the myth of “vacation” with young children

Splattered across the internet this summer are the remnants of everyone’s family vacations.  Having just returned from one myself, I’m here to give you a dose of reality.

What people share about their family vacations:'Love and the kids enjoy the beach

  • Mobile updates regarding travel status
  • Photographs of smiling children in exotic (or not-so-exotic) locales
  • Photographs of parents hugging or otherwise posing with their smiling children
  • Progress updates to inform folks about what landmark or restaurant is currently being enjoyed
  • Quotable quotes from said smiling children
  • Lamentation about returning home

What people don’t share about their family vacations:

  • The amount of snack food passed out to small children to keep them from whining incessantly during travel
  • The brief amount of time that any toy actually captures a traveling (or trapped-indoors-due-to-weather) child’s attention
  • The insane amount of STUFF required to travel with small children (Pack ‘n’ Play? Check. Bed rail for toddler? Check. Special blanket and stuffed animal for each child? Nightlights? Twelve dozen diapers? 800 gazillion toys to hand them in the car or on the plane?)
  • The fact that your baby who is old enough that he’s too nosy to doze off in his infant seat during errands is also old enough to notice that he is most definitely NOT at his own house in his own crib, and will thus be next-to-impossible to get to sleep at nap and night
  • The fact that vacationing makes small children feel a bit insecure, since their little worlds have been turned upside down, and thus they are prone to being rather cranky or, at the very least, not especially calm and easy to manage
  • The number of television shows small children are allowed to watch while their parents to pack all that gear and get it back in the car
  • The fact that expending so much energy planning activities to keep children busy (and thus less likely to utterly destroy their temporary lodgings) for every waking moment leaves little time for parental enjoyment

Sounds like I had a terrible time, doesn’t it?  (To be honest, it WAS worse than last year—but it did also follow eight straight weeks of visiting relatives coming and going.)  And yet, despite all that work, there are all those pictures of smiling children…  And somehow, we did manage to have a decent enough time that we will repeat the whole procedure next year—and hope that each year will be better than the last, as our children grow older.

What’s your experience vacationing with little ones?

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3 thoughts on “the myth of “vacation” with young children

  1. Ok this is hilarious. I was very lucky on this years vacation. My daughter is 31/2 which means no diaper or baby gear AND I was with my parents. Grandparents+grandchild=mommy time. I have had experiences like yours in years past. Check out my post about what I learned from vacation!

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