Since my kids were born, I’ve been on at least a dozen vacations with them, and exactly one trip without them. Come to think of it, it’s the only time I’ve ever been away from them. It was a “work” trip of sorts, but even with the the stress of flying into an airport I’d never been to and having to find my ride and then navigating an unfamiliar city on my own, it still felt more like a vacation than the trips I take with my kids that I actually consider vacations. That’s because vacations with kids aren’t vacations at all.
When you think about “taking a vacation”- by definition, what comes to mind?
Let’s first take a look at the dictionary definition of the word:
|synonyms:||break, time off, recess, leave, leave of absence, furlough, sabbatical,spring break; More|
An “extended period of recreation”, eh? a “Break”?
Time to relax, unwind, get away from real life for a bit, so that you can return to the monotony of your normal every-day and not want to tear your hair out or run away and join the traveling circus.
That shit doesn’t happen with kids in tow. No. No it does not.
You can take time off of work, travel thousands of miles away to what you personally consider to be paradise–the most perfect place on the planet–the happiest place on earth–and kids will use their sticky little fingers and whiny voices and dirty feet and ruin it.
I know that sounds awful, and maybe it is, but it’s truth. I love taking trips with my kids- but they are NOT vacations. They are work. They are constant, never-ending, ass-clenching stress. They can be fun, but you have to seriously plan and sweat and stress and work to make them that way.
Work trip by myself was grabbing my carry-on, flying while quietly reading and playing on my tablet, and hopping off the plane. No rushing, no scrambling. Just a leisurely stroll through the airport.
“Vacation” with the kids was 2 days in the car each way (because flights for 4 people is astronomical and we’d rather risk our sanity than our bank accounts) while breaking up fights going 70 miles per hour down the interstate, being complained at about being “bored”, and harassed about when we’d be there every 5 seconds for 8 hours.
Work trip by myself was getting an entire hotel room to myself, an entire bed to myself–space to put my luggage, time to enjoy the view from the window.
“Vacation” with the kids is shoving my entire family of 4 into a tiny hotel room with all of our shit, and then being forced to squeeze 3 of us into 1 queen-sized bed because one kid decided to yack three times in the car and we didn’t want to risk contamination, only to have the “small” child expand to the size of Texas once he hit the mattress leaving my husband and I with no blankets, no space, and no sleep. Did I mention the “sick” one’s nose whistled all night long?
I may have had to work on my trip without the kids, but I found it so much more relaxing than my actual vacation because I didn’t have any kids to hover over, or worry they were going to get kidnapped, or lost in unfamiliar places, or drink bad water, or annoy everyone around us. I didn’t have to schedule, or arrange, or make sure everyone was eating enough, staying hydrated. I didn’t hear complaints about the weather, or the water temperature, or the crowds. I wasn’t anticipating the next thing to go wrong (because something ALWAYS DOES) to interrupt a miraculous stretch of 5-minutes of fun. I could just…breathe. Even though I had work to do, places to be, there was something very freeing about only having to be responsible for myself in that moment.
A trip to Target alone feels more like a tropical vacation than the tropical vacation I just took with my kids.
I’ll say it again- vacations with kids are not vacations at all. They are manual labor with small bursts of fun. They are relocating your circus to another location. They are mixing business with pleasure. They are torture.
And because I have officially completely lost my mind- I can’t wait to do it again.
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