How to survive a break with kids

School holidays. The perfect time to have a few days away with your kids. Recharge your batteries. Or not. But, how do you fare? Mini-Break or Mini-Breakdown? Take the quiz and find out. Score one point for every YES answer.

1. Holiday preparations. You take between 2 and 7 days to collate all the crap required for a 3 day break. All the crap that reminds you this is not a holiday at all, just your usual lives shipped to a different location. And crap that you don’t actually need because your kids will insist on wearing the same tops 3 days running because they don’t like anything you’ve packed.

2. The journey. You allow 5 hours for a 2 hour journey. Not for traffic. But for the many, many stops you will make to do wees, retrieve toys and break up back seat fights.

3. Accommodation. You pay double for a family room with extra beds. Then you all end up squashed into one bed. You try to escape to the sofa bed but every time you do, someone cries, so instead you dangle precariously off the edge and get about 4 minutes sleep ALL night.

4. Free stuff. You raid the teas-maid every time they refill it just to recoup some of the money you wasted on the family room. This equates to about £2.47 but makes you feel better nonetheless. (Score another point for taking any free toiletries.)

5. Eating. You forgot to check the kids’ menu before you went and it turns out your hotel, in the middle of nowhere, is a bit, erm, Gordon Blah. Still, your kids are bound to enjoy Goan Goat’s Curry. What with their broad tastes and everything.

6. Going out. You take 2+ hours to get out of the room each morning. And another 45 minutes going back and forth for all the crap you forgot. By which point it’s time to eat. Again.

7. Activities. You do a Forest Trail and cover about 7 metres in 3 hours. Whilst playing ‘I Cry.’ This is a bit like ‘I Spy’ except instead of scoring a point for every wildlife specimen you spot, you score a point for every time someone cries. Score 1 point for each of the following:

a) Not being allowed to jump in muddy puddles

b) Getting muddy from jumping in muddy puddles

c) Falling in a cow pat

d) Accidentally eating the cow pat

e) Having a fly land on you. (Yes. An actual living fly.)

8. Getting ‘beach ready.’ You do a DIY bikini wax 3 minutes before you get in the pool because it’s suddenly slightly warm and your kids make you go swimming. In the unheated outdoor pool. In the UK. In your Speedo. MILF? I think not.

9. R&R. You take a book AND a magazine and don’t read either. But cart them around everywhere you go. Just in case. (Just in case what? A flying pig offers to look after your kids for half an hour?)

10. Alternative R&R. You drink gin in a can whenever you can. (Score 1 point for every can you consume.)

11. Bathtime. You spot the hotel bath and make a mental note to take a relaxing bath with your magazine and gin in a can. Of course, the only thing you’ll actually use it for is washing out pants.

12. The fallout. You sulk, cry or have a meltdown at least once (a day) because no one appreciates all the effort you’ve made to get everyone there. Congratulations. In the unlikely event you didn’t answer YES to any of the above, you’ve successfully graduated from Mini-Break to Mini-Breakdown anyway. In one foul swoop.

So. How did you score?

0-5 points: Mini-Break Delusion

Did you lie? Did you actually have kids with you? Or an au pair? Or maybe you’re just deluded from all the sleep deprivation? Seriously. HOW DID YOU DO THIS?

6-12 points: Mini-Breakdown

Congratulations. You’re a proper mini-breaker with kids. Give yourself a pat on the back. And remember, ‘It’s your holiday and you’ll cry if you want to.’

13+ points: Mini-Breakdown Extraordinaire

Fabulous effort. You frequently holiday with your kids. Because you book every break with the sort of amnesia you get after going through labour. You forget how much it hurts, until you do it again. (You do, however, remember to pack lots and lots of gin, hence the high score.)

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