We are getting ready to head. It’s amazing how through the planning stages, I sit there so excited about going away. We love traveling. But vacationing as a mom is totally different than it was pre-kids. There are some things that will no longer be relaxing.
- Budgets. Planning a vacation for one or two adults is so much cheaper than it is planning for a family of 5. Thankfully our cruise is being 100% paid for through me doing Swagbucks. (Later I’ll do a post on exactly how I earn but its fairly simple. Plus if you click that link its an automatic $5). But that still left incidentals such as pet sitter, gas, parking, etc.
- The location. When we were in our 20’s prior to kids, we didn’t care if the flight was going to be overnight or if we were going to have jet lag. No I realize there is zero way I could do an European vacation with young kids. Can you imagine terrible twos on jet lag?
- Packing. Packing must now begin a minimum of a week in advance. Every single item that went into a suitcase needed to be written down. There is a bag simply for beach, a bag for overnight, an emergency bag in case our luggage gets lost, there is a bag per child, etc. There was a counting of diapers in order to make sure we would have enough diapers to last the entire cruise. My landing is currently lined with suitcases and my kids have all been lectured that they are going to be left behind if they dare to unpack ANYTHING.
- Menu planning. We’ve got some inventive eating going around this house. I refuse to buy anymore groceries other than a gallon of milk to get us through next week. Tonight’s dinner: Buttermilk Roast Chicken because I had a thing of buttermilk that must be consumed. Pre-kids, there was never enough groceries to necessitate a two week pre-vacation clear out!
- Safety. Every location we discussed, we needed to go through security and how to keep everyone safe. Pre-kids, you would find me at 18 walking the streets of most major cities alone. Now, heck!, we booked an interior cabin on the ship simply because we were afraid the two year old would find a way to climb off the balcony!
- Pre-vacation organization. As a family, we’ve got the house, the dog, and the cat. Everything has to be arranged for before we could even think about locking the door for the final time. Pet sitter? Check. Pet food? Check. Cat litter? Check. Mail hold? Check. Air or heat turned off? Check. All electronics unplugged? Check.
- Toys. Remember those days of lounging on the beach reading a book? They don’t exist anymore or at least not for a minimum of 10 years. Now I need to pack enough beach toys to keep the kids entertained, enough cars and legos to keep the two year old entertained at dinner. Don’t forget those crayons!!!!!
- Food. Do you remember just throwing your suitcase in the trunk and driving? No? It has been a long time. Now, there must be that all important snack bag and for us, we must have every snack in triplicate. I guarantee about five miles down the road, 10 minutes after lunch, all three will be complaining about how hungry and thirsty they are! (Either that or how they have to pee already!)
- Bills. This one might be more like since becoming an adult but still it has definitely changed since the single days. We will be gone through the 10th of the month. This means every bill we have is going to have to be paid while I am away, so before I can relax, adulthood must be taken care of…..
- Post- Vacation Bliss. Gone are the days of arriving home the night before having to go back to work. Now, we give ourselves an entire day to get back to life. There is a mountain of laundry that will take at least a week to get through….. And a ton of sand to vacuum out of the minivan!
Don’t get me wrong. We love vacations. I love building the memories with my kids and allowing them to see all around the world. Heck, I already have a Pinterest Bucket List Board of many, many places to take our munchkins before they get too big. 😦