As talk turns to the summer holidays, red lists evaporate and chatter begins about where might be an option for our long-awaited trips abroad, I’m inwardly envious of my friends whose husbands are as excited by the prospect of adventures further afield as they left, right and center, family and friends are jetting off for some sunshine or planning long-haul trips. Me? I think I’ll be lucky to get a wet weekend an hour away.
My husband loves his home comforts and there’s no shame in that. But with every year that passes, trying to muster some enthusiasm from him for a family holiday gets harder and harder. Trying to engage him in holiday chat is met with sighs and tuts. My efforts to be positive by listing all the benefits a trip away would bring don’t help either, and if I shove a pile of brochures on the coffee table, it just rubs him up the wrong way.
We have two children, so obviously they have needs which have to be met. It’s no secret that holidaying with kids is a “same stuff, different place” scenario and it’s clear a fortnight lying on a sun lounger won’t be on the cards I’d be equally happy with a cottage in Scotland or a short-haul European for many years yet. All that aside, a bit of warmth or a change of scenery can make all the difference after two years of sticking very close to home. break – for me, it’s the act of getting away that does us all good.
We have the same rigmarole every spring: I suggest locations and activities to my husband, showing him pictures online or sending him links. I sketch out travel plans and a cost but usually all I get is a grunt. I get the same reaction with a UK-based holiday as I do with pictures of palm trees and the Mediterranean. I try to keep a smile on my face as I do all of this: a row would be another way of delaying booking a holiday. I suppose some women would elect to take the children away solo, but our children would be gutted if Daddy didn’t come too.
Eventually my husband acquiesces but by then we have inevitably missed out on some great accommodation or any hope of a discount. At least, however, we finally have a solid plan. Once my husband has decided to – unsmilingly – commit to a holiday plan, his responsibilities are over. The behind-the-scenes prep is never his concern: I’m the one renewing passports, booking tickets, packing suitcases – basically handling all travel-related admin.
With a destination booked and paid for, you’d hope my husband’s mood would improve. But there’s no pre-holiday excitement or discussions of what we might do. Couples I know go so far as to sketch out a holiday spreadsheet – I’m I feel a huge responsibility to make sure he enjoys the trip and I feel a huge responsibility to make sure he enjoys the trip and that there is plenty to keep everyone amused.
Interestingly, every time we go away, once my husband has settled in, he enjoys the holiday and enthuses about it when we get home. But not for long enough to avoid the same pattern the following year.
My patience is hanging by a thread now. Friends have suggested that I book a holiday then just inform him of the relevant dates, and this becomes more tempting every year. So does a solo trip.
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