Crap At Co-Parenting

Am I the only one that looks forward to a family holiday, lying in bed at night thinking how marvellous it will be to have an extra pair of hands to help out with my small children. Only to be lying in bed in a different part of the world the next night wondering how it went so horribly wrong? How adding an extra grown up into the mix somehow manages to disrupt the whole routine. Makes the simplest things impossible. And means that for the first 12 hours of any holiday when I am off with my husband, it contains more than the odd tantrum, passive aggressive argument and one of us rolling our eyes (him) whilst the other shouts "FOR GODS SAKE!" (me).

After five years we still haven't got the hang of co-parenting. This is no slight on my husband. He is a great Dad. He has always helped out and yeah sure he has more than his fair share of lie ins but he's home in time for baths and our kids love him to bits. He's just...different to me. He enjoys a play fight, relishes carrying children on his shoulders, will happily throw one in the air whilst letting the other ride his leg like a horse. Which is fab and fun but when you're the one trying to get their shoes on or making sure no-one wees themselves it can be, how can I say it politely? F*cking annoying.

This photo was NOT taken on the first day of our mini-break. You can tell. We are happy

I work part time so am solely in charge of my pair for three days. I know them inside out. I can handle their tantrums. Understand instantly when something is wrong and won't tolerate any titting about in the form of hitting, biting, shouting or acting like you're 16...when you're 3. So when we have a few days together as a whole family I expect this to continue. But it just doesn't. For the first day it is carnage. Who puts the shoes on? Who takes them to the loo? Who makes the picnic? Who WAS SUPPOSED TO REMEMBER THE WELLIES BUT FORGOT THEM AGAIN? And so on.

Don't get me wrong by day 2 everything has all calmed down and we fall into our roles. We learn to work together. He realises that he can't be letting his son punch him in the face as a joke and I accept that I will probably be taking them to the toilet the most. But for that first day I always wish that we were back home. Back in our routine. I look at other families and wonder if they had a row over packing. Or if the Mum ends up having a little weep in the loos over why it's such hard work to be together. How it's not supposed to be like this.

We've got three more holidays booked this year and I doubt much will change between now and then. I think it's just something that I need to accept and whilst I am the midst of pure white rage about something ridiculous I always need to have in the back of my mind that it will be fine tomorrow. That tomorrow will be full of laughter and sunny days. And failing that? You can always sneak a gin in a tin into a hotel to ease the pain for a bit.

They adore the loon
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