When on holiday, the first rule of kids' club is: you must feel guilty while your children are there. The second rule of kids' club is: YOU MUST feel guilty while your children are there! It is a complex position for a parent to be in. On one hand you are desperate for some adult time and on the other you're conscious that you're on holiday to spend time with your family. If you're a relative newcomer to the 'Putting the Kids in Kids' Club Club' then what should you be aware of? Can it be a pain and guilt-free experience?
You have the whole resort to explore. You can walk at a grown-up pace and not have to stop a dozen times to remove stones from sandals. You can even hold hands with your partner without them asking you to do 'One, Two, Three ... Swing!'. Your horizons have expanded. However, you will carefully measure out on a map what is a five minute walk from the kids' club and draw a circle with a compass. That is the area you will stick to. Just in case.
2. Go incognito
You have found the perfect spot to relax for a couple of hours. Beware - do not let your guard down. Often kids' clubs will leave their premises and head out into the resort for activities. You must take care - particularly if you have clingy offspring - not to be spotted by your child. This is particularly annoying if the group leader takes them to the beach bar for a drink (soft) and that bar turns out to be the one closest to your location. No matter how parched you are, resist the urge to approach the bar. Whatever you do, don't wave at your child or acknowledge them in any way. Stay out of sight. They have temporarily forgotten you - this should not be messed with if you wish to remain child-free.
3. Making the most of 'adult time'
This does not mean a trip back to your hotel room. Your nether regions may say 'yes' but the only urge your brain has is to try to do everything at the resort that you cannot do with kids. These are activities based outside of the bedroom and generally involve making the most of the sunshine and fresh air with your disappointed partner in tow. However ...
4. ... whilst you want to do everything child-free under the sun, you will just end up on a sun bed reading a book. Of course, you will be relaxing fully clothed just in case you are called for an emergency.
Put your mobile phone on the loudest ring volume possible. And the most powerful vibrate. And sellotape it to the side of your head. Do not attempt entering the pool as water damage to your phone will sever any link you have to your children.
6. Trust that your children will ask to go to the toilet if they need to
No matter how much you believe it and evidence at home suggests so, they don't actually need you to remind them to pee or require you to wipe their bum.
7. Collection time
You have some time to yourself. Remember though that it isn't really 'some' time - it is two hours to be precise. In the first hour you enjoy a couple of cocktails, read a couple of chapters, start the countdown ... Only one hour until you have to pick the kids up. Only half an hour. Only 15 minutes. Oh sod it, go now. It doesn't matter if you're a bit early; after all you're desperate to see them.
8. They will have more fun at kids' club than they do with you
When asked to choose between a stranger who will help them with a craft activity without shouting or simultaneously checking Facebook and, well, YOU, they will choose the former every time. Your kids don't need you as much as you think.
9. You will secretly enjoy it and pray they ask to go back
Whilst the sun beats down on your guilt-wracked body, you will admit to yourself - gradually at first - that you are actually having fun. An hour ago your biggest worry was whether your children will ever forgive you for abandoning them, now it's that they won't want to go back to kids' club tomorrow.
And the final rule of kids' club ...
10. Your future holidays
You can't understand why parents take their children on holiday then choose not to spend time with them. Kids' club, scmids' club - who cares, you're there to spend some quality time with your family. But now you've actually experienced it, that's the old you. The new you will quickly emerge when booking your next holiday as you check the box that filters your search for 'hotels with a kids' club'. Anything else is completely unacceptable.
This post was first published on Crumbs & Pegs.