Family Vacations require a lot of freaking Hard Work

I was recently listening to a discussion on the radio about family vacations. There was a study that discovered that with children over the age of four, some of their fondest memories were of family vacations. In most cases children didn’t remember any specific birthdays or holidays but yet a specific vacation or trip. Good to know. So I guess now I can stop my complaining about all the hard work that goes into these trips.

Hard work? I kid you not. So I’m sure you all know a mother or two that claim their family vacations don’t cause them any stress. Their kids enjoy the ten hour car ride and never ask ‘are we there yet?’. It’s as if they get in the car and in a blink of an eye they suddenly arrive at their dreamy destination looking and feeling great with no puke or bathroom related accidents or fast food spills to show for. Alright… those moms are either wildly delusional or maybe they just forget how easy it was to travel before they had kids. Or maybe they really do have easy stress free vacations… their bags pack themselves, they never forget anything, and all of their kids love car rides. Hmm… I’m betting they are stretching the truth, just a little.

This past weekend was our first camping trip of the season. And I realize that camping may require a little more planning than some other vacations, but regardless of the type of trips your family goes on, they all have their own unique challenges. I started the entire process of packing a week in advance. After multiple trips to the grocery store, a few meals pre-made and endless amounts of snacks packed, I THOUGHT I had the food situation under control. Then of course there was packing enough clothing for every possible thing that can go wrong while camping. I packed rain coats, winter jackets, mittens, snow pants, 5 pairs of shoes, 8 pairs of socks, and of course all the regular essential clothing for BOTH kids. I THOUGHT I had the clothing packed beyond perfection. I reminded my husband endless amounts of times to pack the bbq, the toys, the lawn chairs and everything that goes on his ‘list’ to pack. I THOUGHT I had remembered everything.

Jojo puddle

Jocelyn… in the puddle. Fun right?

So there we were, some of the first campers of the season. As we drove through the campground it seemed a bit wet to say the least. I wasn’t worried… I packed rain boots. I was prepared. We set up and started our usual ‘camping’ activities of riding bikes and hiking. Within an hour I had already changed three sets of shoes and socks. Apparently puddles and ponds were yelling ‘come jump in me’ louder than my ‘stay out of the water’ screams. By dinner time I only had two pairs of socks and crocs left for them to wear. Dinner time meant drying off in the trailer and having some bbq’d sausages. Hmm.. or did it? My dear husband remembered the bbq but forgot the propane. Did I mention that we’ve been camping since the kids were born and long before that. We were supposed to be experienced campers. After figuring out the dinner debacle, we had a great campfire and headed in for the night. Phew.. made it through day one. They better have some pretty freaking amazing memories logged in their little brains, because day one already kicked my butt.

James swinging

James… swinging in the swamp like park.

Day 2 and 3 rained… and then snowed and actually spewed ice pellets sideways at us. But the kids insisted that they were having fun. Everything was wet, I ran out of snacks, all meals got pan fried and I’m pretty sure I slept less and less as the nights went on. Just in case this wasn’t obvious,  marshmallows and jiffy pop don’t exactly set up flawless nights for children sleeping.

But now we are home. And I can say, that despite having eight or more loads of laundry to do and being tired beyond belief, I would do it all again… because my children have memories that will last them a lifetime. Let me rephrase that… we all have memories that will last a lifetime, I just hope no one remembers me losing it one or two times along the way.

To all the moms out there that work their butts off planning family vacations, you deserve a huge pat on the back. It is a tremendous amount of hard work to pull off trips that everyone will enjoy. It’s overwhelming at times trying to think of everyone’s needs and remember ALL the stuff that prepares us for the worst. And unless you are one of these mystical mothers who have family trips that just plan themselves, you probably feel more tired than when you left for your ‘so-called’ vacation. It’s okay. Hang in there. You are doing such a great job, and when your kids look back and remember all the memorable family vacations, you’ll appreciate all the work it took to get you there even more.


Family Vacations require a lot of freaking Hard Work — 5 Comments

  1. I so agree. I loved family vacations as a kid, but now that I’m a mom, I don’t like them all that much. I recently took my 3 kids on a plane trip to TX by myself. It was a feat of super powers, but I came home feeling like I had been beat up. Literally. I think as they get older it will get easier. At least, that’s what I’m hoping!

  2. We used to go camping for 2 weeks each summer when I was a kid, and I honestly don’t know how my folks did it…You really do have to try and plan for all kinds of weather, injuries, boredom, and illness. It’s funny, because I’m sure my Mom was stressed out planning these trips but I only remember the campfires, the bike rides and picnics at the beach. So, i guess it really is all worth it !

    • That’s what I keep telling myself. When I was a kid I was the ‘are we there yet?’ and ‘let’s go to the beach’ kid. I never gave my parents a break. I don’t ever remember them being stressed… just that I had fun. Thanks for chiming in!

  3. You are fearless Jan! The whole idea of camping and cold weather And all that work would scare me off J&J&J are all lucky to have you.

    • Fearless… no definitely not. Let’s be honest, I was totally scared to camp in the freezing cold with children, but at least now I know that it can be done!