10 Ways a Family Vacation Is No Vacation At All

LOL 18

We're currently on vacation with the kids, though "vacation" seems like a silly word to describe our current state of affairs. "Forced family bonding away from home." That's more like it! Though we are having a lovely time (in between the tantrums and bickering), the last thing I will take home with me is a lingering feeling of relaxation. Here's why ...

1. We're at the beach, which in theory should be relaxing. But unless you're pawning them off on unsuspecting parents, you won't have a single second to appreciate the ocean air.

2. You know how kids are ALWAYS HUNGRY? It's a hell of a lot easier to deal with that hunger when you're at home with a whole pantry at your disposal.

3. Speaking of food, at home we eat out occasionally. Here, it's been at least once a day and we all know restaurants with kids are no bargain. Pretty sure I've gained five pounds in an effort not to waste their overpriced uneaten grilled cheese and chicken fingers.

4. Close quarters. We drove nine hours to the beach, luggage forcing the kids to sit THISCLOSE to one another. My ear drums are still burning from the ride.

5. Unfamiliar surroundings. Hotels and rental homes are a wonderful change of scenery, but the kids can never, ever find what they're looking for. Which isn't all that different from home, except they aren't to blame.

6. None of their babysitters are here. And by babysitters I mean TV with their recorded channels and Wii.

7. Packing regrets. "You brought this?!" my daughter gasped when she spotted the dress I'd hoped she'd wear for a dinner out. To retaliate for my packing clothes she didn't love, she's worn the same gray shirt every single day of the trip. I plan on burning it before we leave.

8. They miss their friends. Sure they have their siblings to play with, but they get sick of each other pretty quickly. Which I can't blame them for.

9. The pressure to have fun. My patience for their constant fighting and moodiness is much, much lower when we're trying to make happy fucking memories for them.

10. The trip home. The drive down to the beach was filled with excitement and anticipation. The ride home? I can't even think about it.

The good news is that we're sure to leave this trip with great memories and a renewed appreciation for the comforts of home. Which will last exactly three seconds.


Image via Scary Mommy



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Tracey Plummer

Wow, am I glad that this isn't how our family trips go! It sounds like torture and I would never go on vacation if that was how I felt at the end of a trip. Maybe you'll get lucky and they will be so tired on the trip home that they will all just crash...

nonmember avatar Rach

I hated family vacations. It's not relaxing to sleep in the same room with your entire family. And my parents always packed every moment full of tourism, so there was no time to relax. And we always camped, so there were never bathrooms or showers. So we were out doing touristy things smelling like campfire and ass.

Nelli... NellieAthome

Sounds like Ms Smokler needs to get some perspective - let's see, no one is forcing her to eat the kid's leftovers. No kid is going to starve if they don't get to eat between the overly large meals that Americans serve their kids (and themselves). The whole point of a *family* vacation is to bond with the family so complaining you can't palm them off on the TV or video games makes me wonder why you want to vacation with them to begin with.

So the kid wears the same shirt, so what - are you really so petty that you would destroy the shirt she likes just because she didn't like the dress you packed for her???

This list rather makes me wonder why Ms Smokler had kids to begin with......

Crystal Lee

Wow, the crowd is harsh today:). I agree with SO many of these, point is; family vacations are a LOT of work. I still have a blast and will have great memories with my kiddos, but I appreciate that it's also hard damn work. I appreciated your humor, thank you!

nonmember avatar Wendy

Some people have no sense of humor! :P As a real parent I understand these feelings exactly. One of the wost vacations we ever took (my three kids were ages 15, 13 and 8 at the time) made me crazy. The nine year old (son) was fine. The teens (daughters) almost didn't make it home. I was so stressed I told my Mom about the trip through my teeth, they were so gritted. Come to find out when THEY told my Mom about it they were all excited saying what an amazing trip it was (we went to Cape Cod) and how much fun they had. What? We were on the same trip??
My point is: kids seem to forget about the whining (it was OFF THE CHARTS) and complaining and actually remember fun. Unless making their Mom crazy IS fun! LOL!!

Nelli... NellieAthome

I've been on lots of vacations with kids and never had to "grit my teeth" when describing the trips.... Kids didn't whine,  didn't seem to make any of the adults "crazy". Dressed like they wanted with no complaints from the adults (only criteria was to be clean if eating out)

Maybe it is because we all go on vacation to relax - no pressure to dress a certain way, no requirement to "have fun",  kids played with each other or *gasp* made new friends - oh - and crammed into the car together the kids don't whine or fight -  we *gasp* play games the whole car load can get involved in......

Any vacation is work, just like day to day life involves work, but if that work is so overwhelming that one feels the vacation is "no vacation at all" then I am forced to wonder how stressed and unhappy mom is at home......

bella... bellacazzate

Oh, sweet merciful NelliatHome: I wish to wash your feet and be humbled in your presence. How does one remain so perfect whilst having a s'more stick wedged so firmly into her hindquarters? I admire your strength. 

I, on the other hand, was much like Rach: crammed in a bed surrounded by a snorchestra, smelling of campfire and ass.

Nelli... NellieAthome

well bellacazzate - we vacation with 3-5 kids ranging in age from 6 to 16 without fighting and with enjoying each other's company - if that makes us perfect then, oh well. Mostly I think it is just that we enjoy each other's company, do not go on vacation with seriously unrealistic expectations and the adults apparently know how to relax. Heck, just last week we took the kids on an overnight trip 4 adults 5 kids in the van - no arguments and the kids want to do it again before school starts and the adults agreed so I guess we must be the odd ones since we enjoy traveling and vacations together.

And yeah, my childhood vacations were shared beds and crammed in the car - much more than kids can be crammed now since each has to have their own seat belt pretty much ending the 6 kids in the back seat days of car travel... Summers at the lake, or three weeks at the ranch - the family spent time together, adults relaxed and kids played and everyone was sad summer ended and looked forward to the next summer - mom's included.

Maybe, just maybe, parents used to know how to relax and parents today are too obsessed with non-essentials and too interested in making everything "perfect"


nonmember avatar Wendy

You are too funny Nellie! I'm very happy for you! Obviously you have perfect chldren because you are a perfect parent! BRAVO!!! And your not even preachy or judgemental in the slightest (ROTFL!!!).
As a child my family vacationed as well. My brothers and I still talk about how fantastic they were and they are a huge part of my childhood memories. My Mom tells me there was a LOT of bickering, whining and complaining. It's par for the coarse (when you live in reality). Neither I or my parents had ANY: expectations of perfection. Due to our life experiece we are VERY aware that nothing is perfect and there are no expectations for that. There is NOTHING I enjoy more as an adult than time with my family. My brothers and I remain very close to this day. In fact we are all vacationing together next month. It's always less stressful with more adults in tow. I can't wait. There is nothing than I enjoy more then time with my children. Now they are older, I'm so glad for the vacations we had in the past. They remember them and our time together with fondness. Even if they did stress me out during. But then, I'm not perfect. Neither are my kids. What we lack in perfection, we make up for in love. Go ahead an judge from your high horse, you have the right as you are perfect. I know nothing I say will help you to see things a different way, but I felt the need to say it anyway. Maybe someone else will appreciat it. :D

Jilectan Jilectan

Yeah, sounds like you're not doing your vacations right, if they're that much trouble.

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