A Vacation With Kids Is Anything But

Friday means it’s time to head over to Dad-Blogs for Fatherhood Friday. Tons of dads (and moms) are blogging like crazy and sharing some great insight over there on a weekly basis. So after you’re done here, head to Dad-Blogs for some good times and even better reads.

Having a child changes everything.

That’s what they tell you right from the get-go, and it’s true. Will changed everything in my life, and 95 percent of the time it’s been for the better. But this past vacation? It fell in the 5 percent.

The vacation house was beautiful. The mountains were GORGEOUS. Being with our friends was unbelievably great. But doing it all with Will was fucking exhausting. And it’s really my fault. For some ungodly reason, I thought vacations would somehow be immune to a 14-month-old. As if he suddenly and magically wouldn’t need to eat and require diaper changes. I thought I could drink all night and go crazy and just sleep until noon the next day to make up for it.

And then Will woke up at 4:30 a.m. and I wanted to light myself on fire the first day.

I didn’t think about going back to sharing a room with Will. I didn’t think about him being too big to sleep in his pack and play. I didn’t think about the fact that he’d have a hard time sleeping in a new place. I failed to consider our friends’ 4-year-old and how he and Will would react to each other. I didn’t think about the need to be quiet after the kids go to bed, or keeping them quiet in the morning for the sake and sanity of everyone else in the house.

In short, I didn’t think much at all.

But you live and learn right? If anything, this has prepared me for whenever it is we vacation next with our friends. So for those of you who haven’t taken your little one on vacation yet, here’s a “Before & After” list to get you prepared to your new definition of “Vacation.”

BEFORE: Pack some clothes but not much else. Anything else you forget you can pick up when you get to your destination.

AFTER: Start planning your packing scheme two weeks prior to vacation. Bring the pack and play, half his wardrobe, diapers, diapers for the pool, sippy cups, milk, baby snacks, noise machine, baby monitor, all of his toys (just in case), his stroller, his jogging stroller, his sneakers, his sandals, his Red Sox cap, his beach hat, sunblock and every other thing you can imagine. And then, come to the realization that you’ll forget something very important.

BEFORE: Save most of the vacation budget for beer, food and snacks.

AFTER: Just get a six-pack for the week. Spend the rest of the money on milk, strawberries, blueberries, oranges and Gerber Puffs.

BEFORE: It doesn’t matter which bedroom I get, as long as the bed fits two (if you catch my drift!).

AFTER: Choose the bedroom carefully. Don’t pick the one near the bathroom because he’ll wake up every time someone flushes. He can’t be downstairs because that’s where people will be partying and they’ll wake him up. And don’t worry about those creaking bedsprings because the baby is sleeping in the same room and you stand a better chance of hooking up with a Victoria’s Secret supermodel than getting any kind of nookie on this vacation.

BEFORE: You pay no attention to anything concerning the house because you’re most likely drunk the whole time and stumbling around the house with friends. What’s to worry about?

AFTER: Upon first entering the house you scan the place like Terminator to perform a status check on all the potential pitfalls and danger zones. Put up a baby gate there. Make sure that door dead bolts. Take note of every creaky floorboard and door, so you can avoid it at all costs.

BEFORE: Upstairs, downstairs, outside…it didn’t matter where your friends were because it was vacation!!

AFTER: You might as well bring several pairs of slippers for people to wear so their footsteps will be silenced. Block off creaky door hinges with yellow police caution tape. Don’t allow the flushing of toilets past 9 pm. Limit the decibel level of all conversation to barely above a whisper. And every time one of those rules is broken, be ready to freeze and clench your entire body as you hope against hope that he didn’t wake up. Sounds very relaxing doesn’t it?

BEFORE: Feel like heading out to a bar? Go for it. Want to go for a 5 mile hike? Knock yourself out. Feel like getting drunk before noon. Tip that elbow! Vacation is grand ain’t it?

AFTER: Feel like heading out to a bar? HAHAHA! Good luck convincing your significant other to watch the kid while you fly solo and have a grand old time. Want to go for a 5 mile hike? Only if you can take the stroller, otherwise you’re out of luck. Feel like getting drunk before noon? Not with a baby you delinquent. Sober up and do some parenting. Sure if you have great friends who are willing to watch the baby for a few hours you can do some stuff, but for the most part that baby might as well be a bungee cord permanently attached to your leg. Vacation is grand ain’t it?

Basically what I’m saying is that you have to pack your entire house, break your kid’s routine, deal with rebellious behavior for breaking his routine, baby proof a whole new house, burden your childless friends with rules and quiet time, walk around the house PETRIFIED of making noise, and cringe every time someone moves. And yet…

I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

I’ll never be one of those parents who stays at home just because it’s easier. And since I’m lucky enough to have friends who actually want kids around on their vacations, I’m just going to count my lucky stars and try to enjoy spending time with them. And I’m pretty sure it’ll get a little easier as Will gets older. So if you’re pondering a vacation with the little one this summer, just do it. It’s a lot of hard work — you’ll probably work even harder than you would normally at home — but it’s worth it for moments like this.

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15 thoughts on “A Vacation With Kids Is Anything But

  1. It is so hard when they are little but I promise – when they get older, beyond the nap years, vacation is the best thing ever!

  2. Great before and after list! I learned the same lessons on my last vacation and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Oh, and when it comes to packing, I’d just leave the Red Sox hat at home.

  3. I so hear you. Our first vacation with baby was horrible. he was 6 months old and decided to start teething that very same week. He NEVER slept and neither did we. Thankfully the only other people with us were my parents so there was some help and bits of reprieve. We actually were able to go out to dinner just the 2 of us, just once…

  4. We just took our first plane ride with Jr. He was fine on the plane, but got the croup the first night we were there. All in one hotel room. Then the little angel slept all day….and barked like a seal at night. It was awesome.

  5. Andrew has been on a plane 4 times and he’s only 18 months. We are headed back to Asia again on his 22nd month.
    Traveling is fairly easy with him. He is pretty used to being on the plane. Once his little sister is born, I’m not sure we will be flying anywhere…

  6. I LOVED traveling with Boy when he was a baby. He was one of those babies you could take anywhere. Just throw a few things in his bag and go. That’s why I never had a second one – because my luck just wouldn’t hold out for 2 good babies! (Kidding – there were many reasons we didn’t have a second. That’s just the reason I tell myself.) But I believe if you go ahead and travel with them early, they get used to it and it gets easier and easier.

  7. Will likes vacationing at Grandma and Grandpa’s house! 🙂

    And is there a reason an apparent Yankee fan is allowed to post?

  8. I recall flying with my oldest when he was only a year old. He threw his pacifier and it landed right in a mans glass of cognac. I contemplated not rinsing it off first. It does get easier as they get older though. I never kept quiet around my kids when they were babies so they’ll sleep through any thing. If anything I’ve made it so they can’t go to sleep without some sort of background noise.

  9. I LOVED this post! Yea, vacations pretty much suck after having children. Perhaps that gets better? Either that or the kids will grow up remembering their parents drunk off their asses when on vacation trying to block out some reality!

    Oh, I have a new blog site. I’m not with slummy mummies any longer. I figured it was time for a new start….


  10. I totally feel you on this one! My husband’s sister decided to have a beach wedding last month! HA! Yeah, that was fun (insert sarcasm here). Luckily, the loudness of the waves drowned out all of the noise from my son! Same exact points you made were things we learned. Just add a bunch of loud adults and drunk college kids everywhere, and it was basically the same. All we did all week long was tell people to be quiet and that the baby was sleeping. Yeah, we were a lot of fun for everyone else! LOL! Oh well, next time we will still go, but we will get our own place, I think!

  11. We just took a family vacation (we have six kids, the youngest is 15 months) to the beach. Our youngest decided that since we ruined his routine, he would resort to biting mommy when he got cranky. My right shoulder and upper arm have weird looking bruises now. =S

    Like you, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. =D I have a video of him asking for his paci over and over, then frowning at me once he realized I was recording him. Hilarious!

  12. I feel your pain, I just spent six days walking behind my son as he ‘investigated’ every nook and cranny of Oma and Opa’s house. They said they did some advance decluttering, but I don’t think so. The biggest thing we had was getting him used to sleeping in all these different places – two different hotels, then a week in a strange room was a lot for him in a weeks time. Add to that 28 hours in a minivan and you’ve got one hell of trip. But I definitely do it again. Maybe not next week, but staying home is no fun. Lots of world to see.

  13. Good times! Who needs a stay-cation when you can have this? We’re planning a Maui trip for December, when Bea will be 15 months old. Tiny umbrellas for the sippy cups. Woot!

  14. I finally got around to reading your take on vacation. I look forward to takinga real vacation with Braden instead of a work/vacation. I am waiting until next year though. You are right on with all the before and afters. We packed so much that I told my wife we were going to look like Clark Griswold in the family truckster.

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