Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...
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The Family Vacation
“I’m a mom traveling with my kids. For me, this is not a vacation. It’s a business trip.” Claire, Modern Family
I heard this line a few months ago and laughed so hard; then it started ringing in my head as we (excuse me, I) planned for our family vacation a few weeks ago… and I absolutely said it aloud a few times DURING our family vacation. Don’t get me wrong, all 4 of us had a blast, but it certainly wasn’t what I would define as a “vacation”.
First of all, the planning that goes into a vacation – finding the right place to stay. Making sure 2 children who sleep in separate rooms could share a room, or find a place that could accommodate them in 2 separate rooms. Finding appropriate beds for them is a challenge too! The 1st night we spent at my family cottage, my oldest fell out of the top bunk and the 2nd night my youngest fell out of the bottom bunk… onto hardwood flooring to top it off. My first 2 nights of sleep totaled about 4 hours because I ended up sharing a bed with my kids both nights. I love snuggling with my kids, but I have never been a co-sleeping parent. I need my space, but I also have that fear of rolling on top of them & suffocating them. I know it’s rare, but still.
Ok, so you’ve found the place to stay, and you have packed up as much as you can fit into your mode of transportation (haven’t done a family of 4 trip on a plane yet; that scares me) and yes, if you are reading this and you’re a Mom, guess what? It’s very likely you will be doing all the packing & preparing! I love the hubs, he’s really good at so many things, but organizing & prioritizing is not his strong suit. So, now, it’s time to leave! Yay! Oh wait, did everyone go to the bathroom? You’re hungry? Where is your right shoe? And your favorite bear? Why does walking out the door with 2 kids always seem to take an hour?
After a sleepless, yet very relaxing weekend at my family cottage on
Lake Michigan, the next 3 nights we were to spend in a condo. After a couple of days searching online, weighing the options of a hotel verses a condo verses a rental house, I finally found accommodations that fit into our budget: a 2 BR condo, with a full kitchen & living room. Perfect! When we arrived, the air conditioning that was first on the list of amenities didn’t exist. Awesome in August when it’s 95 humid degrees, you & your husband have awful asthma & allergies to deal with that peak in August & September. We called the owner, asked where the thermostat was and he said “there isn’t one” then hung up. After a few choice words between the hubs & I, along with a frantic peek at the listing online (they did have the wifi he listed!) the misrepresentation of the condo was evident and we called the owner back 10 minutes later… who didn’t answer. Nice, hey? Took us an hour to get a hold of him again, and then a long & painful 3 weeks passed before we got our refund check. Something he promised if we vacated the premises immediately. We did, and ended up in a suite at a hotel, costing $100 more/night than we had planned to spend. Good times. Oh yeah, and did I mention that happened on my birthday?
Once we survived that drama, we headed to the hotel. While the hubs checked in, I took the kids to see the aquarium at the bar and ordered 2 shots of good tequila, a 6-pack of beer and a pizza, then crashed in our suite for the evening. On top of the unexpected drama, we had been driving a good portion of the day. It was a great day of stops, but the evening wasn’t one I’d like to relive. But since we were in a suite, every night we would tuck the kids into their beds in the living room, and then we would sort of be stuck in the BR for the night. This was the dilemma we faced as I pulled my hair out looking at accommodations; when you stay in a hotel with your kids, how do you do it? Do you all go to bed at the same time? With our 2 & 5 yr old, the longer we keep them up, the more delirious they get & the less they sleep – they will still get up early, sometimes putting them to bed an hour late will get them to wake up an hour EARLIER than usual! It doesn’t even make sense, but for now, that’s what we have to deal with. At least the hubs & I had a separate room that we could have a beer or two & hang out in until we appropriately crashed… which was never more than an hour later! Sad, but maybe next time we’ll just stay in a standard room, save some $$ and deal. Because, let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot of sex happening on a family vacation.
The rest of the trip was less eventful than my birthday, thank goodness. The kids were great; never complained when we piled in the car, yet AGAIN for another quick trip here or there. Only dealt with minor issues (oops, forgot to add diapers to the diaper bag!) and meltdowns that would’ve likely happened no matter where we were. And since our kids are still little, some of the things we would’ve liked to do had to be adjusted, which wasn’t that big of a deal. We’ve become accustomed to all of our plans being in pencil.
Despite the unique & exhausting challenges you face on a family vacation, it was full of positives too. I was able to clear my head on the beach and focus on simply having a good time with my family. I rarely thought about the potentially anxiety-causing issues waiting for me at home. I didn’t think about anything or anyone back home, really. Sorry, but it’s true! Letting go like that isn’t always the easiest thing for me. Escaping for almost a week was very good for all of us. Helped us to hit our reset button and focus on what is important… not to mention, how much we appreciated our own home when we got back!