After a particularly good evening out together you have decided to share your summer holiday with your friends Peter and Mary you feel you get on well and their two children are roughly the same ages as your three. They have been to each other’s parties. With all of you together you can rent a large villa with all the benefits that go with it. So what could possible go wrong.
You were looking forward to satisfying your natural curiosity with a bit of culture and learning about the country and area you are visiting. When you are working and looking after the children there is not much opportunity for this. This high flying couple you going with seem to have undergone a personality change they just want to laze by the pool and sea. You cooked last night’s supper and came down this morning to the remains of last night’s supper and the washing up untouched. You also feel that although you will allow your three to stay up later on holiday they should observe some rules about bedtime as you want to be able to spend some time with your husband and the other adults. You find to your horror that although their children are organised to within an inch of their life at home with after school activities and a strict homework programme this seems to have completely disappeared on holiday and there seem to be no rules at all. So having sent your three off to bed your find James and Sue’s are up until you go to bed and because they are tired they are also very demanding. What is more, your children don’t appear to be getting on with their children very well now you are here.
How could you have got yourself into this situation? This is down partly expectation and also communication. I have talked about values in previous blogs and we hope to honour them in order to feel our lives are satisfying. Sometimes these have to be satisfied with activities outside work or when we are on holiday. If we are not aware of what the other party expects or wants then we can end up feeling at odds with them or even worse falling out.
It is easy to talk about the mechanics of the holiday where you will go what you will stay in and how you will get there. It is very easy to forget to discuss what each party expects when they get there. So do you know what your friends like doing on holiday it is not always the same as when they are at home? What about the cooking and clearing up? What do they think about the children joining in with everything or just some of the things and also what about bedtimes? It is easy to assume the couple with rigid rules at home will be the same on holiday.
So if you want our holiday to go off well it is better to have these discussions before you go. Perhaps you decide to have some days on the holiday when you just do things as a family. Or perhaps you could take turns to babysit each others children so you can each go out with your partner. Not having to spend all day every day with each other can take the pressure off and allow each family to pursue some of the activities that they really want to.