Friday, September 16, 2011

Vacation with/from your kids

Beach house porch photo shoot outtake
Warning: this post contains what could be construed as complaints about a beach vacation with healthy, happy children in a free country full of economic opportunity.  It may not be suitable for all readers.

For a primary parent, vacation can be tricky.  Those who work full time might be really excited by the novelty of spending a lot of time with their kids on vacation.  When one already spend a lot of time with one's kids, the first morning of vacation makes one say "wait a minute...".  

I will not be able to replace this opportunity to spend lots of time with the boys when they're young.  I do my best to appreciate what I have and enjoy them through their developmental stages.  At the same time, a big aspect of being the main home and kids guy is that I keep the household routines running.  That means I serve the kids breakfast and help them remember all the steps it takes to be ready for the day.  And I do that most every day.  When we got on vacation this year, I realized that all of that stuff still needed to get done but that if I did it on vacation, I wouldn't feel quite like I'd gotten a break.  Because it caught me unawares (and because I'm the kind of terrible person who can find something on a beach vacation to complain about), I didn't communicate about it very well.  Eventually, Paige and I had a brief conversation about and she kindly took on as much of that stuff as she could.  Because she's better at sleeping in than I am but gets fewer chances to do so, I still often got up with the boys in the morning.  She basically handled all of every bedtime routine.  She also took on the ritual de-sanding in the outdoor shower with them.

One thing that parents can get a break from on vacation is enforcing every single rule that pertains at home.  There's a famous story from my wife's childhood about her father trying to make her eat vegetables while on vacation.  Her grandmother contradicted him, saying that certain rules just don't apply on vacation.  We've adopted that philosophy to some extent, although there was some meal-wrangling this year.  We certainly let the kids rot their brains on SpongeBob on vacation (more on that in a later post), which made it easier for us to relax.

It's not rocket science that the composition of one's daily/weekly routine affects how one defines the markers of vacation.  I guess I'm just slow on the uptake.

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