…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.
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.