Dear Father Hood: are family holidays as laugh-a-minute as bloggers make them look on Facebook and Instagram?
It’s time to let you into a little trick of the blogging trade. And that trick is what goes on tour stays on tour. And what goes on Facebook and Instagram projects an unrealistic view of life designed to make you follow, like, comment, retweet, share and drool at how utterly amazing and #blessed one plucky little middle class family from the Home Counties can be.
Got that? Fantastic, then I think it’s high time I gave you a more realistic insight into family holidays by introducing you to 7 picture imperfect moments that happen on the vast majority of trips away with children.
1. The back of the plane thousand mile stare
Most long-haul holidaymakers will be familiar with this sullen and brooding shot, which features a long-past-caring parent rocking back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth) in the hope that at some point in the next six hours their child will finally stop shrieking, give in to tiredness and sleep.
2. The regurgitation selfie
Whoop! Whoop! First family breakfast by the beach! #teamhood #winning #ballerz #Dubai2016 #photoruinedby30mlofstinkingformulamilkcascadingfrombubby’smouth
3. Poop up the arm! Poop up the arm!
This all-action photograph captures the chaos that erupts when a seemingly straightforward nappy change takes a dark turn. If you’re lucky, this incident will take place in your hotel room. If you’re not, it’ll take place beside the busy swimming pool with the out of order toilet. My wife and I were in the latter camp.
4. Dinner for two… in the bathroom
This joyless snap is a rite of passage for all parental holidaymakers. Like a lot of popular Instagram uploads, it features an in-love couple sharing their food in a snug and dimly lit environment. Unlike a lot of popular Instagram snaps, it also features a toilet, a scabby shower curtain, a selection of soiled nappies and, more often than not, a towel rail that for some reason is heated to temperatures you wouldn’t even experience on Mars.
5. The passing of the baby baton
This raw, emotional and thought-provoking image immortalises the moment when the parent who got to eat their main course first stands up and takes the crying child from the parent who has been wandering around the hotel restaurant doing whatever they can to entertain a baby, who shouldn’t be awake, but for some reason is.
For example, sand. Or litter. Or the top of daddy’s beer bottle.
7. The I can’t believe you forgot something important rant
This candid snapshot of parent on parent warfare sees mummy folding her hands angrily while daddy scratches his head over his bizarre decision to leave his child’s favourite toy at home.
Yes, the final one did happen to me and, yes, the cold front did last for a good half-day or so. But would this memory stop me from booking another family holiday in the future? Heck no. Family holidays are brilliant, even if they aren’t as perfect as social media makes out.