And We Will Never, Ever Vacation Again

It’s all fun and cute games until Mommy doesn’t get enough sleep

Recently, my husband and I tried to be fun and took our kids to the beach for a week.  As it turned out, we are the antithesis of fun, and it quickly became apparent that beach vacationing may be out of our league.  FAR out of our league.

The whole messy business started with packing.  We were due to leave Saturday. On the Tuesday before, my husband started casually talking about getting things together for our trip. Naturally, I had a panic attack, poured myself a stiff drink, and tried to pretend that 4 days was actually scads of time.  Somehow Tuesday morphed into Friday night, I still had a drink in hand, and was debating the benefit of attempting to flee the country vs. pack my family for a week away.  If you have kids, you will get why this was a toss-up.

My husband packed up himself and most of the stuff for the kids in approximately five minutes.  He then told me to “just throw a few outfits for myself in the bag”.  I looked at him like he had three heads. He suggested I “just take one pair of jeans“. How had I married this creature??  Shoving down strong suspicions that he was mentally unbalanced when he implied that I didn’t need to pack any jewelry for the week, I cozied up to a long night with multiple suitcases, counting out diapers for the week, and packing excess ponchos in the event of a monsoon.  It was good times.

But hey, no worries.  Sleepless night of packing be darned, because a beach vacation was on the horizon.  Sleep, relaxation, and endless hours of novel-reading were awaiting me. Oh yeaaaaaaah….

Sad news: we have children.  Everyone had always warned me, “Vacationing with kids is not a vacation, it’s a trip.” And they were right. So right.  I will go eat crow for ever doubting them and then get right back to you…

To make it even more fun, our dog decided to get in on the destroy-vacation fun, and rocked a nasty stomach bug for the week that required us taking him out every 1-2 hrs. AROUND THE CLOCK FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK.  Oh yes, friends, it really was this sweet.

Toss in the fact that the beach house lacked the promised wi-fi (maybe a hidden blessing for this obsessive blogger??) and washer/dryer combo (new-found respect for Laura Ingalls hand-scrubbing the crap out of her clothes in the river–at least I had a bathtub), and it was a solid “I am never attempting vacation again”.

And then we found ourselves back at home, traumatized by the initial stress of packing, followed by a solid week of no sleep,  a sick doggie, and two kiddos who had the most of fun of their lives.  What’s that? ? Yeah, the kids kind of totally dug the sand, waves, ice cream nights and hanging out with their family for a whole week.

So you’ll excuse me while I go  troll around online to book our vacay for next year.  It was that awesome of a thing that I will never, ever do again…

About Meredith


  1. Stephanie J says:

    New-found respect for Laura Ingalls hand-scrubbing the crap out of her clothes in the river–at least I had a bathtub—-KILLED me! I loved her and wanted to be her until I realized how shizz really worked ’round those parts. Give me a dishwasher and WiFi and leave me be ;)

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  2. Oh sister, I’m totally with you! Right down to the dog having the shits- happens every time. I’ve since started scheduling dental surgery everytime my husband mentions a family vacation. All my teeth will be gold soon.

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  3. I love a family vacation, but the laundry. Oh, the laundry. In the pictures it appears we are wearing the same outfits the entire trip, but I still have twelve suitcases of laundry for a family of four.

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  4. I still am suffering from PTS from our vacation of five years ago!! But my kids talk about it all the time as the best time of their life!! Lol! Our first pediatrician told us that a trip with kids is a change of location, not a vacation. I never forgot those words!!! Glad your kids had fun and that you will do it all again next year! I think vacations are like having a baby, you forget the pain and only remember the good!

  5. We did a beach house huge family vacation last year with my in-laws. Yup, the kids here too had a blast, but I have been known to say I will never do that again and I mean it! Seriously, I too had so much anxiety packing ahead of time and by the time the “vacation’ hit I was ready for a nice stay in a padded room for a few days!! Could totally relate and so damn true!

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  6. We go to the beach nearly every single weekend in the summer, and also for a couple weeks as well (and crash at my parent’s house).. So basically, for an entire summer, I spend my weekends + not sleeping, battling the kids to bed (they never sleep well away from home), running around cleaning up every crumb, swimming, playing in the sand (cleaning up all the sand), packing to go to the beach, packing to go on the beach, packing to go to the pool, packing to go home, and rinse & repeat.

    But the kids love it…and you know what? After 8 years of doing this with 3 kids now, we finally STAYED ON THE BEACH LONGER THAN IT TOOK UP TO PACK UP, LOTION UP, and UNPACK. Sorry for the caps, I found that to be almost a milestone.

    Eventually, vacations will be fun again….or so I tell myself :)

  7. Heather says:

    Ha! Great. Now I know what is in store for me in 17 days when we go to the Grand Canyon for 2weeks with the littles. Aaahhhhh. Can I get a vacation from my vacation!?!

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  8. Yup – I remember family vacations being a blast when I was a kid, but now? As the Mom? I’d rather chew on trail mix made of tree bark and shattered windshield glass.

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  9. Darcy Perdu says:

    great recap — very funny! I only have 2 kids and vacationing is a blast for them and a challenge for me — it gives me even MORE respect for my Mom who shlepped all 5 of us kids hither and yon for amazing vacations that probably tested her sanity!

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  10. Courtney says:

    We have only vacationed by visiting people, that way, we get what we need. I applaud anyone who tries to truly get away until their kids are 6. My goal is to take the kids on a real trip this year, but I think I will avoid anything less than a five star hotel! :-) Of course, it only takes 3 weeks of your life. A week to pack, be there, and then at least a week or two to put it all away

  11. Chris Carter says:

    YUP. Sounds like the perfect TRIP to me!!!! Oh dear… I could just picture it ALL!!! But the KIDS had a blast and that’s all that counts right? (NO. Not RIGHT at all.)

    Where ya headin’ next year?? I dream of those cruises that take the kids off your hands for basically the entire time. Sound good? ;)

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  12. Dani Ryan says:

    Having just gotten myself through packing and unpacking for a 4-day beach vacation while rocking a nice case of laryngitis, I can totally relate to this! A friend once told me that if you have kids, going away is no longer considered a vacation…it’s considered a change in scenery. HA!

    I applaud you for making it a full week with no wifi. My husband and I wouldn’t have lasted a day!!! ;)

  13. AnnMarie says:

    I do the exact same thing when it comes to packing for the kids. I hate it so I put it off. It’s so funny how it’s usually at that time that I think to organize closets or clean out the air vents (okay…I’ve never actually cleaned and air vent but suddenly when I have to pack, I want to). I love that it’s not a vacation line, it’s a trip. A wild, stressful, mind-numbing trip. So happy to see one of your dreams coming true, my friend. You deserve it!

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  14. Shay says:

    I always say that we need a vacation the day we get back from taking the kids on vacation. It’s tough!!

  15. Jean says:

    Our last vacation was to my dad’s condo where we had all the supplies we could need. This fall, we’re going to be staying in hotels. I am terrified it will be 10 days of nothing but what you described.

  16. Jennifer Stewart says:

    You really do get used to all the packing. And the dog won’t always be sick. Try again next year. : )

  17. Wow, the sick dog really threw it over the edge. Wow. Ew. And wow.

    I can remember the exact moment I was once again able to read a book on the beach. Do you want me to make you cry by telling you how old my youngest was when I did that? ;) Ellen

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  18. This sounds EXACTLY like my “vacation” experiences with kids! Minus the dog, because I haven’t quite bowed to the pressure of getting a canine yet.

    I am always packing the night before we leave since I was in denial all week about how much I actually would have to pack! And OMG, if we had no washer/dryer for a week? Jaysus, I’d pack us right up and go back home. That’s just not doable for this mama.

    Great post!!!

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  19. nikki says:

    We went to the beach last year. Worst. Vacation. Ever. I’m with ya sister!


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  20. Toulouse says:

    We did this a year ago and it was SO not a vacation. All the books and magazines I packed came back in their same lonely condition. It took me two weeks to recover from my “vacation.”

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  21. Adrienne says:

    This is timely! We about to take our first family road trip in over FIVE years! Yes, 5 years. After the last vacation, I swore I’d never vacation again. LOL! Here we go…

  22. Michelle says:

    I can so relate! Thanks for your honesty!


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