Dear Future Self,
I know you think it’s a great idea to plan a “vacation” with the kids. You long to get away as a family and spend oodles of quality time together away from your regular daily grind. Don’t do it, Future Self. For the love of all that’s holy, back away from the computer and do NOT purchase that family “vacation”.
You see, Future Self, there is a reason you are always saying that traveling with small children is NOT a vacation, it is a trip. There is a very important distinction between a vacation and a trip. A vacation is something you return home from with a glowing tan and a sense of rejuvenation. A trip is something you return home from feeling like you need a vacation.
Current You is on “vacation” in San Diego right now, Future Self, so she knows a thing or two about this traveling with kids business. She knows that it started out with great intentions and gleeful anticipation. Surely the road to Hell is paved with great intentions and gleeful anticipation, amiright?
“Vacationing” with children is a lot like childbirth. It’s excruciating, there is screaming, at some point during the process you change your mind (but it’s already too late), and after enough time has passed you forget how heinous it was so you do it all over again. Don’t get me wrong, Future Self. Sure, there were some good times and special moments. It’s just that when you are looking back at this San Diego “vacation” and see the smiling angelic tots of yours on the beach you’ll forget that this “vacation” called you to question your entire existence as a mother. That on more than one occasion during this “vacation” you decided you aren’t fit to raise a pet gerbil let alone two of the world’s most strong-willed and fierce little girls.
That’s why I’m here, Future Self. To bring you back to reality. Ok, so maybe putting a kibosh on all future family “vacations” isn’t reasonable. There are some wonderful and amazing things about traveling with your kiddos. But maybe just check and double-check your expectations, Future Self. Lower your expectations until you think you can’t possibly lower them any more. Then lower them again. Now you are ready for a family “vacation”.
Just know that no matter the mode of transportation, you will hear “Are we there yet?” about a bazillion times. Your kids will fight with a level of passion typically reserved only for battling genocide to be the one that gets the privilege of hitting the button on the elevator. They will stay up late and wake up at the first hint of dawn. There will be no escaping them because you will be trapped in the same jail cell, err, hotel room with them. They will find fault with the food because it is not EXACTLY the same as the food you have at home!
So my dear Future Self, I urge you instead to consider that adult-only getaway you were considering. At least until such a time has arrived when your children are a bit older and more self-sufficient. Oh, who the Hell am I kidding? You’ll look back at all the happy pictures and remember only the magical times and do it all over again. But don’t say I didn’t warn you, Future Self…