Imagine the beach. Golden sands, waves gently lapping at your toes, a cocktail in one hand and a trashy book in the other. Life is good. The children are building a beautiful sandcastle, one with turrets and double glazed windows. (they will obviously be architects when they grow up) Your hot husband is lying next to you, marvelling at your model-like body.
First of all, hit delete on the man. Chuck the cocktail away. You won’t get to read your book because your children are trying to build a castle out of poisonous jellyfish. You can forget the model body too. You look like a freaking bagel in a swimsuit.
There was once a time where holidays meant sunbathing for hours and being tipsy at noon. Wonderful men who looked like they had stepped out of the pages of a magazine offered you a beer and a swim in the ocean. Now they are busy chatting up the more supple options while you try to slather suncream on a lobster-red toddler.
Holidays are no longer relaxing. They are an exercise in hazard perception. You’ve watched enough Madeline McCan documentaries to know that leaving them in the hotel room while you guzzle wine on the beachfront is not an option. You can’t go anywhere fancy for dinner because your kids won’t even eat their greens, never mind a chilli-fried octopus. You have to source the nearest eatery that serves nuggets and chips. Usually some dingy place with decade old ketchup. Failing that McDonalds.
The hotel becomes a playground, where your children menace other patrons and throw complementary pencils everywhere. (Why the fuck won’t they just sit down and draw!)
Bedtime has gone out of the window, as you are all squashed in one room. You all end up piled up on the bed at 11, like a stack of clams. Forget watching a cute movie and sipping mango juice, the little fuckers want to jump on the bed.
When the hotel entertainment starts getting sexy, you have to leave. When everything seems placid, your child shits in a lift because she has food poisoning. The safest thing to do is throw them in the nearest swimming pool with a bunch of inflatables, so you get to read two pages of a book.
You spend your days at water parks and fairgrounds, burning up under the sun and squirting suncream like it’s an AK47.
They won’t keep their hats on, they cry in public and all the local kids are lean, bronzed and ever so well behaved. You spot a team of senoritas walk past in short-shorts and sigh in reminiscence.
When all is said and done you have to go to the airport. This you dread. The kids will get bored and start wiping bogeys everywhere and shit. You saved up for two years for this holiday so when anyone at work asks you how it was, you will be sure to say “Lovely thanks! Was so good to get away!”