Family holiday. Photo: Thinkstock
When I was a new parent, my local doctor gave me this piece of advice: “Make sure you take regular holidays to fill the photo album with family memories.” So, when our hectic schedules allowed, we’d take our brood of three on holiday. And for many years it was pure hell.
Desperate to change the domestic dynamics that seemed to haunt us on holidays, we’ve since gone, for the past four years, on shared adventures with another family – and it’s transformed our trips from dreary to delightful.
If you’re silently gnashing your teeth at the thought of spending another week on vacation with your brood, maybe it’s time to try our shared-family solution. Here’s the lowdown:
On our first shared holiday, we went skiing. We had five kids under seven and, between the four of us, we managed brilliantly. We got to know our friends better and leapt at the chance to go away together, next time to the beach.
It’s nice for me, for example, to have our friend James join in my fussing over the daily pile of washing while my husband Luke lies by the pool. It’s also great to take turns making packed lunches to save money at the ski resort. And it’s downright fantastic to have an ally when the beach shack’s or ski lodge’s garbage bins are overflowing – so nice, in fact, that I typically run out of things to fret about, and even find the time to curl up with a good book.
Another great thing about joint holidays is the lightening of the child-minding load. If you’re not comfortable with the kids occupying themselves, or they simply aren’t old enough, you can rotate the adult on duty while the rest of you take a break. The kids benefit, too, since different parents usually come with varying talents: I’m a board-game junkie; James’s wife Veronica is a great swimmer; Luke organises the sports timetable; and James can supervise almost anything. It’s the perfect mix!
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