I’m usually the person lusting over my friends’ instagram travel photos, lying to myself that I’d much rather be sleeping in my own comfortable bed with my longtime body pillow “Buddy,” and getting to spend time with my sweet dog Rosie. But in some wackadoo alternate reality, I was fortunate enough to go to London in June and Greece in July. Buh bye, Rosie; GFY, Buddy; and hellooo, Instagram bragging.
The London trip was a birthday surprise from my husband, Matty, although coincidentally, the trip fell on his birthday and our main activity was one of his favorite things, going to a Red Sox game.
But hey, gift horse, mouth, blah blah blah. The most important thing was that we went to London without our kids. I love those two turds more than all the cheese in the world, but I must admit I was giddier than a 14-year old girl at a BTS show at the prospect of spending five days without them. A very special thanks to my mom-in-law, Frances, and my sister- and brother-in-law, Lisa & Matthew, for showing our kids the time of their lives while we
went ham missed them terribly in London.
The Greece trip was for my friend Lindsay’s wedding. She is both my friend and our whole family’s friend, and she was kind enough to invite us all. I’ve been waiting to take Hazel and George on a “real trip” forever, and this was just the excuse we needed. We spent a long weekend in Athens and then four days on the island of Naxos, and lived to tell the tale.
So, based on this very scientific study with strict controls in place, here are the pros and cons of traveling with kids:
- Appreciation: After you’ve been traveling for a while, you tend to start to take certain things for granted, but kids remind you about all the things that are fun and exciting about travel. Revolving doors, Lyft drivers (my kids’ have a favorite and his name is Kadeem; he has a drawer full of free candy), free slippers, hotel robes, COCA COLA, free shower caps and toiletry kits (e.g. cotton balls and q-tips), do not disturb signs, all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets, little jars of jam and ketchup, hotel room keys…these are just a small number of things my kids found fascinating and wonderful during our trip.
- Bathroom access: I hate asking random public places if I can use their bathroom. But it makes it so much easier if you bring along a cute kid as a prop. Like, who’s gonna say no to these faces?
- Seeing your kids in a fresh light: I’m pretty much used to seeing my kids in their normal places: home, school, TJ Maxx, my parents’ and in-laws’ houses. But watching them in a totally different place and watching them make new friends – kids, adults, puppies – and charm the pants off of them is a unique joy.
- Ice cream all the time: For kids, vacation = ice cream. And how can I not set a good body-image example by indulging with them?
- Family bonding: Nothing says bonding like matching hats, matching bracelets, and matching ice cream bellies (not pictured).
- Cute photos: No one wants to see another selfie of me or another shot of my food (I know, I’m sorry. I can’t stop.), but these, on the other hand…
(Click on each photo to see it big.)
- Gratitude fail: I’ve had decades to teach myself to be grateful for everything I have. And either I’ve failed my children, or 7-10 years is not enough time to learn this, because these turds have the audacity to be disappointed when we don’t upgrade to a “private villa” or whine when I tell them they can’t get a second ice cream in one day. Sometimes I have a hard time not knee jerking to Dale Sturtevant’s technique of training them through mockery and verbal humiliation.
- The whining: Oh my god, the whining. Chris Rock’s #1 parenting goal is to keep his daughter off the pole; mine is to not raise brats. So imagine my chagrin that my kids whine all the time. Sometimes it took all my strength to stop myself from yelling, “DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE THAT WE TOOK YOU TO GREECE?” Sometimes (okay, about once a day), all my strength was not enough.
- Raised Expectations: This was the first trip out of North America and the first wedding for the kids. So now they probably think all weddings are fairytale affairs with sunset cocktails, pools, fireworks, and underground poker rings (don’t ask). Hell, we can’t even throw rice in the US.
- Parental responsibility: When you’re on vacation with your kids, you can’t both get shithoused, get lured into a secret maybe sex club downstairs at a tapas place, or stumble into a strip club at 3 am. I mean, I guess you can, but it’d be pretty bad parenting, guys. Our kids were real troopers in Greece, and thanks to the 7-hour time difference, were pretty good about eating dinner late and staying up late, but let’s just say we didn’t go to any Greek strip clubs.
- It’s expensive: I mean, the ice cream budget alone, guys. Plus, it’s not like these degenerates have jobs.
- Good luck enjoying a meal: Have you ever had a relaxed restaurant meal with kids? How about when there’s not a chicken finger in sight and their body clocks are set seven hours earlier? No and hard no. There’s only so many times you can yell, “WHAT DO YOU SAY?!” when the waiter brings something before you lose your vacation mode mojo. Without kids, on the other hand, we ate whatever, whenever, and we always said thank you, thank you very much.
- Lack of romance: I’m not saying it’s not romantic to have your kids in a shared suite with you where they can (and will) barge into your bedroom at anytime, well actually, I’m totally saying that. One night, we were at the most romantic rooftop bar at sunset, attempting to toast each other, but never got to it, because we had to spend the time lecturing the kids on how their constant bickering and lack of gratitude was ruining our vacation. I DON’T CARE WHOSE TURN IT WAS TO OPEN THE HOTEL ROOM DOOR, GUYS.
In summary, take your kids on vacation.
Bond as a family and let them help you rediscover the magic of traveling.
And then, if you’re lucky enough, ditch those fools and have a real vacation.