Why I Take My Children on Vacation

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A couple of weeks ago I was standing in the Wal-Mart check out line. I was trying to quickly buy a few last-minute items before my sister’s bridal shower and running short on time. It was only fitting that I happened to stand in the slowest line. The cashier was very friendly. It seemed as though she was sharing her entire life story with the customer in front of me.

Their conversation peaked my interest when they started talking about vacations and children. The customer stated she was headed on vacation with her children, made apparent to me by the trunks, swimmers, floaties, and vacation gear loaded up in her cart. She rattled off her children’s ages, around 12, 11 and 9, this was her children’s first vacation. ever. 

I’m sure this isn’t very uncommon, because the cashier followed up with a little tidbit about her vacation experience as a child. She went on one, which was not a very good one. She declared. 

I was in shock. My children have been on vacation every single year since they were first-born. We love our vacations. My oldest daughter talks about the beach almost everyday. B would live right next to the ocean if she could. I would not be surprised if she migrates that way when she grows up. She’s a water girl. A few weeks ago we were at a water show put on by our local library. The water man asked different kids to name types of water. There were a range of answers; ice water, warm water, even toilet water. He called on B and she responded with sea water. Her mind is always on the sea. She has been to the ocean four times in her short life. I’m pretty sure the ocean calls to her soul.

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The other two vacations were spent in the Philadelphia area and Gatlinburg. She prefers the beach.

Often times I see articles floating around about how taking a child on vacation with you is not a real vacation. There’s no point in doing it. Don’t do it. It’s the worst thing ever.

However true those articles may be for the people who write them, it’s not true for me. I actually enjoy taking my children on vacation. Yes, they are still little. 5 and 2. B has been on 5 vacations and S has been on 2. We are about to embark on their 6th and 3rd vacation.

I’m not saying it is easy. What I am saying is, for me at least, it is worth it.

Why? Why not just leave my children at home with a babysitter, take a much-needed vacation on my own and relax?

For starters, I chose to have my children.

I decided to have these children. I knew parenting would be difficult. I chose to have them anyway. They are not an option. I don’t want them to feel like they are. Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t get away with your spouse. Because you should. What I am saying is your children need to know that they are a part of your family. Mommy and Daddy enjoy vacations, why shouldn’t they?

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B’s first time at the beach.

They are not little for long, I want them enjoy it.

Before long, my children will be teenagers and then adults, facing the world. They will have the same responsibilities that we have. Right now they have no responsibilities, except to do their best at their school work and learn how to be kind human beings. I want my children to have these experiences, as a family, while they are free, curious, and not tied down by responsibilities. They do not have to worry about how to afford the vacation or if their children are going to far into the water. They do not have to worry about a cranky child, paying for the gas or who is going to watch their pets. I want my children to have the experiences of a magical vacation that only a child full of wonder and curiosity can experience. Before they grow to big and miss that opportunity.

I want them to learn how to act in public, in many different scenarios.

I am a homebody. My children love being at home too. I try my very best though to expose them to many public places, so they learn what is expected and how to act while at these places. Do they always behave? No. But they do about 95% of the time. Why? Because they are exposed to different atmosphere often and we correct their behavior when it is not acceptable, in love. Many people are scared to take their children on vacation because of meltdowns. We have had to deal with many of those. They really aren’t as scary as they seem.

When B was an infant we went to New York City. She had a meltdown in the subway because she was hot and I cried. I knew why she was having a difficult time though. I was able to calm her down when we changed locations and arrived somewhere cooler.

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B being a champ on our first vacation

When B was 2.5 she took her first plane ride. On the way there she was amazing. On the way home? Not so much. B threw an epic tantrum for 3/4ths of the trip. The rest of the passengers hated us. All I can say is, bring headphones when you fly. Babies cry. This past summer we were doing family photos on the beach, in white. I took my lipstick from S because well hello, white. Cue major tantrum. Epic. It was all I could do to get her down to the beach. We still went through with the photos. Why? One because it made one heck of a story. Two our children do not control everything. If she wanted to pout, okay. We were still getting pictures taken.

S throwing her epic tantrum on the beach. I can’t wait to show her these photos when she’s older!

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Still enjoying pictures and the ocean in the presence of a cranky toddler!

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Still pouting

Finally better!

I miss them when I am away from them.

When I was pregnant with S, Ben and I took a mini vacation to Chicago. B stayed with my parents back home. I loved Chicago. I loved being able to explore with my husband and not having a toddler in tow. It wasn’t long before I started thinking about B, though. I would see something I knew she would love and think about what her reaction would be. I would encounter people on the street and wonder what she would say if she was there meeting them. I missed her. To me that was more difficult than having to deal with any tantrums or worrying about taking care of a child.

My husband and I will have plenty of time when we are older to go on vacations by ourselves.

My husband and I plan on going on many vacations when we are older. Paris, Germany, Colorado, Hawaii. Sign me up. Maybe we will go alone. It’s more likely though that we will be sticking to our typical vacations with our adult children, like we do with my parents and family.  Making memories one vacation at a time.

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Pregnant with S, enjoying Gatlinburg’s view.

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Until next time,

Jenna Jury

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