Why is a large family trip is so tiring?
There’s always something happening in the life of a large family, there’s no stopping even for a moment; kids always come and go, something’s constantly going on. However, beyond everyday chores sometimes our strength is put to the test by an illness, a competition or a school test. It’s no wonder that the days of our holidays irrespective of the season are seen as a kind of salvation, when we can finally get away from our everyday environment and concentrate on relaxation.
At least this is the official version. Our vacation is relaxing for everyone, the kids get a lot of new experience, while we, parents do nothing but enjoy the comfort and calmness of these unstressful days.
And the reality? Well, it is far from the official version.
But let’s start at the beginning! Even organizing a family vacation takes a lot of energy because everybody wants something else and prefers different programmes, they expect different things from the holiday: one would be on the move all the time, the other would never leave the accommodation, the third would do a little bit of both – some relaxation combined with some active programmes. And then we haven’t mentioned the conflicts arising from the age differences, which make the search for the ideal program very difficult. And there are countless conflicts like that not just one.
A very good example for this is a memorable moment from one of our family vacations when the tweenager Big Boy was waiting for the ten-year-younger Youngest to slide down on the 50-centimetre-long slide for the 50th time at the adventure park, while he would rather have been zip-lining over the lake but couldn’t go there without us because our signature was needed to get the necessary equipment. The look on his face said it all… and his grumbling made everything even more obvious.
After overcoming all the obstacles of organizing a holiday, it’s time for the execution. Travelling to our destination and returning back home come with a lot of challenges: entertaining five children in a car is extremely exhausting if you do more than turn up the volume of the car radio so that it’s louder than the children, if you try to provide them some really meaningful activities to fight boredom.
We’ve arrived at last… let the vacation start! What does it mean for us, parents? Being constantly creative against boredom, continuous alertness, even more concentrated attention than at home because everything is new and strange, and the younger ones need a few days to start feeling at ease, until which time they live their lives following us everywhere again, although the Middle One and Fourth have become quite self-sufficient at home. The Youngest doesn’t count in this case because he does the same thing at home.
Even if we don’t have to provide the meals (no washing-up, no setting the table, which make life a lot easier in the case of seven people), the daily routine, the daily chores are the same under more unusual and inconvenient circumstances than home, and you cannot pass these tasks on… and neither can the kids. Or rather sometimes you can get rid of the kids, but even though there are fantastic organized programmes for them, the Big Girl doesn’t feel like taking part, so she wants me to tell her a story. (At home during the day I have some time for myself without the children because they can’t run home if maths at school or the kindergarten activity is boring, so they would rather do something else with mom). Moreover, according to the laws of gravity all the other kids appear in a matter of minutes…
All in all a family vacation is more like a team building event (a lot of programmes, not only quality but limitless time together) than a relaxing holiday, at least from the point of view of the parents. Undeniably it is a delightful tiredness, nevertheless it’s still tiredness, after which you really have to relax.