Candlelit concerts, dark magic and ghost tours: haunting things to do in Dublin this mid-term break
Candlelit concerts, dark magic and ghost tours: haunting things to do in Dublin this mid-term...

Sarah Finnan

World Menopause Day: The definitive guide to menopause signs, symptoms and solutions
World Menopause Day: The definitive guide to menopause signs, symptoms and solutions

IMAGE

‘Deconstructing stereotypes’: The cult witch movie you need to watch on Halloween
‘Deconstructing stereotypes’: The cult witch movie you need to watch on Halloween

Jennifer McShane

The quilted jacket is the staple to see you through winter
The quilted jacket is the staple to see you through winter

Holly O'Neill

This picturesque Victorian Bray home is on the market for €975,000
This picturesque Victorian Bray home is on the market for €975,000

Megan Burns

Sunday Service: There’s a new free self-care series made by women, for women
Sunday Service: There’s a new free self-care series made by women, for women

Sarah Finnan

‘A botanical paradise with spectacular views’: The hotel you need to visit on your next trip to Cork
‘A botanical paradise with spectacular views’: The hotel you need to visit on your next...

Shayna Sappington

‘I’m an obstetrician who became pregnant with twins via an egg donor. This month they turn 5’
‘I’m an obstetrician who became pregnant with twins via an egg donor. This month they...

Amanda Cassidy

Period dramas on Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch while we wait for ‘The Crown’
Period dramas on Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch while we wait for ‘The Crown’

Erin Lindsay

The world’s most sustainable travel spots revealed
The world’s most sustainable travel spots revealed

Amanda Cassidy

Image / Editorial

Expectations VS Reality: The Family Ski Trip


by Sophie White
29th Jan 2018
Expectations VS Reality: The Family Ski Trip

Fresh from the slopes and fresh out of hope on this whole parenting lark, Sophie White spills on how family holiday is basically an oxymoron


“The first mistake was even thinking that this holiday would be anything less than an unmitigated disaster.”

I am having this thought standing in the restaurant of our Alpine hotel as my four-year-old is hitting the demonic stage of a tantrum – ya know, the bit where they’re hissing in ancient Aramaic. The other diners are looking at me clearly all thinking the same thing.

“Why are you doing this to us? Why have you brought him here?”

Do they have a point?

Firstly, before launching into a moaning rant about holidays with young children, I obviously must check my privilege – yes, I am very lucky to be in a position to bring my child on holidays.

Maybe, I’d just like HIM to know this too.

There’s a lot of pressure on us these days to curate a perfect existence for the online galleries of our lives and these impossible standards have leaked out into every corner of our day-to-day, including how we’re raising the spawn. I see a friend hosting a cupcake-decorating party for her 8-year-old and I immediately feel bad for not bestowing such magical moments on my own child. In my defence, any time I do cobble together the will to do some ‘crafting’ or other memory-making activity, he has that child-knack for sh*tting all over it. This part, I at least am adult enough to recognise, is my own damn fault for having ridiculous expectations of a child in the first place.

So am I learning?

Absolutely not. See below for all the ridiculous expectations I brought like carry-on luggage with me on our latest holiday.

Expectation: That the holiday would resemble a holiday

Reality: The holiday resembles being trapped in an alternate universe hell-scape where every day is actually 42 hours long and there’s no TV.

Expectation: I’ve been parenting long enough, I know how to “work” the child when on holidays.

Reality: Oh no, FOOL. The long gaps between holidays means that you are essentially taking a brand new child away on holidays EVERY TIME. All the lessons that you learnt the hard way on that campsite in Italy last year are basically irrelevant now. That was then and this is a new fresh hell. (I’m really selling the family holiday idea here, aren’t I).

Expectation: We’ll be making some extraordinary, amazing, super special childhood memories for him.

Reality: We will be making memories of my face contorted in rage approximately every 8 minutes as I remember that I am paying roughly €180 a DAY to be here which is exponentially more than I pay to simply exist at home in a far less volatile atmosphere. Also even more galling, seeing as he’s only four my son does not appear to remotely appreciate the back-breaking effort I’m pouring into crafting these beautiful memories. By day three, I apparently became completely unhinged and my husband heard a barely audible snarl emitting from me when the child was complaining about the “snow being wet”. It sounded like: “You’ll make a f*cking snow angel if you ever want to come on holidays again”.

Sidebar: By day four lunchtime alcohol was a medicinal imperative.

Expectation: Sharing a room will be like a fun family sleepover.

Reality: Sharing a room with a four year old means that come 7.30pm every night the husband and I are lying in darkness, wondering how, yet again, we managed to screw up bedtime so badly. No matter what we attempted regarding the dinner-bedtime configuration, we could not win. Bring him to dinner with us and things would soon descend into a tantrum of epic proportions (see the opening paragraph), attempt to get him to bed before our dinner and after 90 minutes of stories and pleading and cajoling and invariably we would end up eating dinner in shifts, swapping after each course.

Expectation: He’ll be so happy to be brought skiing.

Reality: He is four, Sophie COP ON. He doesn’t give a sh*t about anything that isn’t Paw Patrol.

So on a redemptive note, the family ski trip was memorable. Perhaps not in the most positive ways but I guess these are the memories that take on a rose glow with the passage of time, the memories that we’ll look back on and smile. It’s hard to picture in the moment how the four-year-old throwing chicken nuggets at me while a nearby ‘happy’ family (I’m presuming happy, all I know is no one at their table was throwing food or quietly weeping while drinking wine at lunch) looked shocked, but I guess it will happen. These memories gradually transform into the highlights reel of our lives.

Often parents of older children will helpfully point out the bittersweet fact that a day will come when our mercurial little four-year-olds won’t even want to be near us any more so on future holidays I will try to hug this knowledge (and my adorable tiny tyrant) close.

Also Read

Expectations VS Reality: The Family Ski Trip
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

Expectations VS Reality: The Family Ski Trip
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane

Expectations VS Reality: The Family Ski Trip
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

Expectations VS Reality: The Family Ski Trip
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

Expectations VS Reality: The Family Ski Trip
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker

Expectations VS Reality: The Family Ski Trip
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

Expectations VS Reality: The Family Ski Trip
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
No, the Olympics haven’t given athletes ‘anti-sex’ cardboard beds

Despite some media coverage, the beds are actually focused on sustainability as opposed to intimacy restrictions. Recently, distance runner Paul...

By Jennifer McShane