Everyone in life has different priorities when it comes to building their life, would it be how money is spent, which hours are spent towards career building or self caring. It is all perfectly fine so long as it makes you happy right?
We are a pretty decent size family, there is seven of us including five children and I know that it is the main reason people don’t always ask too much about our holiday plans. I assume they assume we might not want the hassle of traveling with so many children and it is true that since the pandemic traveling has become a bit more of a worrisome prospect but the size of our family is not the main factor in our lack of holiday plans at the moment. See, I don’t dislike challenges and if you ask my husband he will confirm that we are pretty much well on top of our kids when it comes to going places, we know them, we know how to read their emotions and how much they can handle of what at once so I am not that worried about organising outings with them. The size of our brood is not my current hold back on holidaying.
I have a love hate relationship with holidays that come from my upbringing. I will not go here in too many details but suffice to say that our home life growing up was not the healthiest or most emotionally balanced. I would describe it as a constant game of walking on eggshells balanced on a tightrope while being asked not to let any of the books on your head fall. It was stressful, demanding and draining, it took its toll on my emotional well being in a way I did not realise until I was well out of it and with my own family. At that point in my life I realised I had never had a chance at knowing who I am, figuring out happiness or being comfortable with simply being. I realised I was always postponing happiness and enjoyment and that this was no way of living or raising my children. I remember being young and the only times our home would be sorted was for when we would not be in it, holidays were the less stressful times in our lives as there seemed to be less arguing and tension though it was still constantly there at the back of our mind the change of scenery allowed us to be as a family for a week or so together. But it was not what I would describe as happy or carefree even then.
My husband and I reflected this week on the pandemic and lockdowns and came to talking about how lucky we were that while it had been hard on the kids having to adapt to less freedom our kids were still happy. In the grand scheme of things our little (not so little) family unit which actually even grew a person during lockdown fared pretty well. We enjoyed spending time together, we baked, we had game nights, we cooked, home schooled, crafted, decorated, discovered hobbies and learnt more about one another. It was a lovely time together and we all have grown closer together in a beautiful way. I compared this to my childhood and I do not say this lightly because I know that if this pandemic had taken place when I was a teenager I would not be here today, I know my family would not have handled close quarters, I know I would not have and it chills me to the bone thinking of my teenage self and the sheer inescapable anguish she would have felt.
So I think this brings me back to why I currently prioritise cosying our home to planning our next holiday, of course I would love to whisk my kids on a magical holiday but if it comes to allocating our budget towards making our everyday lives comfortable and happy rather than being too austere and hoping for a future holiday I will pick our every day life any time. We live in the everyday and it should be the standard of our happiness, not some once in a while Instagrammable holiday. The time will come for the holidays of course and I do look forward to it but I am content with our daily lives and making sure my children’s emotional well being is secured. I want them to have happy memories that are centred on the little things and the feeling they had of being safe and loved at home and seen and accepted for all of them, I want them to remember being able to feel all of the feelings, happy or sad or angry, disappointed or exhilarated and still being held safe no matter right here in our arms. Memories of holidays should be little highlights but not the only happy-ish moments of their childhood.
I am thankful for the chance I have to have been able to learn lessons from my life so far and adapt as a parent. I know I don’t always get it right and I am forever learning but I have never been happier or more content than since I prioritise making our home a happy place. I remember that feeling of walking in our holiday rental when I was little and how it felt like a clean slate towards a happy week, I remember how it was never to last but I know now that the secret is not in the place but in the people. I love that every morning waking up to my boisterous family in our well lived in and well loved home is forever feeling happy, I feel whole here, even when it is at its most stressful and demanding I still feel anchored and safe and it is my happy place with the people I love. I don’t need a holiday in the sun so long as we are together. Our nest everyday feels like a holiday and I do not want to escape it.