when is a vacation not a vacation?

Do I even have to answer the question?

This is starting to sound like whining already.  We’re home from several days at a lovely condo, provided by Matt’s mom and the time-share people.  We had a great time and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  However, I just don’t think any trip with my children can be called a vacation. 

True, I can escape the phone, and the always-sticky kitchen floor.  In this case, I didn’t even have to cook most of the meals (we took turns, and my sisters-in-law are fab-o cooks).  But, I still had to do all of my motherly duties, including breaking up arguments, putting whiny children in time out, and cajoling picky eaters, among other things.  Doesn’t have a “vacation” sound to it, does it?

Yesterday, the biggest day, we had nine young children (Sam is the oldest) and 11 adults in a smallish condo.  The award for patience, stamina, and just overall heroic behavior goes to Granny Vicki, who took various groups of small children swimming, mini-golfing, four-square playing, and other activities ALL DAY, while several of the adults, yours truly included, played a multitude of grown-up games.  I really like games.  We don’t play games much with adults these days, and I’d almost forgotten how fun it was — two new (new for me, I mean) ones I’d recommend are Settlers and Blokus.  My kids can actually play Blokus too, so that will definitely be under our Christmas tree.

We were home at midnight last night, dirty and exhausted.  If a vacation is supposed to be a break, should it feel like I need a vacation to recover from the vacation?

P.S.  True to form, I remembered the camera (actually Matt remembered), but took a grand total of zero pictures of the week’s events.


10 thoughts on “when is a vacation not a vacation?

  1. Andrea

    Oh my gosh! I totally was talking about the same thing with my husband. We just got back from San Francisco and I told him the tough thing about vacationing is I just take my show on the road. I pack for everyone but him, I entertain on the road, I entertain at the hotel, I remind everyone of what they need to do, I get up and feed them while someone *cough, cough* sleeps until he is ready to go. The best vacations we have had usually don’t involve children, where I only have to entertain myself. I also have to make sure the house is spotless before we leave, but I am not sure why. Within two hours of arriving home, the place is more trashed than before! Ugh…

  2. Vicki

    Vacations with kids are hard. I’m sure glad we had this time together. A trip like this is when kids really get to know and love their uncles, aunts,cousins,and Granny!

  3. kira

    we should all make the movement to stop calling them family vacations and call them family “trips” instead. The trip only turns into a vacation during those precious few hours when the kiddies are asleep. Thanks again for lettin Parker sleep at the condo so we could go play some serious shuffle board.

  4. Andrew

    Good news Liz. I took tons of pictures up at East Canyon, especially of Mary and Jonathan. However, I did not get pictures of our time at the Lake of the Woods. So perhaps we can do a digital picture swap? Thank goodness for digital cameras and memory sticks…

    Anyway, having that many children (who almost outnumber the adults now) on a family trip is challenging. I felt like some little person was always underfoot, and someone always needed something done for them. I suppose that’s just part of the experience. Hopefully you and Matt will enjoy a little break when you go to Canada next month while we help take care of the boys.

  5. robinbl

    Too true…vacations can actually be more stressful than ordinary life, rather than more relaxing. I love getting out and doing fun stuff, but it’s nice to have a break and just do nothing at home for a while too.

  6. danielle

    I think that the best vacations are the ones where the busiest thing on our schedule is deciding when you should roll off your floatie toy and eat three times that day. By the way, I am totally turning into my mother with the camera thing. Once after taking tons of pictures on Christmas morning, she made us put our Christmas pajamas (they were matching) back on three days later and pretend like it was Christmas morning again because she wasn’t sure if she had gotten a sufficient amount of photos.

  7. sillyjillybean


    The only time I get an honest to goodness break is when one of my sisters comes during the summer to spend some time with us or when we go to Utah and stay with my family. The kids are entertained by the 5 doting aunts and grandparents. I know this will end when the other grandchildren start coming and new in-laws enter the picture. But for now, I am loving it-since I just had a respite this past week!

  8. liz

    totally get it!

    my husband does marathons and will take a weekend trip to it with a relative or friend.

    I went into the city with my sister and we stayed in a hotel and had a girl day to shop and hang out sans kids.

    those were vacations.

    visiting family out of state? overtime. not a vacation.

    family vacations- needed but not the same w/o kids.
    couple-only trips have to wait for us until I feel our kids are old enough, which could be a few years. until then- I am all about equal trips alone with relatives or friends. The key is to not have to care for anyone else for at least 12 hrs. ;-)


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