First world problems


May 2, 2013 by talkaboutyork


Today as we were walking to school, we were having a discussion about whether my son (9) should go on the school skiing trip next year. I say no. He says yes. I say no because he couldn’t cope with a two day, one night taster session at PGL camp forty minutes down the road a year and a half ago, how in God’s name will he cope with a week in America on his own, skiing, going to big shopping malls in New York City all with minimal adult supervision? What’s more, none of his friends are going.  Once I spelled this out for him, he agreed that he shouldn’t go.

But then he had a major rant that WE (as in the whole family) weren’t going (parents can go). So I pointed out that it would get fairly expensive and that if we were going to do a skiing holiday, I’d prefer not to do it with fifty other children who I then had to take care of.

His comment: ‘Well then, when exactly are we going on a skiing holiday????’ As though he is the most hard done by child on the planet.

So I pointed out that actually he got to go on sailing holidays almost every single year, as in on yachts and at lovely resorts with kids clubs in a wide variety of beautiful places.

‘Yes exactly!’ he says. ‘We alllllllllways have to go on stupid sailing holidays. I mean, I am so bored of sailing holidays.’

Really? Sceptical Mentally smacks head into nearby postbox….

‘So the safari trip in South Africa didn’t count then? Or that trip to New Zealand to see your cousins? Or the sightseeing around France? And yes admittedly when we travelled to Panama, that did involve a boat, but you did get to see the Panama Canal, one of the seven modern wonders of the world and the completely pristine San Blas islands. So that was all pretty sucky was it?’

‘Well it’s what you wanted to do, not what we wanted to do.’

‘Oh right, your majesty, and what exactly did you want to do?’

‘Well…. skiing.’

‘No I don’t want to do skiing,’ said son 2. ‘I want to do snowboarding. OR surfing. Actually mummy, when can we go to America and how come we still haven’t been to Disneyland?’

Sceptical Ignoring that and moving swiftly on….

‘Right,’ said I. ‘So if we can afford one really expensive holiday a year – and there is no guarantee that we can – which would you prefer – to go somewhere warm or somewhere cold.’

‘Warm!’ they both yell.

‘Right. And you know when you ski or snowboard, what are you skiing on?’


‘Right, and do you tend to get snow in warm places?’


‘Right, so would you prefer to so on a warm beach/sailing holiday or skiing in the snow?’

‘Beach/sailing,’ says son2

‘Both,’ says son1.

‘Ok, well when I win the lottery or make a million from my book, we can do that. Until then I think we will go visit Somalia or Ethiopia and help the kids there build themselves a school. You can eat their food and help them carry dirty water for miles and sleep in a mud hut. And perhaps while you’re there, you can ask them whether they’d prefer a skiing or a sailing holiday. In fact, let’s save on the airfare and just head to inner city London or some of the poorer parts of the North East and ask the kids there which they’d prefer.

‘In fact sod it, from now on you can spend your holidays working in soup kitchens. And when you’re done there, you can tidy up our house, cook your own meals and spend your free time playing with a football in a park which you walked to because we sold your bike. And your holiday treat will be getting an ice cream on the last day.’

When on earth did our kids become so atrociously spoilt?

My English husband remembers his holidays as long car trips in the rain, to seaside towns in the rain, featuring picnics of boiled egg sandwiches eaten in the car in the rain.  In fact, he was an adult before he realised what a picnic was. He genuinely thought that the definition of picnic was ‘a meal you eat in the car’.

I remember holidays as sitting on the side of a puddle of water, sleeping in a tent, eating boiled egg sandwiches in the car on the way there and playing rummikub every night. No kids clubs, no flights, no restaurant meals, no resorts or theme parks, no skiing, no need for a friggin passport. And I thought they were great!

Even this half-term we’re taking them camping. Only it’s not camping like I knew it, which involved a small tent and a mile long walk to some dodgy toilets and washing dishes in cold water. No, this is posh camping. Glamping. The tents feature four poster beds and a wood burning stove. And you can get meals like pheasant casserole delivered to your tent.

It’s entirely our fault. We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to afford nice holidays for them. And indeed ourselves. We thought it would be educational to show them the world. And now that’s all they know.

I feel that it’s time for my children to have a reality check. Can anyone recommend a ‘Welcome to reality’ trip for spoilt first world children who don’t know they’ve got it made?

<and breathe>


3 thoughts on “First world problems

  1. Sarah says:

    I remember asking my monkey what he would get if he won the lottery…….he said. …….. A Butler! It will save me a job I suppose! I bet you find they will love the simple things about the glamping trip……running through the woods…if not we will have to make sure they get an ash covered sausage and get to wear wet socks to make it more authentic!

  2. I don’t know about a trip (maybe India?) but at the moment I am reading my sons the Little House on the Prairie books. We just had a chapter where they have Christmas in their tiny prairie cabin and a family friend arrives at the last minute with presents. They had a candy cane, a cake and one penny in their stockings. That was all. But they were so, so delighted with that, because they really had nothing. I think it did make the boys think about how much they have.

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