"How was your vacation?" a friend asked shortly after I returned home from our latest family trip.
"I think one day I will look back on it and remember it as fun." That was the best answer I could give.
Next week on Backtalk we are talking about the family vacation. Is it calm and serene or is it more like a Chevy Case movie?
I happen to believe that a vacation with young children is an oxymoron.
When I said this out loud my oldest son piped up, "Vacation with children is for morons?" Uh sure, that will work too.
I think back to our last family vacation. There were moments of fun for sure... spending time at the beach, eating ice cream, bicycling downhill.
But there were also moments that were stressful... like when our upstairs neighbors at the inn where we were staying kept yelling at us to stop slamming our room doors because they were trying to sleep. We weren't slamming the doors, they were just sticky and loud when closed. And I am sorry they didn't want to wake up at 7:00am on their vacation. I apologized, but really I was jealous because I bet they at least got to have sex and stay out past 9pm.
There were moments that I thought would be fun, but instead really sucked...like bike riding. I am not sure why I thought bike riding on vacation would be more enjoyable than bike riding in my everyday life. The bike paths on the side of the roads were so narrow. I felt like at any given moment one of the children would swerve out into the road and be run over.
Also, my husband and children are some sort of freak robotic mutants who approach all athletic endeavors as if it were a matter of life or death. I felt like I was on a forced death march (death cycle?) half the time.
And I didn't even mention the tantrums and bickering. Or the packing and unpacking, which generally takes more time than the entire vacation.
Luckily I am really good at repressing bad stuff. So ask me how my trip was in a couple of months and I'll be all, "Wow, it was the best trip, EVER." It is that sort of revisionist history that enables me to happily plan the next vacation. And the next.
It isn't all bad. It is just that vacationing with children is a completely different thing than vacationing alone. Expectations need to be lowered. You need to embrace the idea that most of your fun will be vicariously through your children.
Not long ago I wrote a series for BlogHer about traveling to Disney World.
Other places to read about vacationing with children. The good, the bad, the hilarious.
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