Despite being Chief Packer of the Suitcases, I often find that, when preparing for a family holiday, my holiday clothes are the last thing I consider.
Weeks prior to a jaunt in the boiling sunshine, for which, in Aberdeenshire, we are not well equipped, I will have lovingly gathered the kids their “keep it for best” new holiday togs and scurried purchases under the daddy wallet radar. New branded, sloganed and neon t-shirts, shorts, skirts, hats, sunglasses will be carefully hidden from view until the ceremonious getting down of the suitcases, along with new begged-for sandals that will criminally allow sand between their toes and will be immediately and loudly rejected the second they step on a beach. Other than some pants and socks, the kids are set and will gleam with fresh new clobber as they saunter along the Marina. A job well done.
However, the lack of forward planning for myself nearly always results in a frantic trolley dash round the nearest supermarket clothing department to buy pretty much the same clothes I bought last year. These poor grade cotton items are usually made of “shrink 2 sizes during the first wash” material, and will eventually be resigned to the RagBag fundraising bags. RagBags, for anyone who has had the fortune of never coming across one, are charity bin bags for clothes collections and are frustratingly made of plastic no sturdier than cling film. Somehow Collection Date always seems to land mid-November and thus require hoiking and humphing of said flimsy bulging RagBags with inevitable bursting in a slushy puddle. Then follows the humiliation of carrying your now wet hand-me-downs-too-rubbish-to-hand-down across the playground for all to see, and judge. This is the future fate of most of my ill-shapened clothes. But, you know, anything to help the school raise funds, right?! Even then, the period between summer holidays and November RagBag Collection date is always a longer period of grace than the uncomfortably tight tshirts should be been allowed.
And so the lifecycle of ill-conceived, and now stained, white holiday tops continues…
Whilst holiday clothes shopping for the young, exfoliated, 20sumpfink is a joyful excuse to spend all one’s dosh buying as many cheap holiday tops and impractical shiny, sequined triangles attached by string in a vain attempt to fain minimal modesty, the “Mummy Holiday Wardrobe” would bring a horrifying ice bucket shudder to any fashionista. When one is realistic, about what one is actually going to wear…one finds oneself quite depressed.
Gradually, with stealth qualities of a ninja, any sort of style will escape the “Mummy Holiday Wardrobe”, henceforth to be referred to as: MHW, at least until the baby wipe years are over. Or your child is 15 and capable of pissing off with some money to the local arcade to wreak havoc solo, leaving you in peace to lounge in an outfit that doesn’t match a rucksack change bag. It may take a few years, but slowly and surely, the strappy wedges are replaced by comfort flat sandals. The on-trend bikinis make way for functional tummy tucking one pieces with immovable boob controllers for fear of exposing your now sad fun sacks to the entire poolside and tonight’s fellow diners. My frantic pre-holiday Amazon Prime search this year was “Athletic black bikini” in a sad attempt to jazz up my swimwear beyond my weekly water torture uniform, sorry, swimming costume.
Now into my 6th year of Motherhood, my summer suitcase contents are pretty much standard MHW, which consists of:
- 6 pairs of loose flowery trousers of which your partner will hate 5. Particular favourite insults hurled at me are “Clown Pants” and “Wacky Wrestlers Trousers”. However, when hubby most recently commented that a particularly psychedelic pair were “like something MY mum would wear”, we both felt uncomfortable.
- 5 black vests. These complete the look, combined with the flowery trews that you are, in fact, wearing pyjamas.
- 2 luxe tshirts. My understanding is that these are tshirts made out of fancy material with shiney bits on them so they don’t look like jammie tops. This is “evening wear”.
- 5 dresses or pool sarongs. 2 of which will actually be worn. The other 3 will be returned to the stuffed Bag for Life of Summer Holiday Clothes, the oubliette for summer clothes, with the promise that next year will be their mythical summer of basking in the sun, instead of being tried on, smeared with newly applied white emulsion sun cream only to again be huffily removed when the offending item doesn’t transform you into a tanned Amazonian goddess.
- 1 pair of white or light coloured jeans which will be stained by the end of day one. This will, however, be a bit of a relief as you’d probably been a bit ambitious as to how the pre-hols biscuit sanctions were going to go, and they are a little too tight for comfort and since they were a last minute mindless grab from Tesco, the thinness of the material was not adequately assessed, thus giving every Monsieur and his chien a full colourful display of the days choice of Mum Pants, most likely a cheeky faded leopard print- you’re on holiday after all!
- 1 skimpy bikini which will obviously never be worn.
- 1 one piece swimsuit which will be worn twice daily- once dry, once soggy.
- 1 functional “Athletic Black Bikini” which will be so amazeballs it will be coveted by all the mummies, so much so you will get compliments over poolside chips and be elevated to Mummy Bikini Hero and cause a stampede of “Athletic Black Bikini” Amazon Priming.
- 3 cardigans, ‘cos it’s impossible to contemplate Mummy life without cardigans, the versatile staple of any Mum’s wardrobe.
- Pants, but crucially, not enough- so you will have to do a load of washing. Yay! Don’t want to be getting rusty whilst you are away!
Finally, it is crucial that you forget something. It could be a sarong, a hat, your sunglasses but it must be mentally chaffing that you are without it. This then gives you free reign to stress about getting a replacement item for the entire holiday. If you are lucky, you may be able to source a substitute on the last day and surrender to relaxation.
Maybe it would be better just cut to the chase and put any new purchases straight into the RagBag, don your pyjamas and pour a big holiday bospo sized gin.