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  • Julie Cresswell

Horrible Holidays and Disastrous Days Out



What's your worst family holiday or day out?


A few years ago we paid a significant amount of money to go on a holiday abroad with a combination of our foster and birth children.




The place we were going to was familiar and we were excited - we’d had some fantastic holidays there previously.


Only this holiday was anything but fantastic. One of our children who hadn’t been before really really struggled.


It was really hard being away on holiday with a child who struggled so much with none of our usual resources to hand. We'd been anticipating a time of fun, not overwhelm.


Add into the mix a vomiting and diarrhoea bug that did the rounds - it wasn't pretty!


Particularly not on holiday.


We came home pretty disappointed and not very rested. It wasn't much fun.


The money was gone. The leave was gone and we felt a little bit shortchanged by it all. Noone’s fault – it was just a bit rubbish.


It’s really hard when you have something planned which you feel has all the ingredients fun and ends up not going as you want it. Every time we referred to this holiday as “a holiday” it grated it and so we renamed it "the trip with nice moments."


Did it change what happened? No, but that little twist somehow made it feel that little bit better.


Whilst it was a rubbish holiday there were some good bits. There was also a lot of learning for us.


I write a reminder that for some many families going away brings a unique set of challenges - not all children love going on holiday. In fact, for some children the change and the disruption to routine is really difficult. This creates its own set of challenges as a parent.


These are the bits we don’t see on social media amidst the shiny holiday pics full of smiles and exciting locations, but the challenges are very real for many families. There are a lot of holiday disasters, bad days out and “just not all that great a holiday” stories in real life.


Even good holidays have bad moments – and that’s ok. Real life is gloriously messy not picture perfect.


So what can you do when your holidays are more disaster than dream?


Firstly allow yourself to acknowledge how you really feel about your holiday – just notice the emotions. Put some words to those feelings in a journal or a coffee with a friend. Accepting rather than fighting how you feel can take the pressure off immensely and it hopefully avoids the temptation to fling blame around or beat yourself up.


Secondly, give yourself time to process those feelings – if you’ve been looking forward to something and it’s a disappointment it might take some time for those feelings to pass. I know our trip with nice moments was a disappointment for us, but actually with a bit of time and distance - and renaming it - it didn’t feel so bad and it gave us a story to tell!


Thirdly use it as an opportunity to step back and learn. We learned a lot on that holiday about what did and didn’t work for one of our children. It wasn’t their fault they found it tough – it just wasn’t the right fit for them.


Sometimes the difficult and uncomfortable moments are an opportunity to step back and learn to re-adjust your expectations.


So whether it’s a disastrous day out or a horrible holiday I’d encourage you today to pause, step back and be kind to yourself. Every family has things which go wrong, not every family uses that learning to help them and make their holidays work better for them.


That bit is your choice!


Happy holidays.





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#parenting #coaching #workingparents #summerholidays #summer2022 #daysout


Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

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