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The all-inclusive experience – Lessons from the front line of parenting

1
I  have recently returned from a lovely week away in an all-inclusive family resort. What I didn’t know when I booked this holiday was that this was going to be like a living and breathing episode of Big Brother with kids. Here there are no secrets. We are all parenting LIVE and exclusive.
You can learn a lot from watching 200 odd families all cohabiting in one place. Here are some of my insights.
1- All children kick off – even the perfect ones!
I have been constantly reminded this week that we as parents are all facing the same battles.
SelfishMother.com
2
Approximately every 5 minutes a child goes into meltdown.  Like the little girl on the plane who tipped out her entire packet of crisps onto her seat and then sobbed hysterically for the rest of the flight.  Being a parent is a lot like having a little ticking time bomb in your handbag.  We all know that at any moment it could explode… We are all constantly on edge and waiting.  The thing is, in normal life you might, if you are lucky, get to experience another mum dealing with a tantrum once or twice a month. But here you get to see that
SelfishMother.com
3
it’s happening all day everyday to someone just like you.  Everyone is dealing with the same stuff. Uneaten food, children falling over, siblings arguing, children refusing to wear their sun hats……These are all normal things. Yet how often do we feel crappy because our child has kicked off? How often do we feel like everyone else has got it sorted? Now I know I’m not the only one – what a relief!
2-She who prepares wins
If you are anything like me you may well dread taking children out to eat. The thing about being all-inclusive is that you
SelfishMother.com
4
get to eat in a restaurant 3 times a day. At first this means NO COOKING … YAY! Unfortunately, this also means getting my children to sit and eat and then wait for us to finish eating 3 times a day, whilst staying sane and somehow managing to eat warm food in the company of 200 other people doing the exact same thing.  Sounds stressful doesn’t it? That’s because it really is absolute chaos. However, somewhere around day two I noticed that some savvy parents were one step ahead of the game. Tablets were appearing on tables playing the joys of
SelfishMother.com
5
Cbeebies to keep the little loves still. Previously I would have worried about looking like ‘the parent who relies on technology’.  In this case that all goes out of the window. She who prepares really does win and she also gets to drink a hot cup of tea. Everyone is a lot happier with a little distraction and entertainment. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.
3- Every parent has a breaking point – even the posh ones!
The other thing I’ve noticed from spending all day with other families is that it’s not only the children losing the plot
SelfishMother.com
6
roughly every 30 seconds, it’s also the parents. Although most of us do a good job of hiding it, all parents have a breaking point and a level of stress that they can take. Parenting is an emotional rollercoaster. One minute you are loving life and in absolute awe of your gorgeous little creatures, the next you are at your wit’s end.  It doesn’t matter what your background is or how much money you have, raised voices and shrill tones happen to us all at some point. Children are learning and testing the boundaries all the live long day and that’s
SelfishMother.com
7
totally normal.  We parents are only human and can only take so much. Let’s stop feeling bad about it now. Agreed?
4-Stop worrying about your thighs and just get in the pool
Before a holiday we all get a bit self- conscious and most of us go on a bit of a diet to get into shape. After day one of the holiday, I realised that this is absolutely pointless. Next time you are on the beach, look around you. We are all different shapes and sizes. There is no one shape. The truth is that our children couldn’t give a rat’s ass how much cellulite we have,
SelfishMother.com
8
they only care about having fun, playing with us and making memories.  So let’s all stop worrying about our thighs, wear our stretch marks with pride and just get in the pool! (Ps, your thighs are gorgeous.)
5- We are all doing the best we can
More than anything, this experience has taught me not to judge myself and others. When you are with other parents all day every day you soon realise that trying to entertain and care for our children is actually a really hard job, regardless of how much we love them. It takes a lot of patience, courage,
SelfishMother.com
9
energy and skill. It’s so easy to judge when you see a Mum shouting at her child for running off, or a Dad giving into little Jonny’s demands for more sweets. But we have to remember we are only seeing a snippet of what that day has been like. I believe, in most cases, we are all doing the best we can with the situation in front of us. So next time you see a parent struggling, why not give them a smile and let them know you understand their pain. We are all in this together so let’s support one another.
See you in the pool!
SelfishMother.com
Josie Louise Brocksom

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- 30 May 18

I  have recently returned from a lovely week away in an all-inclusive family resort. What I didn’t know when I booked this holiday was that this was going to be like a living and breathing episode of Big Brother with kids. Here there are no secrets. We are all parenting LIVE and exclusive.

You can learn a lot from watching 200 odd families all cohabiting in one place. Here are some of my insights.

1- All children kick off – even the perfect ones!

I have been constantly reminded this week that we as parents are all facing the same battles. Approximately every 5 minutes a child goes into meltdown.  Like the little girl on the plane who tipped out her entire packet of crisps onto her seat and then sobbed hysterically for the rest of the flight.  Being a parent is a lot like having a little ticking time bomb in your handbag.  We all know that at any moment it could explode… We are all constantly on edge and waiting.  The thing is, in normal life you might, if you are lucky, get to experience another mum dealing with a tantrum once or twice a month. But here you get to see that it’s happening all day everyday to someone just like you.  Everyone is dealing with the same stuff. Uneaten food, children falling over, siblings arguing, children refusing to wear their sun hats……These are all normal things. Yet how often do we feel crappy because our child has kicked off? How often do we feel like everyone else has got it sorted? Now I know I’m not the only one – what a relief!

2-She who prepares wins

If you are anything like me you may well dread taking children out to eat. The thing about being all-inclusive is that you get to eat in a restaurant 3 times a day. At first this means NO COOKING … YAY! Unfortunately, this also means getting my children to sit and eat and then wait for us to finish eating 3 times a day, whilst staying sane and somehow managing to eat warm food in the company of 200 other people doing the exact same thing.  Sounds stressful doesn’t it? That’s because it really is absolute chaos. However, somewhere around day two I noticed that some savvy parents were one step ahead of the game. Tablets were appearing on tables playing the joys of Cbeebies to keep the little loves still. Previously I would have worried about looking like ‘the parent who relies on technology’.  In this case that all goes out of the window. She who prepares really does win and she also gets to drink a hot cup of tea. Everyone is a lot happier with a little distraction and entertainment. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.

3- Every parent has a breaking point – even the posh ones!

The other thing I’ve noticed from spending all day with other families is that it’s not only the children losing the plot roughly every 30 seconds, it’s also the parents. Although most of us do a good job of hiding it, all parents have a breaking point and a level of stress that they can take. Parenting is an emotional rollercoaster. One minute you are loving life and in absolute awe of your gorgeous little creatures, the next you are at your wit’s end.  It doesn’t matter what your background is or how much money you have, raised voices and shrill tones happen to us all at some point. Children are learning and testing the boundaries all the live long day and that’s totally normal.  We parents are only human and can only take so much. Let’s stop feeling bad about it now. Agreed?

4-Stop worrying about your thighs and just get in the pool

Before a holiday we all get a bit self- conscious and most of us go on a bit of a diet to get into shape. After day one of the holiday, I realised that this is absolutely pointless. Next time you are on the beach, look around you. We are all different shapes and sizes. There is no one shape. The truth is that our children couldn’t give a rat’s ass how much cellulite we have, they only care about having fun, playing with us and making memories.  So let’s all stop worrying about our thighs, wear our stretch marks with pride and just get in the pool! (Ps, your thighs are gorgeous.)

5- We are all doing the best we can

More than anything, this experience has taught me not to judge myself and others. When you are with other parents all day every day you soon realise that trying to entertain and care for our children is actually a really hard job, regardless of how much we love them. It takes a lot of patience, courage, energy and skill. It’s so easy to judge when you see a Mum shouting at her child for running off, or a Dad giving into little Jonny’s demands for more sweets. But we have to remember we are only seeing a snippet of what that day has been like. I believe, in most cases, we are all doing the best we can with the situation in front of us. So next time you see a parent struggling, why not give them a smile and let them know you understand their pain. We are all in this together so let’s support one another.

See you in the pool!

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Josie Louise Brocksom

Josie Louise Brocksom. I live in Salisbury Wiltshire, I'm a mummy to two awesome boys aged 4 and 6 and step mummy to two gorgeous girls aged 10 and 13. I'm a Hypnotherapist and Coach specialising in women's emotional health and well-being. I love people watching, talking about the joys of parenting and trying to find the funny side of any situation.

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