If you’d suggested to me 10 years ago that large family holidays would be our most relaxing annual break, I’d have laughed you out of the room. As a lover of ‘get away from it all’, the ‘Mass family holiday’ did not appeal to me.
Three children, two family businesses and a cycle of alternate Mummy/daddy daycare and work over the school holidays and I’m now converted to the joys of large family holidays.
Renting a fabulously large house in Norfolk, with views of the sea and a few minutes walk from the nearest sandy, almost deserted beach, 14 of us including parents from both sides, siblings, cousins, wives, girlfriends and children resided for a week of shared fun in the Norfolk sun.
The first advantage was a massive reduction in cooking for all of us. With a small amount of planning, we had a HUGE on-line grocery shop delivered to the house and then divided out cooking slots which meant that each person only needed to cook twice during the week at most. For the youngest children in the party aged 2 and 3, who find eating out a real chore, get bored and resort to throwing roast potatoes at the nearest human target, they found eating together in our holiday home so much more laid back. For us parents it was relatively stress free, cheaper and we came away inspired with new recipes that other members of the family had created for us to try at home!
The most obvious bonus, and the one I dare not mention first in case my parents and in laws read this and think it’s the only reason we love going, is the on tap childcare! A holiday without childcare, when you have three kids under 8, is NOT always a holiday lets face it. With grandparents, aunties and uncles around 24/7 my husband and I managed a daily run out along the cliff tops TOGETHER and the odd visit to the local pub in the evening. Children’s bedtimes involved lots of spare hands to help with baths and stories and we pretty much got a lie in every morning as our children preferred to run into the grandparents rooms at 7am rather than wake us: RESULT!
Finally, but most importantly we all got to hang out together, swap stories, drink wine, play silly family games, do craft activities, visit the beach, share memories, make fun of each other, sing songs around the BBQ ( due to some very talented guitar players) and generally get to know each other better and become closer.
Being all together in the same house really does make us appreciate the ways that we live as families are so different and we returned from this years family holiday surprisingly refreshed, inspired, feeling closer to our family members, having created wonderful memories for our children, their grandparents and of course us. It was a winner all round!