Comparison of all the prices, construction of the itinerary, car rentals… If the trip is escape and adventure, it is also synonymous with mental load for the one who organizes everything. In couples, despite the conflicts on the subject, it is difficult to find the right balance.
It was the trip of a lifetime, the one we always dreamed of: leaving home, going around the world with the family, first Asia, then we would see. Married, a 34-year-old lawyer, left with her spouse and two children aged 3 and 5 for six months. “I told myself that I would no longer have the mental load of shopping, meals and cleaning
“, she assures. After three weeks in Thailand, she faces another reality.“I was the one who had read the whole guide, had found the accommodations. On site, it was still me who took care of planning excursions, finding restaurants, negotiating prices. I wasn’t on vacation, I was a travel guide. I ended up cracking“, she lets go. The adventure had become a mental charge. “Preparing for trips can be a considerable mental load because you have to plan for multiple possible scenarios. This load can become explosive when very different worlds collide, such as work and family, you want to think about everything at the same time and you end up being unable to concentrate.
», Details the sociologist Jean-Claude Kauffmann.
As with the domestic or educational mental load, that of travel concerns women more. Thus according to an IFOP study of 2022, 66% of French women believe they do more than their spouse for the organization of holidays against 34% of men who have this feeling.
Max A great traveler, Marie had never considered preparing for the trip as a chore but rather as a way to escape before departure. Same with Penelope40, mother of a 5-year-old daughter,I liked to set an alert for the opening day of train tickets, plan all the getaways
“, she assures. But with the arrival of children, travel no longer rhymes with backpacks but with sixteen weeks of school holidays to fill, the little one’s suitcase, the leisure center to book or the grandparents to notify. . “With children, anticipation becomes more important. It is necessary to remember to take the tickets in time so that it does not cost too much. On site there is a more important organization for meals, cleaning, etc. We also have the impression that as soon as we leave a holiday period that we have to book the following ones, ” emphasizes Christine Castelain Meunier, sociologist at the CNRS, author of
Household, the fairy, the witch and the new man (ed. Stock). Pénélope then spends entire evenings comparing prices for summer holidays: “with prices that keep rising, we are no longer in the pleasure of escaping”, she says. For Marie, once the reservations have been made, the daily rhythm of the children on site becomes too much to bear. “
Even if we don’t cook, we think about when to feed them, to find a restaurant that can suit them
“, she explains. In this couple who is not used to arguing, this charge can cause tension. Francois, a 39-year-old senior executive, father of two and lifelong family travel planner, felt these tensions when he saw that he was still the only one worrying about ticket prices to get to family at a wedding abroad. If I want us to spend a family vacation, it’s up to me to plan everything, taking into account his desires.Often in these couples, the roles have been defined from the beginning according to each person’s taste for travel and the one who does not is the one who has less need to leave or who considers it less vital for his balance. ” My wife likes her daily life, she doesn’t care whether we are there or there “says François. Same observation with Pénélope, “
he doesn’t care to leave, so if I don’t go he won’t. So if I want us to have a family vacation, it’s up to me to plan everything, taking into account his desires because even if he wants to stay in Paris, he wants a city not far away, for example. , a sports hall, etc.
Despite all the burden that the task may represent, not everyone is ready to let the other do it. Adobe StockFor psychiatrist Aurélia Schneider, if the pleasure of yesteryear becomes a chore, it is essential to talk about it and let go, ” if the other realizes that the tickets are three times too expensive when he deals with them too late, he will do it earlier next time“, assures the psychiatrist. But this is also where the problem lies, despite all the burden that the task may represent, not everyone is ready to let the other do it. Lucile, 43, mother of two teenagers, recognizes for example that with her former partner she wanted: ” control”. “I knew he didn’t care about the holidays and that he would hurt it, so I did it “, she assures. For Christine Castelain-Meunier, this need for control in the educational and domestic domains comes from this injunction to educational or domestic excellence to which she has always been aligned. “
With this myth of a good mother and a good wife, we are in a form of excellence, we have learned to anticipate the needs of the family and therefore we are also afraid that the man will do less well.“, details the sociologist.But, beyond the sexist distribution of tasks, we also find the certainty of those who claim to be experts in the field. Since he has always taken care of it, he is the one who knows how to unearth the best deals, make the right comparisons. François, he admits to being demanding, “ I want to think outside the box. If my wife started to take care of everything, I would not have confidence because I would say to myself that she would take the first hotel that came “, he confides. When asked whether he would let an agency take care of this mental burden, the young executive replied, no. “
I still need to control “, he confesses. Contradictions that we must be aware of so that the holidays do not become a source of reproach.For Aurélia Schneider, the key lies in communication and trust. Finally, it was by talking with her husband that Marie managed to transform her world tour into a family trip, not the one she imagined but the one that suited them: “
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