Let’s be fair to all the mom’s out there. Whether you are a stay at home mom, working mom, stepmom, whatever your label, family vacations are really trips. Call them what they are: Trips. Albeit, family trips. When you leave the children and go somewhere with your spouse, that’s a vacation. For all the moms who simply hope for a few minutes each day of a trip when someone isn’t needing a snack, or a bathroom break, or a toy or a lovey, or a map, or a nap, or a DVD, or a change of clothes, or earbuds, or ear plugs, I applaud you! Mostly because I sure would love someone to applaud me. Selfish, maybe, but honest. Sure Technology Dad recognizes all I do, but he expects it, so he isn’t amazed when I pull off an incredible feat like monitoring the teenager’s texting and “selfies” while feeding the middle child to prevent a royal meltdown and taking the youngest on the 38th trip to the potty for the day on the quest for actual permanent training! I know you can relate.
I find great joy and excitement in planning for vacations, um trips! I revel in pouring over websites and maps and AAA Tour Guide books! I love figuring out what order to do things, how long we can stay in various locations, what our mode of travel will be, what educational item I can sneak in, what fits in our budget and what attraction will provide the “wow” factor for each family member. I feel a slight amount of control when I am able to determine these things, because, let’s face it, only on paper will the trip go as planned. But you know what, that’s okay. For me, it’s all about having a plan. Because when things go awry, a child gets sick or overwhelmed, another doesn’t sleep or eat, an attraction is closed, the weather is bad, all you have to do is look at the plan and move on to the next item! Or talk to a local and they’ll steer you in the right direction. It’s all good.
On the other hand, the last minute trips are much harder for me. You know the ones where Technology Dad says, “Hey, I’m taking Friday off, so let’s grab the kids and get out of Dodge for 3 days.” And he’s telling you this on Wednesday. WHAT?? It’s like 20 questions with me! Where do you want to go? How much money do we have to spend? Do you know what the weather will be like? What are you really wanting to do? How will the kids be entertained? Am I cancelling the outing I had planned on Friday? Can you get the oil changed in the car today? Do you have someone in mind to fill in as leaders for our church Connect Group? Do you have any packages you are expecting? Whew! I’m already exhausted and I’m just on a search for information and clarification at this point.
So you see, I don’t do spontaneity very well. I admit it. Maybe that will be my first step to recovery. But till then, you won’t see me hopping my family on a cruise ship for a 7 day vacation after booking my reservation only 48 hours in advance, even if the fare is dirt cheap. It’s too late to pull it together. So all you kids out there, give your moms a huge break and chip in when you can to make this summer’s trip more like a vacation. If you do, there might be few more of them to look forward to!
How do you turn a trip into a vacation? Do you like planning or being spontaneous?