If you thought summer was stressful, try planning a mid-term vacation in October.
“The summer has been completely devastated,” laments my friend Avril. “Our flights to Athens were cut short, so we decided to spend some time visiting family in the UK, but with three children under the age of 12, in pretty rough weather this wasn’t was not relaxing at all.
“My in-laws have a big, rambling house and are quite relaxed with the guests, but my parents, who are much older, are the opposite. I was constantly berating kids over noise levels and messing around, which meant I was a lot more stressed and tired after vacation than before.
Avril is adamant that she will be going somewhere – anywhere – for a semester. But since her partner refuses to be stuck on dates, it will likely be a vacation rather than a Greek getaway.
“My husband just got back to the office and said after all the disruption it’s not a good time to take time off,” she adds.
He is not the only one who wants to demonstrate his presenteeism, post-pandemic. I know several people (all men, it’s no coincidence) who actually told their other halves that if they wanted to take the children away, they should go solo or pair up with another mother in the house. same position. Then everyone has a good break. But of course, they don’t say it out loud.
A whole half term with my own spouse is a rare and beautiful thing; my husband has to compete fiercely with his colleagues for free time. How hard he tries is a matter of conscience.
And so, when my daughters were little I went many times to boutique cottages, flurry yurts, and horribly horrible hotels with friendly moms because for some reason – surely not classic chauvinism? – the organization of the half-term is a women’s affair. And not just halfway through either.
According to market consultants Gen Analytics, on average 67% of all UK household consumption is controlled or heavily influenced by women; rising to 92 percent when it comes to vacations. Is it any wonder that we worry about what to do and where to go? It’s worse than Christmas, because there are no gifts to distract from the gloom.
So now it’s a waiting game. Me, I’m going to an Airbnb in Devon. At least I think so. Technically, it’s our spring break 2020, which has been postponed for 18 months.
Of course, it’s not the Alhambra, but the secret to any family holiday is managing expectations – and the sheer gratitude of being able to go anywhere during this semester virtually guarantees success.