I have joked for years about how a vacation with kids is no vacation for the mom. I am not sure about most families, but every time I have gone on vacation I always have to do at least twice as much work. This was the same no matter my marital status. I have seen it with many other mothers. When I haven’t seen it I have heard their stories. Vacationing with children is no vacation.
There are a few different vacation scenarios. One is that you stay with family or friends. What a great way to spend time with family, save money on lodging, and children can often play with relatives. Sounds great, right? Hold on to that nice idea right there because that is as far as it gets.
Your children will still have all the same needs they had before the vacation, but this time they know you are trying to have fun yourself and so when you sit down to visit they are right there in your face. What happened to playing with cousins or other relatives? Oh, some fight broke out or they just got bored.
Simce you are in someone else’s house you spend more time worrying about any possible mess your children may make. If you are not careful you may end up becoming really stressed out following your child so they don’t ruin anything. This leads to the over compensation parenting.
You overcompensate by becoming too strict or too lenient. Why? Because watchful eyes are upon you followed by a barrage of parenting advice. There just is no winning.
You still have to do laundry too, and vacation means no extra sleep because nobody has their own beds and what kid sleeps better that way? Lastly, don’t forget the worry that comes from using somebody else’s bathroom.
Not all vacations end up at a relative’s house. Often times you actually go somewhere that tourists might end up. This may take you to a hotel where all your kids fight over the remote and even though you got a room with two big beds they still refuse to sleep without you. Getting in the hotel room takes forever you have to strategize where to park, what to take in and how many trips to take while not losing any kids or having them escape the room while you are in between trips.
Oftentimes a hotel room gets you to think you will get to enjoy watching a cable program (if you could afford a hotel that offers cable) that you normally do not get to watch because you don’t have cable, and besides, you can because you are on vacation. That rarely happens because your kids still won’t sleep in a hotel bed and are still fighting over the remote.
Ah, and just when you think you can sit down to relax they beg for you to take them swimming. Where you will oblige them because you think it will be relaxing. Not so. It takes forever to get everyone ready after searching through all the bags for swimsuits. When you finally get to the pool you are even more exhausted but you need to be the lifeguard.
A hotel room means you don’t have to worry about keeping it spotless, but you do because you have to prevent toothbrushes, socks and shoes from being left behind. Don’t worry, you will do good at that but will likely forget something else.
It does not matter how short or long the hotel stay is as you will still have a disaster of clothes spilling out of suitcases and drawers, tossed all over the room, and bathroom towels everywhere.
Don’t forget to feed your kids–yeah, there’s that mess too that you do your best to keep on top of so the maids will not think of you as slobs. If you happen to go out to eat you have to work extra hard to keep everyone behaved and as quiet as possible while you all wait impatiently for the food. This is when you throw your hands up in the air and wonder why you did not just order pizza to the hotel room.
I suppose vacationing is not all about where you keep your bags at night. There are the daytime activities, if you dare to try. Not too bad, but you still have to meet the needs of everybody. Diaper changes, bathroom breaks, keeping track of kids, tired kids, whining, lost kids, lost bags, the staring strangers, and everything else imaginable. By the end of your vacation you will really want to go back home because home seems like a vacation from your vacation.
This is my vacation. I cannot afford vacations that are not at a family member’s house. When we visit family I stay at their house during the day because I cannot afford to go do the seemingly fun things. I end up with all my kids in bed with me where I get little sleep because they refuse to sleep well. I spend most of my time preventing tragedy while trying to maintain sanity and not take parenting advice too personally.
I do appreciate the time with my family though, and even if I am on vacation and am doing more work it is still worth the making of memories. It is the memories made working together in the yard, laughing while telling stories, and playing games together. More work on vacation is definitely worth the priceless memories.