We went away recently with my entire family (fourteen of us in total) and it was a wonderful time, but how on earth does one cope with so many people?! If you get along with your family like I do, then group holidays with them can be great fun, you’re on holiday with people you love and want to spend time with, you get along with everyone and know the general traits of those with you, you get free child care and you make some fantastic fun memories. But, but, but, let’s not rose tint (or rosé tint, ha!) it, it can be hard work especially if like me you’re going away with quite a large group. There’s always a lot of clearing up, swimming costumes and shoes on the floor to pick up, dishwashers to empty and potential arguing between the kids etc. It often is your routine at home but multiplied. So, if you want to get the most out of your time away, and if you want to come out the other side unscathed, here’s my tongue-in-cheek guide to surviving a big family holiday.
I’ve just mentioned it, and the one big thing (I think) that can cause arguments on holiday is the tidying up, so where possible, avoid all tidying up by following these two simple tips:
Look busy: If in doubt, look busy. If clearing up needs doing or a dishwasher needs emptying and you’re not feeling it, look like you’re riffling through a bag, grab the toddler, grab anyone’s child and get busy, looking busy. Looking like you’re doing something that requires extreme concentration makes people think you’re already in the throws of something, thus probably/possibly already helping in some way. Win.
The walk in – walk out the room: Again if things look like they’re getting serious, if there is arguing going about who left what mess, walking into a room and looking like you’ve remembered something then walking out again, works perfectly. You look like you’re in the middle of something, thus people think you’re probably helping anyway.
Looking after the kids on holiday can, quite frankly just smack of your routine at home and can often cause arguments over who should be doing what. This next one is a good tip if you’ve just managed to read a whole page of your book, without re-reading the same page 15 times and you’d like to stay put.
Pretend sleeping: If the husband is on a roll looking after the kid, suddenly looking like you’re in a nice deep sleep on the lounger, unable to hear the shouts for help, works perfectly. This also help well in many situations like in the morning when the toddler wanders into your room at 6am, pretend deep sleeping sometimes sends her to the husbands side of the bed. Throw in some drool if you’re feeling dramatic. Or if you don’t happen to be prone on a lounger, refer to my option above, the walk in – walk out the room trick or see point below.
Hiding: This works a treat at home with the toddler if I need some alone time, so if you are called to action and want some more reading time, just pop yourself behind a large curtain or behind a door (my personal favourite) and continue. You’ve got to think on your feet with this one, and after a few vino’s this could be comical but at worst, you’d be found slightly inebriated in a cupboard and depending on your family, this might be perfectly acceptable.
If the atmosphere needs lightening, or you’re a bit bored, drinks can help. In fact, drinks always help.
Alcohol: If in doubt, have a drink. In fact, make yourself the nominated drinks person because they always gets to have the strongest beverage, and have little tasters as they’re concocting (well, I do anyway). Plus, certainly in our family, the drinks maker holds extreme responsibility akin to King or Prime Minister, thus is relieved from tidying/cooking/child duty.
And finally, if the conversation is lulling then this next tip helps, because it’s all everyone can talk about the following day.
Stay up disgustingly late at least once (or twice): This is when the best arguments and discussions happen. When everyone’s had a vat full of booze, and it’s great because no on can really remember what they were talking about the next day, maybe something about the war, money, or was it … oh I can’t remember, shall we have another drink?
P.s If any of my family read this, I don’t do any of this, honest! 😉