What comes to mind when YOU think of “family vacation”? Lounging on the beach with a fruity frozen libation while the kids make sandcastles? Skiing in matching snowsuits and drinking hot cocoa at the lodge #SnowBunnies? Or perhaps a trip to Disney, with each family member rocking their own customized mouse ears?
When I think of family vacation, I first get a giddy feeling of all the potential fun to be had. I visualize living out the fun things I see people post about on social media. But then reality starts creeping in. Then what promises to be a trip full of memory-making bliss starts feeling more like a nightmare.
While I love making memories and seeing and doing new things, I hate all the rest of the requisite tasks that go along with travel. Especially when it involves taking on the responsibility of traveling with small children.
Packing and preparing gives me major anxiety. What all do I need to pack, for not only myself but also the rest of the family? What if I forget something important? It’s especially a struggle when you have children who are still bottle-fed or eating baby food, or if you have little ones in diapers. When my oldest was a toddler, I had to deal with all of that extra stress on a trip to Washington, D.C. I even had to change a dirty diaper on the sidewalk at the base of the Washington Monument. Definitely not the highlight of our trip, but it certainly was a memory-maker.
I am not a fan of planes. I don’t like feeling restrained for the duration of my flight, and the germ situation and recycled air creeps me out. What if my child acts like a tiny demon and screams, cries or throws fits and the rest of the plane collectively decides to yeet us off the plane somewhere over the Atlantic? It could happen, people. I’m not even going to go on about the crash potential, because honestly the thought of having to drive long distances to my destination sounds worse than dropping from the sky like blue ice from the teeny tiny plane toilets. Especially if the driving includes a car full of people who have short attention spans, can’t keep their hands and feet to themselves, and have varying times that their bladders need to be relieved. Oh…and have a tendency to get car sick.
No matter how lavish the hotel (or not), I have trouble sleeping if I’m not in my own bed. Heck, I have trouble sleeping in my OWN bed, but at this point in my life I’ve found all the hacks that help ease me into dreamland. I need meat locker temps, the sound of fans and/or an air purifier, millions of small and large pillows propped up under various parts of my body, and total darkness. My ideal sleep environment would be like a bat cave with a cozy bed and slightly less guano. However, I’d make the sacrifice with the bat poop if it means not having the kids wallowing all over the hotel carpet, and exploring every icky surface while my germaphobic OCD goes into overdrive.
Assuming we actually survive the trip getting to our destination, there’s a good chance the kids will complain. About everything…about the walking, the temperature, the waiting for things, the food, etcetera. I also worry about their safety in crowds, because my youngest child loves to run off and hide. I’d rather not have to shut down Silver Dollar City and call in the FBI to track down my little fugitive and bring him to justice…errr…I mean his FAMILY.
I know I sound like a total buzzkill. I hate that I feel this way, but regardless, these are my feelings. My husband always wants to plan a family trip, and I will absolutely go if that is what he and the kids want, but I am just not excited about it. My husband is carefree and doesn’t realize that because he’s not as worried about the details, it leaves Mama here taking on the majority of the mental load.
Perhaps he and the kiddos will settle for a quick day trip to Bucc-ee’s. It’s pretty much the Disneyworld of Texas. We can all get matching Bucc-ee attire and eat our weight in Beaver Nuggets. If the kids want a fun activity, I can spray them with a water hose in the parking lot. Who needs Splash Mountain anyway?