With young kids, is it a “vacation” or is it a job-relocation?

The Wired Momma family is moving next week….just a few miles down the road…but I still have to pack up my entire house and well, get us organized….so please bear with me these next few weeks and know that I’d rather be blogging than say – packing…..so until I have more time…I am bringing you my post from last year after we returned from our family “vacation” in August. In case you  haven’t taken your “vacation” yet this summer…I bring you this…and ask you a deep question: Is it vacation or is it job re-location? You tell me….

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“Mommeeeee…..Mommmmeeeeeeeeeee….I can’t find lion!” whines the voice in my ear. I am dazed. I am confused. I slowly pry each eye open. They are glued shut.

3:54AM reads the time on the clock.

“Mommeeee…..Mommeeeee…..I can’t find the lion” whines the voice again, this time shaking my shoulders.

My mind is starting to wake up. Is this really vacation? I wonder. Who decided that we should have 3 time zones in this country? And did they ever have children when they decided that would be a good idea? Can I meet with them? I could convince them real fast in my exhausted, enraged, mommy maniacal moment that we’re all good with just one time zone, farmers, that includes you.

In my daughter’s defense, she technically slept 24 minutes later than she normally does, if we were still on the east coast. But we’re in California and 3:54AM as a wake-up time for the day is cruel and unusual punishment.

And then, before I have a chance to intercept the inevitable, her whining for the dumb lion awakens her little 2-year-old sister and then all bets are off.

Our vacation day #2 begins at 3:54AM.

The day before it at least didn’t start until 4AM. Why are we regressing?

I threaten and coax and beg and plead but they will not go back to sleep….and I can’t get coffee anywhere for another 2 miserable hours.

Ahh…..vacation.

Just in case you thought that absurd start to the day was the lowest point of our day, think again, that arguably happened when my husband started projectile vomiting down the hall of our nice hotel because he couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough.

Ahh….vacation.

One wonders….when children are involved….is there such thing as vacation? Does it skew our expectations and set us up for disappointment and further frustration when we even label it vacation? Is it fair to actually call it vacation? My friend says it’s not vacation, it’s just job re-location.

I can work with that. I went on a 10 day job re-location and shoved a good time down my kid’s throat while we bled money, what did you do this summer? Surely someone somewhere makes a t-shirt and postcard with that slogan.

Exhibit A...one whining, one feeling sick, one just headed in another direction

Is it worth it? The almost 6 hour plane ride solo with 2 kids should have given me some foresight into the rest of my time relocating my job.

As I lounged by the pool while sick husband and incredibly exhausted jet lagged children napped, I did soak in the beauty of the mountains around me and breathed out my anger at time changes, early wake ups, puking husbands (who constantly fail to use hand sanitizer and then wonder why they get sick) and thought of George Castanza.

Remember SERENITY NOW (I insist that you watch that clip)?

Ahh…yes…..SERENITY NOW suddenly became my vacation, oh sorry, job-relocation mantra. In those dark moments when I am threatening to call Santa if they don’t just stand for one second and smile and fake like they are having a good time so I can capture that special moment on camera for the rest of time, SERENITY NOW is what I am thinking…..

In those moments, I would look around, and swear I was trapped behind some sort of looking-glass because it seemed that all around me were sweet young children lapping up the good times with their parents, behaving perfectly, and enjoying their time away from home. While mine were grumpy and whining and wanting to just go back to the hotel and color and pout. Who were these families with such perfectly behaved children? What was I doing wrong?

So next year, as I naively and gleefully start planning next summer’s job re-location, I’ll need to think back on the reality of what traveling with young children really is….and then I guarantee I’ll convince myself that they are each a full year older and they are better suited for travel, and more adaptable, and better prepared for long plane rides and days touring around new cities because how could I not have birthed children who crave adventure and excitement?

Uh huh.

SERENITY NOW.

6 Responses to With young kids, is it a “vacation” or is it a job-relocation?
  1. No Drama Momma
    August 17, 2011 | 1:46 am

    LOL! Love the phrase “job relocation”–it suits a parent’s view of “vacation” perfectly.

  2. Bridget
    August 20, 2011 | 4:20 pm

    “In those moments, I would look around, and swear I was trapped behind some sort of looking-glass because it seemed that all around me were sweet young children lapping up the good times with their parents, behaving perfectly, and enjoying their time away from home. While mine were grumpy and whining and wanting to just go back to the hotel and color and pout. Who were these families with such perfectly behaved children? What was I doing wrong?”

    I have this thought virtually every time I go on vacation with my kids. The only truly fun/relaxing vacation I’ve had in the last 5 years was San Diego last month – when we left the kids with my parents!

    People always wonder why I turn down a lot of invites to do things with the kids…because it’s usually tons of work, and not much fun. For me, or the kids.

    Monica, you are not alone!!

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  4. esra krause
    August 24, 2012 | 2:04 pm

    OMG Monica, this is a description of our vacations! This year’s Tuscany trip made me happy to return to work this week. We don’t learn our lesson and craft an even more elaborate vacation the next year, maybe because we so badly want to travel ourselves! The beach it is from now until the youngest one is 5! It’s officially decided… maybe, ask me again next year!

  5. Monica Sakala
    August 29, 2012 | 12:54 pm

    Esra –
    Right? isn’t it maddening to bleed money and shove a good time down everyone’s throats?? So this summer we stuck closer to home and just went to the beach – though a bit further than usual because we went to the Outer Banks. Also, the girls were a year older – so it was actually closer to a vacation than dealing with long flights and time changes. We’ll forget all of it by next summer…

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