Vacations with your kids are more stressful than work?

9 Jun

A poll on Work It Mom finds that 65% of working parents find a one-week vacation with kids is more stressful than their full-time job.  I have to say that for me, there is no way a one-week vacation is more stressful than the juggling that comes with working full time AND being a full-time parent.  When I get home from the office, I have a million things to do, both at work and at home.  The is no rest for the weary at my house during a normal work week.  My husband and I strategically schedule our work time to minimize the hours the kids are without us.  We also try to rush around during lunch doing errands — so we don’t have to do them with the kids.  And when I get home from work at 4:45 every day, I juggle hanging out with the kids, learning about their day, and trying to pull together some semblance of a healthy dinner with the meager supplies we seem to have at any given time.  I feel like aside from the 1 hour I may get in the evening to actually relax, and the 6-7 hours I get of sleep at night, during my regular work week I am ON 24/7.

Playing on the beach

Playing on the beach

I will grant people that being with the kids on vacation for a full week is tiring.  The last vacation we took as a family also involved extended family, DisneyWorld, and the beach.  It was exhausting.  The kids went non-stop the whole time.  But it was NOT stressful.  It was actually great to wake-up and have 6 full days, to plan the day, and do everything the kids wanted to do — some of which included things my husband and I wanted to do.  What could be more fun than having the time to actually spend with the kids, rather than feeling like I am multi-tasking 100% of my waking time.  Of course, a 5-year-old and an almost-3-year-old are exhausting.  They are tireless.  But, during vacation, my husband will spend one on one quiet time with the 5-year-old in the late afternoon, and I get the pleasure of taking a NAP, an actual NAP with my youngest son.  I would never give up the memories that we are building with the kids, that will be a part of our family forever.  Vacation memories are just different than every-day memories.

Sometimes I wonder whether people get stressed out on family vacations because of where they choose to go, and how they choose to get there.  I have to say that as an avid traveler I have learned A LOT about what works and what does not work when going on a trip with my family.  I spend the extra $50-$100 per plane ticket to get shorter, more direct routes with fewer stops.  We almost NEVER stay in hotels, as meals in restaurants with kids can be stressful.  We rent condos and houses so that we can buy groceries and cook simple meals — without the stress of a restaurant.  We plan lots of beach trips.  They are the most relaxing type of trip for a family with kids our age.  Kids are content to spend hours in the pool or playing in the beach/ocean.  My husband and I love sitting on the beach and playing in the sand — and then jumping in the pool.  And I’ll tell you – there is nothing better to get kids to fall asleep FAST and early at night than a day of sun, sand, and swimming.   Then my husband and I can actually watch a movie together and hang out.

So to all you parents who get stressed out on a week-long vacation with your kids.  Reconsider and think about where you are going.  And yes, I know, people might say they can’t afford a beach vacation.  Then think about your options. When I was a kid,  my parents used to rent a rustic cabin by a lake for a week.  It was cheap, and we LOVED it.  We spent the days running around in the woods, going out in a canoe, hiking, etc.  My parents also have fond memories, and felt these were very relaxing vacations.  I really do believe there are great family vacations which can de-stress you and give you fun quality and quantity time with your kids.  I do though, still believe that whenever possible — taking a weekend here or there for adult only fun — is also a must.

What are your thoughts about family vacations?  More stressful than your normal working week?

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3 Responses to “Vacations with your kids are more stressful than work?”

  1. Cabin Rental GA June 10, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    It’s true that when picking your vacation spot, you should think about a place where your children can wear themselves out instead of wearing you out. The beach is an obvious as well as mountain vacation spot with lots of space. The fresh air (especially if you are near a creek) will guarantee good nights of sleep for your kids and some real restful time for you.

  2. Vacations May 28, 2010 at 2:47 am #

    Travel with kids, travel prepared It is good to have your kids with you when you travel; this would surely open their eyes to a lot more of new knowledge and discovery. When you bring along your kids in your trips, this is not only a way of bringing them close to your heart but also through this, your child would definitely make him or her more aware about the world around him or her. Well, when kids are with you, you need to be more prepared because as we all know they have special needs and we have to respond to such needs. With the tips provided below, it would surely help you get yourself prepared for the entire travel. You have to bring with you some of the most useful things you could carry with you as you travel and as you reach destinations: • Band-Aids • antiseptic hand gel • small tissue packs • sun screen • Dr.’s phone numbers • Tylenol – children’s & adults • a rubber door stop can provide extra security for a hotel room door • small plug in nightlight – to help find the bathroom in the middle of the night * These things re for the activities you could have together in order not get bored and to get their attention fully • Crayons • mechanical pencils • highlighter – good for word search games • paper • deck of cards • zip lock bags (collecting shells, storing food, wet clothes) * These are other things for travel uses: • sun glasses • hats/visors • light weight wind breaker • umbrella • camera with extra film • keep a photo of your child in your wallet – incase you loose them in a crowed area • extra copy of birth certificates, photo id, travel reservations, airline tickets With these pointers in mind, you would not surely miss the thrill and the fun, you would also be able to good at preparing for traveling like from the simple trips to those that require loads of planning.

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