How do you know when vacations stop being vacations? When you have kids. I think any parent can agree that the days of going on vacation are long gone. What I mean by ‘long gone’ is, instead of the leisurely days of sleeping in, sunbathing and adult beverage consumption, when you vacation with your kids, it’s just your every day life, picked up and moved to a different location.
When ever I tell people we are taking the kids away, they always end with, “Have a great vacation!”. I smile, thank them and then die a little inside. I remember what a childless vacation was all about – escaping from your everyday life, no cooking, no bedtime, just a whole lot of doing what ever the hell you want. Now, we do get away with out the kids every so often thanks the grandparents, but “The Good Old Days” (as my parents kindly referred to it) are gone. Now that we are traveling with kids, those escapes have turned into what can only be described as a business trip.
Sure, business trips have their moments. You may be sent to a really nice city, one that you haven’t had the likes of seeing yet. You will probably take a decent flight that will get you there with no layovers. You will most likely enjoy a nice meal or two, you even may be able to steal a few hours to explore said city. But then there are meetings, projects, events, networking, etc. that you have to attend. You have to put on a happy face then reluctantly have to squeeze in some time to do actual work. At first it seems like a nice little getaway from reality but really, it’s just like your normal every day life, in a new city, in a tiny hotel room with no mini bar and a lumpy mattress.
And that my friends is where we begin to teeter the gray line of “Family Vacation” and “Business Trip”.
Family vacations seem like the best idea. But we quickly forget that we still have to take care of our young children. Family vacations are all about work, just like your business trips. There is still a schedule to somewhat keep, nap times to abide by, lunches, snacks, dinners – oh Lord, the dinners! Nothing worse than taking a cranky toddler out to dinner and expect them to chill for 2 hours while you enjoy the scenery and a few cocktails. The only thing is, you can’t escape off to a hotel room to veg for a minute and watch terrible cable. You have to set up a pop-up nursery in that already tiny-ass hotel room. Heaven’s forbid you forget to pack the sheets for the damn Pack-n-Play! The hotel room stays neat and tidy for a total of 3 minutes, the amount of time it takes you to get all the luggage and baby equipment in.
I may sound like a Debbie Downer, totally ungrateful for everything I have but vacations are supposed to be just that – VACATIONS! I know, I know, we are supposed to be making memories and enjoy time with our kids and we do just that. But it’s exhausting, we usually need a vacation from the
business trip family vacation to unwind! I am sure they do get better as the kids get older, just like a business trip does get more tollerable the more you go on them and higher up you get in your company but until then, they are just plain old business trips if you ask me. Only I don’t have someone taking care of all my travel arrangements and footing the bill, I am the one planning AND paying for them. So this only reminds me that I either need to A. Suck it up and be grateful I can even go on buisness trips family vacations or B. Hire a damn assistant – slash – babysitter – slash – sugar daddy.