Why Moms Don't Get to 'Relax' on Family Vacations, For the Husbands Who Don't Get It

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stressed mom.
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In the thick of winter, it's hard to imagine that summer will ever arrive. And while most people are focused on surviving the next snowfall, moms everywhere are bracing themselves for one of the single most hectic family events of the year: The family vacation.

When I was a kid, the thought of family vacation used to fill me with pure, unadulterated joy. Now when I think of vacation, all I can think about is reaching for the Tums. 

  • Because the truth is, I'm not getting a real vacation for at least the next 10 years. Why? Because I'm a mom. 

    My parental status practically bars me from relaxing. From the moment we decided to go on vacation, my mind begins looping the vicious cycle of planning, budgeting, and panicking. 

    First it starts out with looking for a place to go and a place to stay. My sister-in-law and I furiously send links back and forth to one another. Is this too many steps for dad? Is there a pool for the kids? Is there enough rooms for us to sleep? What about a grill, does this place take dogs? We try to bring our husbands into it, with no avail.

    "Whatever you guys think is best," they'll say.

    "Doesn't matter to me where we go babe," they'll proudly state.

    They think they are being helpful, being easy-going, when really we both just want them to pick up those phones and look for places, too. But they don't and days tick away until we're down to the wire and are stuck going with what we can.

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  • Once the dust of finding a place and paying for it settles, we're then left to prep. And no one, NO ONE, warned me how bad packing as a mom is.

    Whatever age your kid is, you have to pack like anything that can go wrong will. Did we remember all the bottles? What about the sunscreen? Do we have two bathing suits in case the baby pees through the one? Are you guys bringing down the food or are we? Did I pack enough diapers? Oh, got the Pack 'n Play, how are we fitting that AND the high chair?

    We turn to our husbands and ask them if they've at least gotten their bag packed and they look at us like we're crazy. 

    "We have a few days still, I'll get to it," they'll promise.

    But while we're in the 11th hour just before we leave, we'll start getting questions that begin with "Honey have you seen my...." and end with everything from boxers to their "going out" shirt. So we stop packing up the rest of the family for the 20th time to help them find what they need.

    And suddenly there we are, 3 a.m. of the morning we're supposed to leave, and we haven't even begun to pack our own bag. 

  • When we finally arrive after a two-hour ride turns into a four-hour one thanks to 15 pee breaks, our caravan begins unpacking all their bags.

    "Mom, where's my Paw Patrol bag with all my 'guys' in it," I'll hear my nephew call out.

    "Babe, have you seen my toothbrush," my husband will ask me. 

    And for the first few hours we're left to settle into our new living quarters for the week, all while kids are bouncing off the walls begging for the beach and husbands have cracked open a beer, inching toward the couch. 

    Admittedly, we've already poured a glass of wine. 

  • Throughout the week, we'll slather sunscreen on tantruming toddlers. We'll battle our picky eaters. We'll fret about dinner and naps and pool safety.

    And not once, not ONCE will we crack open that book we brought down, while we watch our husbands snooze on the sand. And just before we're positive that we're packing up the car and heading straight home RIGHT THIS MINUTE, our littles ones with heavy, tired eyes will whisper how it was the best day ever, and we instantly get enough strength to do it all again tomorrow. 

    While vacations are undoubtedly different now that there's a family in tow, the memories we are making with them and for them are worth all the chaos.

     But husbands, do us a favor, and pitch in a bit, too, won't you? It'd be cool if we could all have a good time this year.