The baby daddy and I just spent an entire week in confined spaces with our three children on vacation. So many cherished memories were made and how fortunate that we were able to get away. To live only two hours from beach paradise is the stuff of Alaskan envy. So why do I feel like I have been on an cortisol roller coaster only twenty four hours of returning?
The energy a parent expends in making family vacation memories tends to give a mother major emotional whiplash.
Anxious anticipation coupled with laser focused urgency. Everybody can’t wait to get to the destination but only you have the mental knowledge of what must be placed in the vehicle prior to pulling out of the driveway. Cortisol level rise commences now. All clothing items must be busily washed and strategically packed all the while preventing small, mischievous children from speedily removing crisply folded items from suitcases and older kids from clawing one another’s eyes out.
In order to come home to a decently neat home, some cleaning and organizing is preferred prior to embarkation. The kids should assist with the cleaning. However, you quickly quantify that keeping them on task requires energy and time that, frankly, mama is unable to provide given the current situation. “Just keep you brother and the dog alive and inside!”
Now that you are all packed up and kids are situated with choice entertainment, the baby daddy charts course for a destination of family friendly fun.
THE CAR RIDE
“Mama, I need the iPad charger now!”
“Mammaaa he keeps kicking me!”
Toddler singing and screaming along to 1980’s Transformers episodes, “Robots in disguise.” and “Autobots, ATTACK!” and “Transformers, ROLL OUT!”
“How much longer?” “Are we there yet?” “Now?” “We have been in here FOREVER!”
Magic Kingdom is a six hour drive from where we live. We vow to never take them to Disney. Sorry Mickey! Maybe high school graduation? Oh wait. Can’t afford it then. College tuition.
Small win for mom and dad. The kids help carry a few things.
Elation and Delight: “These bunk beds are awesome!” “Look, the puppy LOVES the beach. She is SOOOOO cute!” “Thank you dad for bringing us here.”
While cortisol levels escalate again during unpacking, the kids start begging to leave the condo.
The toddler keeps messing with the patio door, letting all the cold air out. We are on the fourth floor and there is furniture that could be climbed on, near the rail, on the balcony. “Watch him babe! I’m up to my ears in underwear and ALL of baby girl’s loot she brought to sleep with.”
“Dad, my TV won’t work. That’s NOT fair mom. His works and mine doesn’t!”
We are all getting HANGRY at this point.
“When can we go to to da beach?” “I don’t want to go to the beach. I want to go to the pool!”
“Dad, when can we go to the arcade?”
As I am placing the kids’ clothes in drawers, I place the pizza order. Check. All is well again and we are in paradise for a week!
Predictably, in the middle of the dolphin watching, sand play and glorious Kodak moments, there are episodes of whining, fighting and gnashing of teeth. The sun wears out even the most chipper of personalities eventually.
Our bed is still crowded and the dog wakes us up every night. Thank you for lighting up the night sky with those fireworks at 1am young teens. It was epic.
My personal favorite is the whole beach versus pool tug of war with three children. For example, the hubs and I could spend all day on the beach alternating between hanging under the umbrella, reading a book and swimming in the ocean.
The kids, on the other hand, beg for the salt life and then annoy us until they are bathing in chlorine at the condo pool. I get it. I was once that kid.
If the week hadn’t been eventful enough, our fur ball decided to become a full-blown woman our last night at the beach. WHY did I reschedule that vet appointment for after vacation? One benefit of the toddler refusing potty training…Lightning McQueen Pull Ups! NEVER a dull moment.
Surprisingly EASY, except for the exhausted, grumpy, sun glistened offspring in the back seat duking it out over movie selection and such.
No less than thirty minutes of us sitting down to relax after putting up all luggage contents, we hear the following: “Mom and dad, PLEASE play Nerf war with us. We are bored. You must not love us. All you want to do it be lazy and sit on the couch.”
Whiplash I say! Whiplash.
It’s all just part of marriage, parenthood and life in general. However, family vacations with a bunch of little ones will gift a parent with every single emotion known to man.
Family vacations are a lot like childbirth: it’s painful, unpredictable and recovery is most definitely involved but you would do it again in a heartbeat to get the end result…eternal memories.
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