Friday, August 5, 2011

Top Ten Ways To Manage Your Family Vacation

 It's August.  That means pretty much everyone will be going on some kind of family trip.  Lydia will not be going anywhere as she and the Cap'n are going to (MAUDE WILLING) be closing on a house in September and therefore must eat rice and beans and stay home.

But everyone else goes to the beach or the lake or to see family and has good times. Good times. Noodle salad.  Name the movie quote.  But when you travel with kids, it gets complicated.  And the trip you need to relax and unwind becomes something of stress-fest.  That's normal.  Here are our tips to manage that stress and maximize your chances of having fun.

10. We've said it before and we'll say it again. For the SAHM, going somewhere else with the children is just work someplace else. Yes, we may be in Maui, but I've unwittingly brought my office and my bosses with me. Oh, and factor in that you're channeling your inner Clark Griswold and I have none of the luxuries like Wii, the backyard or a refrigerator in our hotel room, and now the children are using the bed as a trampoline and whaddaya mean there's no MiniBar in our room? Breeeeeeaaatheeeeeee.....

9. Lower your expectations. Unless you and your family are actually fictional TV characters from a late 80's sitcom, at some point - your kids are going to act like turds and you're going to lose your schmidt. And that's OK.


8. Don't forget the Benadryl.

7. Don't forget to feed the howler monkeys every two hours. It seems impossible but they eat more on vacation.  If you miss a feeding, they may get cranky.

6. If you have a child that naps, volunteer to be the person who takes one for the team.  Yes, you have to leave the beach or miss out on that game of mini-golf and take a tired, whiny kid back to the hotel or wherever - but guess what? You also get an hour to yourself with a sleeping (and therefore quiet and lovable child) where you can do something crazy on vacation - relax.

5. Eight minutes after my kids got into the rental car, it looked -- and smelled -- exactly like Lydia's Big White Ford Tampon.  When they get that thing back and remove all those rented car seats, there's a better than decent chance they'll find a half-filled bottle of what used to be milk, seven pacifiers, twenty-nine crayons (since we only have seven now from what was a box of 36) a school of goldfish and an adhesive made of food. For all we know, there's also a family of elves, some random appendages and teeth, and whatever they stole off the walls from TGIFridays the other night. Or they might just save themselves the trouble and horror, and drive the damn thing off a cliff. At a minimum they're going to have to replace the carpet. Our advice? Be prepared to lose some of that security deposit.

5. Pack booze.

4. Is there a free breakfast where you're staying?  Oh even yesser.  Take advantage of that shit.  When has a vacation ever cost less than you thought?

3. One infrequently mentioned truth about vacationing with your family is that you will probably all have to share one toilet.  And several times a day, people will have to use it urgently and for pooping and at the same time.  Sometimes, families who vacation together seem to go into a shared cycle I call "Poop Alignment".  And you, the Mommy, will have to decide who goes first and who has to go in there next. Which leads to our next suggestion...

2. Bring Febreze.

1. Wherever you're going, it will not be kid-proof.  Do a sweep, remove the objects that can kill, be used to create Molotov cocktails and/or cost a fortune. Then remain vigilant. Sleep with one eye open. It is a vacation, after all.



(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

40 comments:

  1. I have just printed this to post on my fridge and will proceed to forward it on to every single mommy I know. Seriously. Friggin fantastic!!

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  2. I'm actually reading this while on vacation! Actually, I've stopped using the word "vacation" and now use the word "trip" because there's no such thing as a vacation with children. What we have now is me trying to get three other people (whose tickets I've purchased), four pieces of luggage (all of which I've packed), two car seats and a stroller through the International Airport, onto a plane, then into a rental car in a strange city without losing anyone, anything or my schmidt. And then do it all in reverse on the way home.

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  3. As Good As It Gets! Good one, Kate. Way more obscure than 16 Candles. I will be using this quote often when we go to the beach in a few weeks and my kids are acting like total turd-buckets.

    My husband heard me laughing at this post and he was all, "What's so funny in Mommyland today?' And I looked him square in the eye and said, "Poop alignment." He nodded like he understood. And then he backed away slowly.

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  4. Movie quote is from As Good As It Gets, right?!

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  5. 11. Pack more booze than you thought you would need. You don't want to run out of a day of, "Can I have this? Can we do that? I don't like that. This tastes funny. I'm bored. Are we there yet?" Extra booze helps liquidate these occasions.

    Julie
    ilikebeerandbabies.blogspot.com

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  6. How did you know I am leaving on my "not a vacation because they all come with me" tomorrow??

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  7. I always say, "Good times. Noodle salad," and no one EVER gets the reference! Thank you, Jack Nicholson, and thank you, Kate.

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  8. As my wise mommy friend Genevieve always used to say about family travel - It's not Vacation, it's Relocation.

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  9. As a single mom who recently took my two dependents camping, I will say that for me it was a relocation of work place and job description. At the end of the week, sleeping in a tent in 98 degree weather (and that was at 10 am), they inform me... You can pack up yourself right, after all, you are well rested now... PFFT

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  10. Vacation, what's that? We started school 4 days ago. Our summer break was only 8 weeks.

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  11. you're supposed to take them WITH you?!

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  12. I was up til 1:30am this morning packing and loading the van for our five day jaunt. I am printing this and laminating it and putting it in my suitcase. Why do they have to come with us? I swear that next year for mother's day I want a weekend at a hotel ALONE. I say we all rally for it. Could you imagine a hotel full of mommies with no kids? At least the bar would be busy!

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  13. LOL at the photo caption off the boy who can eat lunch and pee at the same time. My cousin's 5 year old son just told us the same thing last week!!!

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  14. Omg. This is the most fantastic thing I've ever read. .. I thought my toddler was the only one who made an adhesive out of food. Thank you.

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  15. you hit on the one thing that strikes me as least relaxing about vacation: no place in this world is set up for my children the way my home is! my MIL wants to rent (demands to rent?) a beautiful home in MY city this year for thanksgiving, and she wants us all to stay there with her. really? why would i leave my house with it's familiar, comfortable, childproof (everything is already broken) environment to come to an expensive art museum with no toys, no latches on the doors, no baby gates and no way for me to get away from my MIL??? crazy.

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  16. #6 was spot on! I once offered to skip mini-golf to put the baby down for her nap and got TWO WHOLE HOURS all to myself! But I had to tell my husband that I was on the verge of losing it and yes, he has to go with them too because if he stays behind he wrecks my "Me" time!

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  17. All summer, we got THE question: where are you going on vacation? My kids are 3 and 1 and I have NO desire to go on a week-long "vacation"! It takes a whole day to pack for a weekend, and then they are cranky by Saturday because they are already off their sleep and eat schedules. No thank you. We'll go to the parks and pools at home. (People always say they go to Disney and their kids just want to hang out at the hotel pool.)
    One tip though for all the crazy vacation go-ers: my mom always made us wear funny hats and costume items while we were packing. It was supposed to make us laugh instead of screaming at each other (i.e. attempt to keep her from screaming at us and Dad--haha). It worked about half the time, so I'd call that a success!

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  18. Yeah, I just went on "vacation" last week. And then wrote a post about it that's going up next week. Because "vacation" is really code for "break out the straight jacket" when you're a mommy.

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  19. #8, Benadryl....lots and lots of Benadryl! Leavin on Monday with my 2 LTS and boyfriend and have already reminded him that I need to pick up the single serve spoons of Benadryl. I never fly without it! My kids asked me last time we flew why they had to take it (while we were sitting at the gate) I told them "Because I don't want you to be allergic to the plane!"

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  20. In Disney now. 4 year old loves characters. 6 year old is terrified of characters 7 year old wants to play video games. I want a drink

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  21. When we just had the one we took him to Hawaii and he was only 13 months, so still napping like a champ. Add in all morning in the pool and that sucker lasted a full 4 hours. Dh had already gotten to play golf, and had actually worked half the time. So one day I looked at him and said, "this is my vacation too, I'm heading to the pool. Call me when he wakes up." I sat down there blissfully for 3.5 hrs and didn't pay any attention to screaming kids (they weren't mine) and drank beer. Ahhhhhhh. It was one of the best 3.5 hrs of vacation ever.

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  22. We're going over to my in-laws for a week in a week. I get to pack everyone up, make sure they have all their "precious things" and ensure my husband packs appropriate electronics for the 3 hour sit in the car/ferry ride. The only good thing is that my in-laws adore my kids and don't get to see them that often so they will usually entertain them and my husband and I will probably get one date night out of it. Some vacation. But my husband will not be at work and I guess that is what counts. ;)

    One of my friends went to one of those Sesame Street islands with her 2 and 4 y.o. and she said it was fabulous. They took the children away in the morning and returned them for meals. Most relaxing time she'd had in YEARS.

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  23. Haha on the poop thing. I live in a big ol' 4 bedroom house with 1 bathroom, so this is our daily life. It never fails that when I am in there my kids start screaming that they are going to wet themselves. So, yes, I have actually been on the toilet with the post-vodka shits while one kids peed in the sink and another peed in the shower. Also known as the day my soul shriveled into a raisin.

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  24. ape2016, I have no words. I am still laughing too hard.

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  25. Why can't I find moms like all of you where I live? Completely unfair!

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  26. "an adhesive made of food" is a perfect description. Thanks!

    Last summer we went to a cottage my FIL rented. It was supposed to be an 8 hour drive but became a 12 hour drive because I forgot to drug the 3 year old. I completely lost my shmidt in parking lot at the halfway point because I had to change the baby on the trunk and the dang change pad kept blowing away. I had the baby over my shoulder and the diaper bag in the other hand and I just SCREAMED into the air. Some dude walked by and was smart enough to make no eye contact and keep walking ;D We're going again this year but this time, Gravol for eveyone!

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  27. I just had a fabulous "vacation" at home. My in-laws took the kids for 2 weeks and I got to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted BY MYSELF!!
    I recommend this type of vacation to every mother!

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  28. Yes the sesame street vacation! At Beaches! It may cost you half of their collage fund but they really do take your kids from 8:00am-7:00pm FOR FREE, plus you can't walk 20 feet without hitting a fully stocked bar or snack food YUM!

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  29. Just got back from vacation that sounds eerily similar to what you've just described. I wasn't a drinker before, but I sure as hell turned into one once we got there!!

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  30. I am having a hairdressers appointment tomorrow and I am hoping for the chatty hairdresser cause that means I will be there for at least 2,5 hrs - That's my vacation :)
    Sylvi

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  31. Been there, done all of that. Many times. I highly recommend you save your money and totally splurge on this:

    http://www.tylerplace.com/

    When I first heard about it, I thought it was too good to be true. Let me just say it is worth.every.penny. Best vacation ever! 8 hours of child care included every day. All meals eaten in an adults only dining room. And the kids worn out completely by all the fun activities they do all day.

    And hammocks scattered around the property. Seriously awesome. But yeah, you might have to choose between this and college....

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  32. I actually get 2 vacations this summer. One set of grandparents gets the boy this weekend and the other set gets him next weekend. Top it all off the hubs is working both weekends. For a short while I will be in heaven.

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  33. We took two major cross-country vacations in one year. Because our families made us. We spent thousands of dollars to get even less sleep than normal, deal with cranky kids getting less sleep than normal, share a bathroom with several other families (therefore were less clean than normal), and didn't really have any food readily available that was "kid friendly." Of course the baby got sick with ear infections... both times. It was awful. And barely enjoyable. I drank heavily and sat inside an air conditioned condo during both beach vacations with a heat-rashed, ear infected, non-sleeping cranky little munchkin. SUCKVILLE. Don't kid yourself. Unless you have a nanny, or go to a magical resort where they take the kids away from you for the ENTIRE DAY (!!) then vacation is a total joke and a waste!

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  34. I think you need to add #11: LAUNDRY. It deserves it's own bullet-point. Randy ALWAYS tags along on our family vacations, and yet is still able to eff up our laundry room at home while we're away!

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  35. Staycation this yr. I spent my time cleaning up vomit and uncontrollable runs. And yes, my husband and I got it too. And YES, I did have to clean up after us ALL. AND YES, I AM FREAKING ABOUT TO CLIMB THESE SCRIBBLED WALLS IF I DON'T GET A DAY OR WEEK TO MY TIRED CRAZY LOOKING SELF!!!!!!!!!!

    When every sentence I say to my husband ends in, "Or I'll claw your freaking eyes out," IT'S TIME FOR A MOMMY BLOCK (span of time where I am alone and pretend all this was a real long dream I just had after eating a bad taco).

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  36. Amen, sisters. #10 is it in a nutshell. I often say that traveling with our kid is like taking the circus on the road. Same show, different location.

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  37. read this late b/c I was on "vacation" myself when it was posted... however since my sister started working 3rd shift and I started babysitting her 3 kids overnight when she's working I ended up with 4 kids camping with just me and my mom trying to herd them around in a brand new (to us) pop up camper we've never taken out before... oh and did I mention that one is potty training, and of course we got moved farther away from the regular bathrooms that he might actually use? oh even better is that it rained when we got to the beach and then again down poured as we were trying to put away the camper... yup there were a few melt downs.. and sadly most of them were mine.... sigh... now to unpack.... yikes...

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  38. Maude, beer me strenght. We leave Monday.

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