Vacation with kids is not a vacation; it is an adventure. This slight adjustment to thinking and building expectations might be just the reminder you need as you enter into this important, fun and memory building time with your family. I have shared with you our “adventure” at the not-so-happiest place on earth. Even if you are heading to someplace more chill like our recent trip to Hawaii, know that traveling with kids isn’t quite the same as going on vacation with your spouse.
Vacation with Kids is Not a Vacation
We had a great trip! My parents (and God!) had graciously provided the setting so that we could celebrate the 50 years they have been married. 50 years! We love my parents and knew we would have time together to play games, sit by the pool and eat good food. All this proved true. The setting on the sun-kissed shores of Maui was ideal. Sure the condo was 8 flights up and the elevator was broken, but we were prepared and determined.
There were friends who had planned trips in the area for the same week, so we were able to meet up with people we loved to explore as well. Blessings were all around. We swam with turtles, boogie boarded, snorkeled, laid in the sun, jumped in the pool, shopped, saw a show, read novels, walked to a great coffee shop daily and had more screen time than usual. My husband even saw an octopus while snorkeling, and we also saw an endangered monk seal that had made its way to shore.
…and yet, you are still a parent…and siblings are still siblings.
There were moments of being “prickly” with one another, as my friend described well. Annoyance, disobedience and needing to pull kids out of the pool for their behavior were all parts of the trip. There was complaining that it was too hot or too sandy or they were too hungry. It’s amazing to me that kids will be content one minute and then suddenly be “STARVING” or “NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM OR I’M GOING TO PEE MYSELF” a half a second later. Sibling rivalry was still present.
I also remember traveling when my kids were a lot younger. Having a 3 year old, 1 1/2 year old and a newborn away from home hardly feels like a vacation. We have an annual trip we take to Lake Chelan, Washington with my husband’s side of the family. We love his family, and when I’m talking family I’m talking FAMILY. It’s a huge gathering with over 30 people. These people are fun and engaging. However, I distinctly remember these trips with my littles being extremely challenging. Swimming wasn’t quite safe. We had to pack a crazy amount of stuff to make it work. There was still a nursing schedule, which always seemed to coincide with adult meals. Nap times were still extremely important and yet harder to make consistent. The guys would go off and play golf for a couple days, and I remember being bitter about it, which I hate to admit. As a mom, you need to do all the same mom things and more and yet without the comfort of your own environment. It was hard!
However, it’s all worth it! Adjusting the mindset going in is just extremely helpful if you have never gone on a trip with your kids before. I have spoken before about how expectations influence a marriage. The same can be said about parenting. I know I entered parenting with EXTREMELY messed-up expectations. You can see that as I struggled to find happiness in being a mom. All this is true about traveling as well. Think of it as an adventure. Think of it as a trip. There will be relaxing times. There will be stressful times. Your kids won’t magically be transformed because they are in paradise.
The memories created. The enjoyment of creation. Developing a sense of family. Fun. Laughter. Sunshine. Exploration. Adapting. Relaxing. Learning. Growing. Adventure! Go traverse this world, and do it with your kids. You never know much time you’ll have on this earth together, so enjoy it.