, having spent the year chasing around after their loud, demanding, ungrateful children.


Yet holidays spent with small people are about as relaxing as an evening spent with head lice. Chuck plane flights into the mix and the blood pressure rises as fast as the mercury.


You’ll never forget the moment when you go from being the passenger complaining about the noisy child on the flight to being the passenger WITH the noisy child on the flight. It’s certainly burned into my memory. Four hours in, the kind, elderly stranger sitting next to me removed the wailing infant from my lap to give me (and the rest of the plane) a break.  


But if flights are bad, mealtimes are like going to war. Why must evening meals on all-inclusive holidays start when babies and toddlers are tired, fractious and more inclined to hurl food on the floor rather than into their mouths?


In the end, Family Holiday 1 turned into a tag-team parenting affair, where we let each other have the odd hour to chill out while the other sought out shade to change sandy, sweaty nappies. 


I do remember managing to read a WHOLE magazine, though – something I can normally only achieve when immobile at the hairdresser’s (where I realise how out of touch I am with music, celebrities and fashion. Well, something has to give to make way for all that Peppa Pig trivia). 


Holidays are exhausting. Your worry radar is on constant high alert due to the triple threat of skin cancer, child snatchers and drowning.


So on Family Holiday 2, we packed the ultimate travelling accessory – the grandparents. This being their only grandchild, they relished the chance to build sand fortresses among naked Germans, while we relished the chance to slob by the pool and drink gin.


Were our parents this bothered when we were little? The sun was clearly nothing to fear. I have a series of photos from the 80s showing me and my sisters stripped to the waist, proudly showing off our sunburn from camping trips to Rhyl and Cornwall. The sort of shots that would have parents put on some kind of watch list these days.


I’ve been gradually packing, unpacking and repacking for the past month. Half my bag is taken up with Factor 50, hats with neck flaps and swimwear that makes my child look like he’s sporting a Disney gimp suit.  


And I’m so terrified by the thought of waking to find him at the bottom of the swimming pool, I may make him sleep with armbands on. I mean, what if he sleepwalks, picks the locks to the villa and hurls himself in?


Family Holiday 3 is fast approaching. And this time no grandparents. Instead, we have been invited to share a villa with my boyfriend’s brother and his beautiful fiancé. Their breaks normally involve snowboarding in Japan or fine-dining in Florida. 


I’m not sure they fully comprehend what they have signed up for. Maybe they thought our son would come in handy. His love of Dora the Explorer means he’ll know more Spanish than the rest of us – but it would only come in useful if we needed to catch stars or find lost monkeys.


I guess they are just about to discover how much hard work holidays can be.

Written by:

Kay Harrison (Journalist and frazzled local mum of one)