Finish-The-Sentence Friday: The Last Time I Went On Vacation, I….

January 17, 2013 in Family life,Finish-The-Sentence Friday

…needed a vacation!

Yeah, you can guess what type of vacation it was. I wasn’t vacationing with just my husband or with some girlfriends. This was a family vacation and as every parent knows, you almost always need a vacation AFTER the family vacation. Let’s face it, family get-aways are not relaxing and sometimes, they downright suck. I’m not even sure why the phrase ‘family vacation’ has the word “vacation” in there. It’s work, and it is usually exhausting. It’s all about the kids, keeping them busy and entertained, which can be a huge challenge when they are out of their normal routines and environment. And if you have multiple kids with varying ages, good luck pleasing everyone. It’s near impossible.

So, the last time we went on “vacation” (notice the quotation marks here), we went to Cape Cod, where we’ve been going for the past several years, every summer in August. We rent a house for one week and spend a lot of time going to the beach, fishing, and bike riding on the famous “rail trail.” I’ll admit we have had many, wonderful summers there (except for the one where all three dudes came down with head lice. See this post on how to deal with that fiasco). Our family is active so we love taking long bike rides or swimming in the ocean. The boys also became enamored with fishing so for the past few summers, we’ve stayed in a house on a lake that came fully equipped with a canoe and row boat. Perfect fishing boats and lots of fish to catch.

Boys playing on the beach

But, in between (or during) all these fun activities is where the chaos can ensue.

I’m talking about the usual fighting matches, the pushing and shoving, the screaming, and so on. You think and hope that type of behavior won’t happen on “vacation” because we’re supposed to be having “fun” 24-7. But, that’s not gonna happen. Your kids will still be the same, hair-raising, stress-inducing, energy-sucking little darlings that they are at home. Don’t think that the change in scenery, no matter how scenic, is going to change anything. It sadly does not.

When we returned from Cape Cod this past summer, I went to the grocery store to replenish our empty refrigerator and pantry. I was thrilled to finally have time to myself, even if it was at Stop and Shop. I ran into a fellow parent and told him how we had just returned from “vacation” and that I was exhausted from it. He laughed and said he understood. Then, he told me something truly enlightening. He said they stopped going on “vacation.”

“There’s no point. Why spend all that money to have them fight somewhere else? It’s not worth the aggravation. So, we stay home now and go to the pool and everyone’s happy.”

I laughed, thinking he was joking because this was a family that could afford to vacation whenever and wherever they wanted. But, he was dead serious about staying home. And you know what? He looked happy and relaxed, the complete opposite of me. I quickly came to the following conclusion:

That guy is a genius.

Cape Cod sunset…don’t be fooled by the serenity


{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeanne January 17, 2013 at 10:07 pm

The last time I went on vacation, I did a lot of cleaning. But it was still a lot of fun. It was playing in the snow vacation. I know the stress of having fun all day every day, but it really is the fun stuff we all remember. Not the fights. Thanks for the fun post!


ohboymom January 17, 2013 at 10:25 pm

I agree – the fun is what we remember (except for my lice incident with my boys – we did NOT forget that one).


Janine Huldie January 17, 2013 at 10:14 pm

That guy is totally a genius and will say this last summer I too came to a similar conclusion, when I went on vacation with my whole family (in-laws included). Yup, I needed another vacation and a bottle of wine, too!! Loved this and couldn’t agree more. Thanks for linking up again :)


ohboymom January 17, 2013 at 10:24 pm

You are right about the wine part…next time I’m bringing my own supply! :)


Julie DeNeen January 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Oh yes, I know EXACTLY what you mean. Vacations are not vacations at all when you have kids. They are fun yes, but relaxing? NOPE. Relaxing is Monday morning when they are all at school! LOL


ohboymom January 17, 2013 at 10:23 pm

You are so right about that one! Hooray for school!


Josie Bisett January 17, 2013 at 10:47 pm

I hear this! We haven’t been on ‘vacation’ since 2010 and by the time we got home I desperately needed a vacation! We crammed so much in, and I was preggo and exhausted, and we had a nine month old… I’m having anxiety just thinking about it! But on the flip side I love it when all the family gets together. Even if we always fall out.


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm

You are right – definitely pros and cons to a family vacation. You just have to hope the pros outweigh them so you’ll keep doing them.


Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. January 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm

That was great! I am all too familiar with “vacation”. Your mention of head lice made me laugh out loud. What a classic family “vacation” experience. Makes for a good story, though! Your posts are always such a great combo of vivid and dry- in a good way!


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Thanks Stephanie, I appreciate that! I wish I could say I exaggerate with my posts but I don’t – these crazy things truly do happen!


Melanie Chisnall January 17, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Oh wow, I never looked at holidays like that from a parent’s perspective…I wonder what mine went through with us?! My dad drove us 15 – 18 hours every December to our grandparents. Your holiday destination looks great though – nothing like being in nature away from all the distractions of every day life (except the fighting of course!). Your description reminded me about a day in the life of the Hecks from The Middle. LOL. Do you watch that show? It’s hilarious!


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I’ve never watched “The Middle” but it sounds like my kind of show…and I can’t imagine a 16 hour drive with my kids. I think d be insane by the end!


christine January 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Ha! Hilarious show. Anyone with a surly teenage boy will love it.


Roshni January 18, 2013 at 12:35 am

Cape Cod would otherwise have been a wonderful place to be!! Hopefully, when they’re older, you can actually go on a vacation just with hubby?!!


Terrye January 18, 2013 at 2:55 am

We tend to go on mini-vacations = 3 days here, 2 days there. My son (special needs), needs a schedule or things go a little haywire. It’s taken him a little while to get used to staying at places that aren’t home. I would LOVE to take him on a cruise or a longer vacation. Hopefully, build up to it someday. And the best part…he’s an only child, so no screaming and yelling with a brother or sister. :)


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Oh yes, you are right about that. Vacations are much calmer with only children – you may actually get to relax on your vacations!


Cyndi January 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

Haha, you poor thing. I think the next time you go on “vacation” it just needs to be the two of you: the two adults and no kids. 😉 That way, the kids can be themselves at home. Then for the kids’ “vacation” they can go to camp. LOL. Is it easier said than done? Oh yes. Always. 😀


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm

That’s what we did last summer-all 3 boys went to sleep away camp for a few weeks so we were free to do what we wanted when we wanted.Pure bliss!not sure that will happen again this summer because they all want to do something different…I’m already sad about it!:)


Kate Hall January 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm

LOL! You’re right, I think he’s got something there. We decided it will be a while for us for our next vacation. We’ll be doing an overnight at a water park sometime in the next two months, but that’s about all we can handle right now. We can barely get through a trip to McDonald’s without a fight, crying, and screaming. It’s definitely gotten harder to vacation since #3 came along.


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Yeah, I always joke that our family causes a scene wherever we go but it’s not too far from the truth!


Kelly January 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I always say Vacations are a TON of work. Before, during and after. I took a 7 day trip last time so that means, 7 days of dirty laundry, email to catch up and this year I even had festivities with my family after. So I had one more day to shop and catch up on our 7 days of business we neglected. Plus the gazebo was ripped apart in a storm while gone…what a huge mess I returned to.

The good news Emily – is that the kids are old enough to at least wipe their own butts and no diapers. I decided the next trip is gonna be kid free!


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Same here! When all three of our kids go to sleep away camp this summer, we are planning a REAL vacation!


clark January 18, 2013 at 6:00 pm

the Cape is about a perfect a Summer Vacation Diorama there is! Future anthropologists will establish careers on the merit their theories as to why (some) children, upon being transported thousands of miles to a seaside area, with it’s distinctive cuisine, will insist on pizza for every meal.


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Ha – you are so right about that one! I have one son who loves clam chowder and eats it every day when we are there, but the other two, no way — pizza all the way!


Amy January 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm

2012 was the first year in 13 years that I had a relaxing family vacation! I think it might have been the result of karma finally letting up on me. :) I can so relate to this though! We left a couple of vacations (once on Martha’s Vineyard, once in Newport) early because we were having so much trouble. Staying home would work for me!


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I like the fact that you were able to cut your losses when necessary — we’ve all done it, whether a child is sick or the weather is bad. No reason to stick out a vacation if it’s miserable. We’ve had the opposite happen too, where we’ve been stuck somewhere for an extra day or two — that can also wreak havoc.


Joanna January 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm

The perfect vacation for us is going on a “Cruise”! We have probably gone on two a year, on most cruiselines and really enjoy cruising! The big bonus of cruises is the kids camp. It is available from 9:00 a.m. until midnight, and we take full advantage of the babysitting onboard. Don’t get me wrong, I love being with my children, but all the alone time is very much needed every now and then. Some cruiselines offer better highlilghts then others. Also, going to different caribbean islands each day and staying
at beautiful, tranquil beaches is my dream vacation! The kids love the beach, getting back on the ship to eat, and being in the camp. The food is always available, so make sure to utilize the gym!


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Thanks Joanna – we’ve still never tried a cruise. My boys absolutely refuse to do kid camps anymore so that rules out a few vacation options for us right there. Looks like we’ll have to wait until they’re all in college until we take a REAL vacation!


Kristi January 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Oh my you’re so right that family “vacations” need those quote marks because they’re exhausting. And I like your neighbor’s idea although I really like the beach, too…so I’m sure I’ll forget all about it when it comes to planning July’s trip.
I loved the sentence that “our kids will still be the same, hair-raising, stress-inducing, energy-sucking little darlings that they are at home.” You wrote it wonderfully, as always! :)


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Ha – thanks, I’m glad you appreciated that sentence because some people may find it a bit um, harsh. And yes, I like beach vacations too, so I do always end up enduring the negatives, which hopefully outweigh the positives on the vacation.


Kenya G. Johnson January 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm

That was interesting in a “who knew” kind of way. I never looked at it like that. Most of my vacations MY WHOLE LIFE have been visits to see family because my parents lived “away”, now my husband I and I live “away”. So I don’t have much of a point of reference for a Cape Cod sort of vacation. I guess I should be thankful that in my 7 day long visit to MILs, I never had to cook once, or think about what anyone was going to eat for ANY meal. Now that’s a vacation isn’t it. 😉 #FTSF


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Yes, that absolutely is a vacation! I’d go anywhere in the world if I had someone to cook for me the entire time!


christine January 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

I do love a family vacation, as long as it has nothing to do with a beach. The amount of sand that 8 people can carry makes me completely bonkers.
We always build in a buffer day so we can relax and get our act together at the end of a vacation. Relaxing is certainly a priority when we get home from a vacation.


ohboymom January 18, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Yeah, the sand drives me crazy too! And it stays in our car for months and months! That is smart to build in a buffer day…something to consider for next time.


Rich Rumple January 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm

I’ve spent close to a year at home and really have to say I’m going to hate to start working again next week. It’s not even a case of “too much of a good thing” as it has really been an enjoyable time. I went 12 years straight without taking a vacation from work, and feel like I should be retiring. That’s still a few years off, but home is definitely a place I will visit then … on a non stop basis. Smart husband and Great Post!


ohboymom January 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm

That’s great that you’ve enjoyed the time at home. Not everyone can acclimate to working or just BEING at home full-time, which is why some people have difficulty with retirement. You sound like you’ll do just fine.:)


Emma Ddraig Coch January 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I am pretty sure you took MY kids on vacation. I sit peacefully on the first day back at home, when they have gone to school and the husband has gone back to work and I soak up that serene feeling.


ohboymom January 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Ha – I am so with you on that first day when everyone is back at school and work — that’s better than any vacation!


Maggie Amada January 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I hear you on the vacation. I haven’t had a relaxing vacation since I had kids. I have to say, though that despite all their fighting, we always manage to have a good time. It’s worthwhile as long as I schedule an extra day off work after the vacation is over.


ohboymom January 19, 2013 at 7:02 pm

That sounds like a smart idea. We all need that extra day to readjust to our normal routines again. Thanks so much for commenting!


Carol January 23, 2013 at 11:09 am

Oh well crap! I just told my husband last night that I couldn’t wait until the kids were old enough to take them to some of the places we went before they were born. Looks like I might be better off leaving them with family – because I’m still going back to some of those places!! We can take a “family vacation” at the Rec Center. Ha!


ohboymom January 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Well, your kids may be better vacationers than mine…some kids are great travelers – mine, not so much.


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