There is no greater surprise in the world than the realization in adulthood that vacations are SUPER STRESSFUL. At least when you have a family. I’ve taken a few short vacations on my own and THEY ARE PERFECTLY LOVELY. They are the picture-book image of what vacations should be: Equal parts fun and relaxing.
FAMILY VACATIONS ARE NOT QUITE LIKE THAT.
There’s so much to think about when you’re organizing a holiday. Not only do you have to plan the holiday but you also have to worry about what’s going on at home while you’re away! If you’ve got pets you need to make sure they’re cared for, if you don’t have wireless home alarms then you need to ask your friends to check in on your house, so much to think about!
Now. It’s still worth it, obviously. I love a good vacation. Harry Potter World was amazing last year and I still sometimes sink into a tiny depression over missing it. This year? Denver and Breckenridge to visit my brother and his family. And I am SOOOOO looking forward to it. BUT OH MY GOD, SO MANY THINGS TO STRESS OUT ABOUT.
First? The weather.
Let me just say that when I wake up here in Alabama? We are already at the “HIGH” for the day. So there are no winter clothes anywhere within reach in our house. But those lows in the 40s mean we need to be packed for “chilly” and “warm”. And I say “we” because I’ll back for the two little kids. Then there’s the activities we’ll be taking part of outside – so we’ll need to be prepared for all of the above. AND THIS STRESSES ME OUT.
Then there’s the prep for leaving the house. I don’t want to leave anything behind to be wasted because WE DO NOT WASTE FOOD IN THIS HOUSE. So I have to plan meals accordingly. Oh – look – we have a bunch of mushrooms leftover from stir-fry night. GOING IN THE LUNCH BOXES! Hmmm…not going to finish the juice…WHO NEEDS CREAMER FOR COFFEE WHEN WE HAVE JUICE!
And the house MUST be mostly clean. For two reasons. 1) Because I don’t want to come home to a mess to clean up. and 2) Because I don’t want the people who are helping with our house and pets to think we’re more disgusting than I admit we are. I never profess to keep an immaculate house, so it’s not at that level, but the beds are made and the counters are clean.
The stress of packing doesn’t have only to do with clothing, but also other things we might need. Chargers, technology, screens, books, art, things to do on the plane, things to do in the car, snacks, and cosmetics. Now, we will grocery shop so we can get a lot of stuff there, but we need to prep for the drive to Nashville, the flight to Denver, and the drive to Breckenridge all before we do a grocery stop.
And then I’m super-worried about my kid’s behavior. We’re visiting family we only see ever 2’ish years. WE MUST MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION. And oh my GOD, that’s a hard thing when you’re living with someone for a whole week. Wesley is certain to tell me he hates me at some point in time and THAT STRESSES ME OUT. Of course my family is realistic and know we’re not perfect, and they love us either way, BUT STILL. Please tell me I’m not the only person who completely stressed out about my kid’s behavior when visiting family. I think it’s because I still have memories of family discussing the ill-behaved kids at family gatherings and I don’t want that to be my kid!
(Also – I feel like going back in time and defending the parents of those ill-behaved kids. I’d get in a time machine and say, “GIVE THEM A BREAK. THEY ARE DOING THEIR BEST.”)
So, all of this has me not sleeping. And that’s okay because I know once we get there? It will be heavenly. Because even though I’ll be stressed about whether we packed the right things, and if my kids are behaving, I’ll still be on vacation and I can’t stress about the million of things at home that I stress about every day. Nope. Those things won’t be there. So, no matter what, I’m going to feel rejuvenated in the mountains of Colorado.
Bring it on!
8 thoughts on “VACATION! (Ugg.)”
A few thoughts – first, I totally get stressed when we are spending more than a few hours with family, not so much about my kids behavior, although I can be sure they’ll point it out if anything is slightly bad, but more about my own interactions. So no advice there, just understanding. My in laws said for years that my Wesley was wild, because at age 2 he was very tired and had a tantrum in front of them (one of very few he had, luckily for us.) For packing, layers work really well, so you don’t need too much, just plan to wear all of it if you are out in the early morning and not running. If you aren’t out in the early morning, the dry air warms up pretty quickly. Also, rain in Colorado is usually quite brief, and often doesn’t really get people wet. Andy’s brother calls it “dry rain”. I’m discovering just how few clothes one can survive with on my work trip. Day 3 and no sign of my bag! Pack your essentials in carry-ons!
I thought of you this week as my husband and I are on vacation on Grand Cayman, where they drive on the “wrong” side of the road! You would be in left turn heaven! I am a mess and just keep repeating to my husband, “look right, drive left”.
Your kids are old enough to at least gather their technology essentials for you to then pack. If you’re visiting family I assume they’ll let you do some laundry so don’t worry if you don’t pack enough. I used to stress about it until I realized that we could always buy whatever we forgot if we had to.
I just heard a great tip if you’re traveling by air – pack one of your outfits in your husband’s suitcase (and he does the same) in case a piece of luggage is lost.
Have a wonderful time – if you’re calm and collected, the kids will be, too.
I totally sympathize! We will actually be in Breck for the 4th of July and are staying with a friend of the family. I’m hoping I can stave off my 3-year-old’s tantrums with the excitement of being somewhere new. He usually goes to bed at 7, so staying up 3 hours past bedtime to watch super loud fireworks should be completely fine, right? If I see you, I’ll come in for a solidarity fist bump 😉
That’s when we’re going! We’re going to be in the parade with my brother’s family! Will you be at the parade?
That’s the plan! I’m excited; I haven’t seen fireworks in years. I think there’s a strong possibility my husband will end up taking the little one home before it all starts up. Fingers crossed for a miraculous turn of events.
Yay! Bring it on to Colorado. I can promise the following:
– at least 10 meltdowns (I bet a 50/50 split between families)
– two unprepared-for-rain-storms
– at least 4 of us will get sunburned (me and your family – Lisa is always tan)
– “It’s only 80 degrees, it feels 100” = altitude + dry air
– too much candy! Two grandma’s? we are screwed!
– anxiety attacks driving through the mountains. Especially if you are in the Jeep
– Plenty of catching up!
– Plenty of memories!
– 100% family!
– 200% gratitude for coming all this way!!
– an unforgettable reunion!!
I fully agree- enlist the help of your kids to get all their items together. Harness the power of Nikki’s planning/org skills- I bet she would love being included in making the family vacation super awesome!!
And have an amazing time! Don’t let a forgotten raincoat ‘dampen’ (couldn’t resist!) your joy and reunion in CO
Awwww! What a sweet brother!
Have a great time guys!!