Holiday Arguments Only Parents Have

We’ve recently come back from a two week holiday with the kids.  We had a great time, we spent a week in a villa in Empuriabrava, Spain and then a week on a cruise with stops in Italy, France and Spain.  We are very lucky, I know that, but one thing I have noticed since having kids is that Mr ATWWAH and I don’t just save our petty arguments for at home, we get to have them on holiday too.

Almost every couple have arguments, petty or otherwise, when on holiday with their kids.  Gone are the days of holidays punctuated with long mealtimes where you sit in a restaurant for at least two hours savouring every bite; alcohol on the hour, every hour; doing exactly what you please – reading a book in a day, climbing a mountain, walking around a gallery, people watching or having sex in the afternoon, or morning, or evening, whenever you fancied and as loud as you liked.

So, I suppose it’s no surprise that arguments may happen.  Don’t get me wrong I love holidays with the kids, and I have tons of blog posts to write about our recent one and all the fun stuff we did, but I felt a bit of realism was needed too.  When one of my friends asked me how our holiday was I did the stock reply of ‘it was great, wish we were still there…’ and then as she has two boys of similar age too, I added ‘well actually it was hard work and we didn’t half argue some days’.

Our favourite recurring holiday arguments cover the following topics:

Who has relaxed more that day/hour/holiday?

Relaxation to yourself is pretty rare when you take kids on holiday so if one of you has had the chance to relax, say go to the toilet uninterrupted, read a chapter of your book without reading the same paragraph ten times or, the holy grail, wandered off on your own with nobody to be responsible for, then that is used throughout the rest of the holiday as a bargaining tool.

On our recent holiday Mr ATWWAH’s parents came with us to the villa and one afternoon the kids, the in-laws and Mr ATWWAH were all in the pool.  I chose not to go in and instead read some of my book on the sun lounger, well within earshot and there for assistance if required, but I think I spent about an hour reading a book.  That hour haunted me for the rest of the holiday and Mr ATWWAH repeatedly mentioned it as an example of how I had got to relax while on holiday.

In fairness to him he got up every night when Master ATWWAH called out and spent a good proportion of the evening in the kids bedroom (there was a spare bed in there so don’t feel too sorry for him) but amazing how you can use things like that against each other when before kids nobody would think twice about someone reading a book for an hour.

Who is sitting next to Mini ATWWAH at mealtimes?

Admittedly this is only an argument Mr ATWWAH and I can have although I imagine lots of couples go through the same with their offspring.  Mini ATWWAH currently hates highchairs and will only sit in them if he is actively eating and once he has finished his food he wants out.  He’s like Houdini and can climb out of any fastening, I currently have him down for Britain’s Got Talents auditions showing off this particular skill.  I won’t even use a stunt double!

On our cruise the waiters stood bemused as we had a daily debate as to whose turn it was to sit next to him.  I was even accused of going to the loo as we got to the restaurant to avoid sitting next to him.  (Damn, was it that obvious???)

Why it is useful to keep the kids in some sort of routine to save all our sanity

I’m not a big Gina Ford routine person but now we have two kids I find some sort of pattern to the day works especially around bedtime.  I don’t mind later bedtimes on holiday for the kids but I also like some time just with adult company.  Mr ATWWAH is much more laissez-faire about bedtimes especially on holiday. It always causes arguments between us.

Why it isn’t exciting to go somewhere with a washing machine

There was a washing machine in our villa in Spain.  Apparently I was meant to rave about how convenient it was that we could do laundry on holiday.  I didn’t rave about it once.  I did, however, do laundry most days.

Why long car journeys are no longer romantic/adventurous/enjoyable

I must admit we are pretty lucky that the kids don’t seem to suffer from car sickness and Master ATWWAH especially has always been pretty good about sitting in the back of a car and marvelling at the scenery.  If Mr ATWWAH had his way we would hire a car on every holiday and drive to far flung places for fun.  It used to be fun but not with two young children.

How many burgers/ice creams are acceptable for kids to eat in a week?

Master ATWWAH would eat burger and chips for every meal on holiday and demolish the bread basket before the burger arrives.  Mr ATWWAH would let him with the justification that we are on holiday.  I’m a bit stricter and although I don’t mind the kids eating chips etc I do try to make sure they have seen vegetables on their plate at least once a day, even when we are away.

ice cream

What do you mean ice cream isn’t a decent meal?

Did you bring/where are the nappy bags/suntan lotion/kids sunglasses?

For some reason my job, at home and away, is to be responsible for the contents of the changing bag.  I have to pack it each day, replenish it, add to it, second guess when Mr ATWWAH has taken something out of it and not put it back…….it drives me crackers.  I would love to go on one holiday when I don’t have to be responsible for the whereabouts of the bag and its contents.

The one that gets me every time is when Mr ATWWAH starts to change a nappy and then asks me where the wipes/nappies are.  Aarggghhh!!!  Why doesn’t he get these essentials before he takes the dirty nappy off?  In fairness to Mr ATWWAH he changes more than his fair share of nappies but then I figure when I do it then it remains a one man job, not so much when I have to pass him his tools.  It’s a bit like a surgeon requesting a scalpel.

The important thing is I do love Mr ATWWAH and I’m pretty sure he loves me too, he tells me often enough that he does.

couple selfie

Despite our matching shiny faces we still love each other.

And we spend most of our time not arguing, it just amuses me that we definitely have recurring disagreements.  When the kids are a bit older the petty arguments between Mr ATWWAH and I will stop and we’ll be too busy refereeing the boys fights as well as keeping a tally on who got to relax more.

What do you find yourself arguing about on holiday?  Do you have any tips on stopping the pettiness before it starts?

  1. Changing bag one happens a lot in our household too. And who goes to get Jasper first thing in the morning- this appears to be my job even though he is no longer breastfed?

    • I am looking forward to the day the changing bag is no longer needed. Just as Master ATWWAH didn’t need it anymore for spare clothes etc I had Mini ATWWAH. I miss handbags.

  2. On our family holidays the arguments are between the kids (17 and 12) rather than between my husband and I!

    • Oh dear, it doesn’t necessarily get better then? I will be packing yellow and red cards like a football referee in a few years.

  3. I remember well the arguments of who gets to (has to?) sit next to the toddler to wrangle her throughout the meal. Not exactly the good ol’ days!

  4. Sounds very similar to the disagreements we had on our holiday just now! We live in hope of a relaxing holiday at some point in the future!

  5. Whether we are at home or away I always get the blame for Mr TB not being able to find things. Sometimes I have tidied his things from where he dumped them in the middle of the floor but most of the time he’s just forgotten where he’s put that something. Wedded bliss – eh?!

  6. Oh this made me laugh – in recognition. I’ve definitely done the ‘it’s your turn…’ bit and I never understand why even if my husband and daughter are going out for the day without me, I still have to sort the bag out. His justification is that he’s getting ready/getting her ready, yet somehow I manage all that AND the bag when she and I go out. I’m with you on bedtimes too!

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