Family vacations - Memory-making is tiring

Filed under: Activities: Babies

Last summer was our first attempt at a real family vacation (at the time, our girls were four and two). We spent our days exploring remote beaches, floating on rafts, and catching rays... heavenly. Our nights were spent at our campsite, which after four or five nights, started to feel like that place that's the opposite of Heaven. When my husband asked me if I wanted to go back there again this year, I said that I absolutely did, on one condition: Wherever we stayed had to have a kitchen, beds, and running water.

"The kids will be bummed," he said. And I knew he was right. But seven days, at this point in their childhood when they still require so much physical care, is just too long for me to sleep on the ground and cook three meals a day over a fire pit.

Over at Newsweek, Kathy Deveny talks about the difference between family vacations when you're a kid with few responsibilities, and when you're an adult who's in charge of everything. When I was a kid, my parents owned a motor home that we took off in every weekend in the summer months, exploring every corner of our state. I remember riding my bike everywhere, bug bites, s'mores. What I don't remember is my mom spending half her time packing, preparing meals, and washing dishes, though I know she must have. Vacationing is hard work.
We compromised this summer by taking two short camping trips to thrill the kids, and we rented a tiny little house (with running water!) near the beach for our longer stay. Now Mom and Dad will get the rest they deserve after a long day of hunting for rocks and climbing dunes, but we'll still build memories as a family. Like Kathy Deveny says, "If you want your kids to have memories, you have to take them on vacation." You just have to redefine the idea that vacation is about getting away from it all. In fact, sometimes, it kind of feels like you're bringing it all with you.

Which reminds me, I need to start a list....

For more on summer vacationing with children, visit

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.