This month my husband and I are taking our four kids under seven on a trip. He likes to refer to it as a vacation. Is it fair to call it a vacation if your kids are with you?
Before we had kids my husband and I went on exciting vacations. It all seemed to change when I became pregnant with my first child. During my first trimester we visited the Hawaiian Islands, a trip that involved a power outage on the island of Oahu that lasted 12 hours and made national news. Perhaps that should have been a sign that a vacation would not be the same when children are involved?
Once you start having kids your priorities shift. While it would be incredibly satisfying to spend an entire day underneath an umbrella reading a book, that time is more likely to be spent fretting that someone might crack their head open on pool steps. It would be wonderful to get a massage and enjoy the sun, but someone needs to stay back at the room while the kids nap. I just don’t think you can call it a vacation if you take your kids.
VACATION BEFORE AND AFTER KIDS
Before Kids: Enjoying a glass of wine while reading a stack of magazines or watching a movie.
With Kids: Fighting over who will change the baby’s diaper. Taking long walks up and down the center aisle to keep a sleepless toddler from screaming at the people behind you. Chewing on the leftover candy you bought to bribe your offspring to stay quiet.
Before Kids: Getting into an argument with the lady at Enterprise about why there are no convertibles left.
With Kids: Threatening the lady at the Enterprise to call the President of the company when she admits there are no family vans or car seats available. Driving away in a minivan with roll down windows and the smell of a dead body.
Before Kids: Must have a room with a large tub and mini bar.
With Kids: Must have a suite with a washer and dryer, kitchen, and babysitting services.
Before Kids: Moonlit dinners with appetizers, dinner, and a bottle of wine.
With Kids: Pre-sunset chicken finger plates.
Before Kids: Cabana with margaritas and mid-day naps.
With Kids: SPF 100, inflatable pool toys, and praying no one spilled through their pull-up.
CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER HOTEL GUESTS
Before Kids: Where are you from, restaurant recommendations, and next vacation destinations?
With Kids: I am sorry my child is screaming, but they just started swim lessons. How early does the aquarium open? Have there been any recent cases of kidnappings?
Before Kids: Disappointment at having to go back to work, but feeling refreshed.
With Kids: Complaining you need a vacation from your “vacation.”