You call this a holiday??

We recently went on a holiday to Vanuatu. When we got back, our family and friends quite understandably asked us how it was. It was a difficult question to answer. We tried to put a positive spin on things, but in the end we conceded “it was as pleasant as spending a week in a tiny two bedroom hotel room with no kitchen and three little kids can be, I guess…” Everyone nodded knowingly. Many had been there. (That is, on a similarly exhausting holiday…not to Vanuatu…)

We are about to head to Adelaide for a long weekend. Hubby grew up there, and this trip is way overdue. We will be staying in a nice apartment on the beach and Hubby is excited. But I am a realist. I know we will start the weekend with high hopes, and end it absolutely knackered and a little bit pissed off.

Holidays, for us, are hard work. And hard work is not a holiday…

I believe the key to a great family holiday depends on one’s children possessing the following two attributes:

  1. Ability to self help (shower, dress themselves, clean their own teeth, sleep past 5am etc.), and
  2. A desire to interact positively with their parents (have fun together, care what we think, appreciate our sense of humour etc.)

When both attributes are present, holiday enjoyment can be achieved:

According to my calculations the Holiday Enjoyment Index peaks during a small window between the ages of 7 and 12. I call this the “Sweet Spot”.

Unfortunately, by the time our youngest child emerges into a period of high self-sufficiency, our eldest child’s desire to spend any time with us is likely to be on the verge of rapid decline. Our family Sweet Spot is very short indeed. In fact, our average H.E. Index rating is scheduled to rise above 8 only once between now and when our kids reach their early twenties.

Our options are limited:

1)   Accept this fact and enjoy 2018 while it lasts, or

2)   Act urgently to extend the period during which our children want to hang out with us by:

(a) developing bonds so strong they withstand everything the tumultuous adolescent years might have in store for us, or

(b) saving up for really cool holidays that our kids will consider coming on despite not wanting to be around us

My obvious preference would be for 2(a), but given the week I’m having I wonder if we’d better start saving…

Image courtesy of Poulsen Photo/


6 thoughts on “You call this a holiday??

  1. I’m loving the graphs… I am feeling this one is a little optimistic or maybe I’m a pessimist. I thought the teenage years would be far worse than the graph indicates on both fronts, desire to help and self help skills.

    PS anywhere near here on the 16th, we are off to dinner and we are missing you!

  2. Maybe I’m a pessimist too…I can’t help wondering about the upward trend of the green section after a low at 13. I don’t know many 15, 16 or 17 year olds (ourselves included) who were thrilled about quality mum and dad time. I guess it does indeed depend on the holiday.

  3. Really? This post is optimistic?? Geez – things are worse than I realised…
    Will actually be in Adelaide on the 16th Nov Spinneretti, although dinner with you guys sounds delightful – I think I might need to hatch a plan for a weekend in Sydney sometime soon… Xx

  4. HilARious chart 🙂
    Weirdly I was talking about this only today. We keep just renting cottages or lodges here in the UK. i’d like to go somewhere hot but i can’t face the whole small-room-kids-in-bed-early-spend-the-night-keeping-quiet-in-the-darkness thing. So for now I think i’m sticking with cottages, preferably in a resort with kids clubs, and wine. Good wine. Who needs sun and sea when you’ve got good wine. Right? Right?

  5. Pingback: Holidays can be fun after all! « charlotte's musings

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