Originally published by me on Mamamia.com.au.
When you think of family holidays, small children bickering and exhausted parents probably come to mind.
And to be honest, my experience wasn’t that much different.
Except for the fact that my trip consisted of my retired dad, 50 something mum, me (I’m 25) and my two adventurous 23 and 21-year-old sisters.
Sounds kind of like the plot of a really cheesy horror movie, right? But there were some inspirational plot lines.
Like the time my mum refused to put the camera away (queue the dozens of absolutely hideous photos of me posted to her very active Facebook page)
Or when one of my sisters had an “episode” after we all bailed on the cruise’s highly anticipated dance competition. According to my sister, she’d been “lying on her bed in a certain position for hours so that her “hair wouldn’t get messed up” before we left.
Aside from a brutal door slam, a dramatic dive into bed and ignoring us for the rest of the night, things were pretty smooth sailing.
Ha ha. Get it? We were on a ship. Okay, I’ll stop now.
Anyway, we got to spend two weeks exploring the beautiful Hawaiian islands, and we did it as a family. An adult family.
Here are some of the things that I think contributed to our (surprisingly) successful holiday.
Have your children pay for themselves
Listen up, this one’s important.
While I believe it’s okay for parents to chip in for certain things, I strongly stand by the notion that adult children should pay their own way.
This means they won’t take the trip for granted because they’ll want to make the most of every hard earned dollar they spent. Trust me.
Most of the restaurants on our ship were included in the original price, but when we had to pay for meals, we usually split the bill equally or paid for what we ordered.
Souvenirs, day trips and all the extras were our individual choices and therefore were purchased individually.
Stay in separate rooms
I can’t stress this enough.
Five people sharing one room with one bathroom equals bad times.
Especially when everyone has to get ready at the same time because they need to leave at the same time.
Fortunately, my family and I anticipated this and sprung for two separate rooms (the parents being in one and the daughters in the other).
Understand and respect everyone’s differences
You have to understand things aren’t going to be exactly the same as they were once upon a time. Not everyone will want to do exactly the same thing at the same time.
Having different interests is a regular part of adult life, and every single person should respect that.
To be honest, I’m a pretty independent person. In fact, sometimes I get sick of following everyone around and sticking to a holiday schedule.
On our cruise, I didn’t mind eating on my own or even reading a book in the sun while everyone else did their own thing. On our second day visiting the same island, I decided I’d done enough shopping and exploring. I wanted to stay back and enjoy sunbathing on the ship’s top deck. So I did.
In the past, that concept wouldn’t fly.
But the good thing about holidaying with your adult children is that they’re usually mature enough to make their own decisions while respecting the decisions of others.
Be patient with each other
When you spend so much time in such close quarters, people can start to become annoying. Even if they’re not doing anything particularly irritating.
The way they pronounce certain words, how they eat, or even the slightest strut in their step can sometimes push you over the edge.
But withhold your nasty words, resist pulling their hair and take some long, deep breaths. Be patient; you have to spend the whole trip with this person. If you do something to ruin your relationship, chances are it’ll be looming over both of you the entire time.
At the end of the day, be thankful that you’ve had the opportunity to embark on such an amazing journey. So many people never get the chance, and they’d do anything to be in your shoes.
Besides, if you’re taking a holiday with your grown up children, your relationship is probably already pretty great.
So relax, try not to stress and enjoy the fun ride. After all, soon you’ll wish you could go back.
I know I do.