Ah, summer vacation. I love it. It brings with it the hope of relaxation and rest amidst a life full of chaos and craziness. It’s a change of seasons and a change of schedules, at least for those of us who live according to the school calendar.
And, of course, our family vacation is exactly like everyone else’s. We’re all one big, happy family. Everyone is getting along perfectly. There is absolutely no complaining, fussing or bickering here. Just check my Instagram posts. You’ll only see smiles and sunshine!
Vacation [NOT] Pictured
The reality of vacations with kids is so different from what we see as we scroll through our feeds. And that’s ok. I’m obviously no different. But in the spirit of full disclosure, we as moms can at least acknowledge the existence of those exasperating vacation moments — even if we still refuse to post them. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve included a few of my least favorite things about vacationing with kids!
Not Pictured: The never-ending argument over whose turn it is to pick the next in-car movie. Or the drama of how said movie makes the other child(ren) feel. The boys are tired of Frozen and the girls don’t want to watch superheroes. We get it.
Not Pictured: Me, tearing my hair out as we wait and wait (and wait) at the “best restaurant in town” for what turns out to be mediocre fajitas and over-priced kids meals, most of which ends up on the floor.
Not Pictured: The mania that ensues as soon as we step foot into the hotel. First, it’s the bickering over who gets to press the elevator buttons. Then, you would think it was time for WWE as soon as we open the room door and they see that perfectly made beds. I understand that they have been cooped up in the car (eating endless carbs) all day. But before anyone gets seriously injured, I at least need to attempt to baby-proof the room before our littlest calls China or gets into the mini-bar.
Not Pictured: Bedtime with three kids who are all used to having their own space in which to sleep. First on the list: the bedtime potty routine. And it has to happen before the baby goes to sleep. Because you better believe that we shove that pack-n-play into the bathroom and shut the door. It’s the best way we’ve found to ensure that baby won’t be disturbed by the rest of our shenanigans as we try to get everyone to settle down.
Not Pictured: The contents on the floor of the van, which include assorted chips, cookie and candy wrappers, random pieces of kid’s meal toys, and the I’m-not-really-sure-what-that-is sticky substance. Could be dried up Coke mixed with yesterday’s muffin crumbs. Or it might be vomit. There’s really no telling.
Not Pictured: The walk of shame after we leave the continental breakfast in ruins. There are only five of us. But it seriously looks like an army came through and wiped out all of the rations. And on the way out, they set off a bomb. My apologies to the hotel staff.
Not Pictured: The epic meltdown after the dinky souvenir breaks. That’s right. The one that we spent at least 20 minutes hemming and hawing over. It’s broken in less time than it took to pick it out.
Not Pictured: The mound of laundry that reeks of sweat, urine and grease. All that nasty gets bunched together in the suitcase and left to sit in the sun while we drive for hours and hours. Let’s just say it’s not a good combination for anyone involved.
Vacation with littles isn’t really vacation at all.
Really, it’s not. But it’s worth it. They’re only little for a little while. Soon, they will grow out of their sense of wonder and excitement over something as small as leaving the state or riding a horse or seeing an alligator at a rest stop.
I’ve heard it said this way: When you take your kids with you, it’s a trip. When you go with just your spouse, then it’s a vacation. So, for now, it’s only trips for us. Those vacations can wait a few years. We’ll get around to them, eventually.