Culture

5 Reasons You Feel Like You Need a Vacation After Your Family Vacation

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We are leaving tomorrow at the crack of dawn for 7 days of wonderful, relaxing family fun on a river in Michigan somewhere. We are staying in a lovely log cabin and we are going to spend our days basking in the sun, catching fish, and listening to our children’s laughter as they hold hands and skip rocks. At night we will sit around a fire and make popcorn and sing camp songs and bond. No one will have an iPhone or a Kindle and our one week of the year we spend away together will make all the toil of the rest of the year a distant memory as we enjoy one another on the shores of a riverbank that dreams are made of.

Yeah, right. Here are 5 reasons that won’t be happening:

5. Packing is hard work.

It’s 11:45pm the night before the trip and Mr. Fox is stalking through the house and to the car, over and over again, with thunder in his eyes because we miscalculated the size of our minivan versus the size of two coolers, four suitcases, a badminton set (because who doesn’t need one of those when camping?) dual DVD players, fishing gear, baby seat, diaper bag, linens, towels, floaties, beach towels, tent, toy bags, and a week’s worth of groceries. We thought we were being super smart by doing our grocery shopping before we got to our destination, saving the extensive Walmart trip once we arrived, but we hadn’t considered there’s simply no room with all the other stuff. It’s still up in the air what’s getting left behind, but it better not be the tequila. And don’t forget all the unpacking! We have to set up the house when we get there and then pack it all up again to leave and unpack again when we get home. 50% of this trip is spent packing and unpacking! We’re only on the first leg of a 4-step packing process and I’m already exhausted.

4. Why must we be up with the rooster?

We leave at 7 a.m. Normally, this is the time of morning I studiously avoid, but we’re on vacation here. This is no time for sleeping. Oh no! We must be up and out the door with two half-asleep kids and a cranky baby with no breakfast at 7 a.m. — sharp. Thirty minutes into the trip someone is going to have to pee and I will spend 15 minutes trying to locate that child’s left shoe under the toy bags, 2 pillows, four blankets, and copious snacks. Exactly 30 minutes later the other child, who refused to pee at the last stop because she “didn’t have to go” will be begging to stop because she’s going to have an accident. I will again spend 15 minutes of that stop searching for a shoe. Once we are back on the road, the baby will wake up and begin to scream because we stopped too many times and he hates car seats. This scenario will repeat every hour for 8 hours. Let the fun commence!

3. Everyone will not get along.

Parents have high expectations for vacations because, let’s face it, vacations pre-children were pretty awesome. No matter where you went or what you did, there were long walks and beer at sunset, dancing or drinks on the beach, long uninterrupted nights of sleep, party boats and no one screaming at you because you didn’t listen to them tell you their side of the story for the third time, ten decibels louder. We carry these expectations into parenting and when we take our children on vacation we expect them to take a break from all their crap. They never do. This one found a purple rock and the other one didn’t and you will hear about it for the rest of your life. Kids simply don’t care that they’re ruining your vacation. They just do it. And yet, we keep taking them on vacation with us.

2. The fish will not bite.

There was that one time the perfect fish came along and everyone was ecstatic. We fried it, we ate it, there are photos on Instagram. That moment never happened again. We’ve been trying to recreate that one moment for the last three years. If there is no fish to fry this time, I’m going to request we give up this fish quest. It seems never ending and easier to just purchase fish.

1. We have a baby.

Nothing is relaxing about having a baby around. We love him dearly. He’s adorable, but he eats dirt and hairballs. I can’t even imagine what I’m going to be pulling out of his mouth up at the rustic cabin in the middle of the North Woods. I’m having a panic attack just thinking about it. And mosquitos and West Nile and sunburn and 8 million other things I’m going to be running around trying to avoid to make sure he survives this trip! The first two years of a baby’s life are solely focused on making sure they don’t die. Now add a river, motorboats, fish hooks, bears, target shooting, campfires, BB-guns and this mama isn’t going to sit down unless that child is asleep in a secure location.

Next year the mister and I need to seriously consider a new vacation tradition, where we go sleep for a week on a beach in Mexico and our kids stay home with Nanna. That’s a lovely dream, but I have to go to bed now because I’m leaving in 5 hours for the North Woods in a van full of crazy people.