On Friday afternoon my family returned home from a week at the beach in Lewes, Delaware. It was our "summer vacation" and involved all the typical trips to the beach, the park, the ice cream shop, back to the beach, back to the park, and back to the ice cream shop.
On Friday night, after recovering from the drive, catching up on a week of Facebook posts (I had been offline all week) and consuming a few glasses of wine, I managed to pull off an epic 12.5 hour sleep. I was THAT tired.
Don't get me wrong. I love getting out of DC, especially in muggy August. I love being on "vacation" and the sense of adventure I feel packing up our car and driving hours away from the safety and predictability of my home. I LOVE being by the ocean and listening to the sound of the peaceful waves.
I think it's important to change your routine every once in a while. And I think it's critical my kids see the "world" that we're able to access right now (eventually we'll get them to India, Australia and Europe, but for now this is about as much as we can pull off).
I can honestly say there were many awesome moments with my kids that have already become cherished memories.
My husband stayed back in DC working for the first part of our trip which meant I was the only one coordinating the kids lives for numerous days. My lovely girlfriend from NYC, her husband and their darling and extremely well behaved 7 month old daughter were brave enough to be sharing the house with us. I frequently felt lousy that my kids didn't seem to respect the fact that my friends were also trying to have a "family vacation."
When you rent a place instead of committing to an all-inclusive resort or cruise, you still need to plan and cook meals, do laundry, clean up, and think of things to entertain little people for about 14 hours a day. And while we were in a sweet beach town, there are only so many hours you can spend at the actual beach with a 5 and 3 year old.
The word "vacation" simply doesn't go hand in hand with "break" anymore. In fact, it is tougher than being home because you're out of your element and having to make due with the limited supplies and activities you drag along with you. By the time the kids are in bed and the adults are fed, the adults are too tired to relax because they need to try and clock 7 hours of sleep before the kids rise with the sun.
I must return to my original question: is it possible to go on "vacation" with children and not come back needing another vacation (without children)? If so, how do you make it happen? Please feel free to share your secrets and experiences with me!
And in case you're wondering, yes, I am planning on doing it all again next year.