The dog days of summer are (almost) upon us, and my Instagram feed seems to be chock full of beautiful photographs of people's summer vacations. This morning, after cruising the 'gram and seeing yet another round of Italian and Hawaiian getaways, I began to bemoan my own lack of summer vacation plans. Then it dawned on me: I HAVE CHILDREN. Do you know what it's like traveling with children? It is not, in any way, what I would call a vacation.
That's pretty much the opposite of what it's like to travel with children.
Travel, A.C. (After Children)
1. The stuff. Why do small humans have so much crap? I can (and have) traveled for five weeks with nothing more than a carry-on bag, a money belt, and a prescription for Cipro, so why do my offspring need two bags every time we go somewhere for only one night? The noise machines, the blankies, the pacifiers, the swim diapers, the sunscreen, the hats... I am exhausted just thinking about packing all that sh*t. Forget the exotic locale, I'll just take my kids to the Grand Park Splash Pad where they can still get sick from drinking the recirculated water, but I don't have to worry about losing their passports!
2. The time zones. Jet lag sucks, even if you're an adult, but little kids, who are completely dependent on sleep schedules, get all kinds of f*cked up if you reverse their day and night. You know what's a real buzz kill on vacation? Being exhausted all the freaking time because your kid's circadian rhythm is all kinds of wacked out. Thanks, but I'll stay right here in the PST zone where I have at least a 50-50 chance of getting a decent night's shut eye.
3. Toddlers on a Plane. Forget Snakes on a Plane, if you want horror that's guaranteed to keep you awake at night, it's traveling internationally (or even across the country) with two wiggly humans who won't sit still and prefer to express their emotions BY YELLING. The bygone days of air travel - when I drank champagne, slept peacefully and enjoyed a good book without interruption - are a thing of the past. Airplane travel with small children involves pacing up and down the narrow aisle with a screaming one year old while your spouse attempts to get your older child to stay in his seat with either bribery or Benadryl. Oh, and that's the best case scenerio. These days you're liable to get arrested or thrown off the plane because you had the nerve to procreate and then try to travel with your children!
4. Hotel room. Notice that I wrote "room", not "rooms" or "suite" because when your kids are little you can't just stick them in the adjoining room and hope they don't pull a Johnny Depp. Nope, if you're traveling with little kids they have to sleep in the room with you or, in our case, in a portable crib in the bathroom or closet. Nothing says romance like trying to have some sexy times without waking the babies and then having to hold your pee in all night because one of your kids is sleeping next to the toilet.
5. Childcare. If I had billions of dollars and could afford to have our babysitter travel with us, this wouldn't be an issue. Since the only thing we have billions of dollars of is debt, I don't think we'll be taking our childcare on the road anytime soon. Here's the thing: little kids have this annoying habit of wanting (or, in Rose's case, needing) you to pay attention to them all of the time. While your vacation fantasies may involve sitting on a lounge chair reading trashy magazine, drinking Mai Tais, and hoping you don't blackout in the adult pool, what you'll really be doing is keeping your offspring from drowning and yelling at them to not eat the sand. I don't know about you, but that sounds about as relaxing as spending a weekend hanging out with my Husband's ex-wife.
Needless to say, all of this
is why I'll be spending my summer enjoying a "stay-cation" here in the
dried out, sweltering, far-from-picturesque City of Angels. Sure, it's
no Ko Phi Phi, but at least I can drink the water and I don't need a
prescription for anti-malaria tablets. Unless, of course, I forget to
empty out our fancy plastic pool for a few weeks.