Last week, we returned from two weeks away. It was vacation in the truest sense in that we vacated our home: the hub in which family, work, and all of our lives center around. Our office / dignify warehouse is in our home (my husband works from here as well), so it is tough to take a mental breather from the work pace when I’m at home; getting away is definitely the best way to find rest and restoration.
And this time, I did return legitimately rejuvenated, and generally, well, happy. That sounds like a natural response, a given after a vacation, right? But for all of us who have (or have had) young children, we know that a successful “holiday” is no small feat.
I feel like because of blogs and Instagram and even those old relics of published books, it can sometimes feel like I am the outlier; like adaptable, go-with-the-flow, grateful, pint-sized travel buddies is the norm. I see families who love travel and when they had kids, simply added one more plane ticket. “It’s worth it!” they say. “Kids figure it out!” or even just the simple, “It’s better than being at home.”
Of course, it is good and sometimes essential to get away (as mentioned above), and there are benefits like adventure, better weather, expanded minds, etc. And, usually, a change of scene or company is an immediate squash to boredom.
But, travelling with kids is like taking the crazy on the road, without any of the tools that you usually have to help you manage it!
I also love travel, but for me, the money, effort, and, well, disappointment, has just not proved to be worth it at this stage. Here is a photo that I feel sums up travelling with small children:
Also known as: We are on top of an enormous mountain with an incredible vista and a real live deer RIGHT THERE but look at this candy push pop that I have!
Chatting with friends about this topic always produces a story or two about our experiences as parents with kids who DO NOT GET HOW MUCH WE DO and make you wonder, on vacation, “Why are we doing this?”
Last summer, I was SO OVER the wasted food and the wasted money and the feeling that the kids were more grumpy than grateful. I was ready to never take them anywhere, and only spend money on fun trips with my husband!
Then, this year rolled around and I knew that wasn’t quite the right (or most mature) response. I do want to push through and try again and make it better and spend some quality time with my family. I also want to set myself up for success and to make choices that are reasonable to my kids’ ages & stages.
Our vacation this year was so inexpensive and simple, but it was so good. There was camping (no, we still didn't buy a camper... we tagged along with someone else who did!), and swimming, and ice cream, and houseguesting, and hikes, and family, and friends, and getting dirty, and a bit of money spent on adventure, but almost none spent in restaurants on leftover food!
There was also, truth to tell: too much candy & junk food, abundant question-asking, nighttime wake-ups, being peed on in my sleeping bag, bad coffee, rain storms, some tears (of course), and impatience.
But, you take the good with the bad, and if the bad gets too bad, you just NEVER DO IT AGAIN. At least, not until next year ;)