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We Are NEVER EVER EVER Going on Vacation

January 19, 2013

So school is . . . a thing. But I don’t even know where to begin talking about school, whereas I know I hate going on vacation as a family. I have tried not to. I made a color-coded chart to figure out what everyone liked to do, and it turns out that my kids would be perfectly happy going to baseball games and going up in really high buildings. I’m guessing we can’t fill up an entire day with those two activities unless we make the kids take the stairs, and I don’t think that’s allowed.

I hate being confronted by my children’s refusal to cooperate. I hate they way they don’t want to take turns doing what each one wants. I hate that they want to eat oodles of crap, no matter how crummy it makes them feel (just like at home! you have brought the same digestive system with you!). I hate that we waste so much time resolving conflicts on a trip we have been discussing for weeks, strategizing about for days, only to be splashed with a slimy bucket of reality: Really? You think this is going to be the day we all change our minds about everything and just bow to your every whim? Well then, it’s time for the latest round of “working through disappointment in a way that will make the people in the next room hate us.” Well done, sir.

You know what all the things I hate stem from? From their understanding of vacation as a Super Fun Time When You Get to Do Things You Don’t Usually Do. No matter how many conversations I have with them, they don’t seem to grasp that this does not mean getting to do whatever you want, all day, every day.

Occasionally, I mention my . . . distaste . . . for family vacations to someone who feels the need to talk about how she enjoyed her vacations as a child. The implication is that only a fiend would deny her children these magical memories.

There must be people out there who think vacation is a big fat waste of time and money. Where are they? If the norm were staycations, I would fit right in. And while I would try not to join in when people start smugly announcing that their kids are capable of having fun at home — Why, they just need a box of Froot Loops and a trip to local museum and maybe a friend to sleep over, and they think it’s the best day ever! We’re making memories! — I would be so very grateful to know that I don’t have to commit a couple of weeks every year to something that doesn’t seem to serve anyone’s needs.

We’re in a phase in which we’re making memories I don’t want: memories of my children bickering and me snarling.

And this very weekend, my Peerless Spouse is away with one kid. They’re having a great time. And I am home with the other two, who are also having a great time.  There’s no baseball at the moment, and our house doesn’t count as a really tall building, but we’re managing. It’s nice. Maybe not Magical Memories They Will Cherish Forever nice, but still. I like nice.

Despite that, and despite the title of this post, this summer we’ll be going out of town in search of fun. Yay.

6 Comments
  1. January 20, 2013 2:25 am

    I am so with you on this. If I have to take my kids, it’s not a vacation. The things *I* would like to do are almost 100% incompatible with the things they enjoy. There is no compromise coming from them yet (I’m game), so no. I hope this will change as they get older, but who knows.

    • January 20, 2013 10:31 am

      When my kids were younger, a friend asked about our vacation, and I hedged. They had fun, so I was glad we went, but I was spent by the time we got home. “I know what you mean!” she bubbled. “They love it, so you love it.”
      That was not at all what I meant.
      And now it seems as though they don’t even love it. Or they don’t love the parts we actually have to go on vacation for. They love eating heavily processed food and playing on their DSs while we’re in transit.
      On the up side, we’ve never brought home bedbugs.

  2. January 20, 2013 10:05 pm

    Did I ever blog about the time that we went on a family vacation and the children’s favorite parts were the hotel pool and watching TV in the hotel room? And then the baby SCREAMED the ENTIRE FOUR HOUR TRIP HOME? I am firmly in the “family vacations are not making the kind of memories I would like my children to have” camp.

    • January 21, 2013 11:41 am

      One of my coworkers said that for years, her child’s ideal vacation would be a week at the local Courtyard by Marriott. Breakfast buffet, pool, happiness.

  3. Anon permalink
    February 4, 2013 1:30 pm

    I’ve stopped calling them vacations. I now refer to them as Family Adventures. Seeing new places, people, and things helps kids expand and grow. Fine. We’ll go. I’ll spend the time, money, and grief so my kid can have experiences to help round him out. But adventures are not always fun. At least mine aren’t.

  4. Alexicographer permalink
    March 13, 2013 2:36 pm

    Interesting (I know, I’m late to the discussion. Just clicked over from your comment on AskMoxie re: leadership). We’ve got just one kid, so that reduces the opportunities for argument, and in reading this, I realize our vacations basically take one of two forms: (a) visiting family. Fortunately for us this is usually fun and involves seeing people we like, I know that’s not always the case. And, (b) climbing in our camping trailer and going camping in a state park. That works pretty well for us, maybe because DS is pretty clear that there are a constrained set of activities available, drawn from the set {go for a hike, go swimming, go kayaking, ride a bike, build a campfire, climb a lighthouse, roast marshmallows} and contingent on season, weather, and location. Don’t get me wrong, he still fantasizes that we may again camp in a location involving mini golf (Myrtle Beach), but he’s mostly good with the other stuff. Of course, who knows what the future holds?

    Certainly vacationing did take on new, and not positive, meaning for me when I realized how much work traveling with a small kid is, and that’s just the one kid.

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