|There was an epic tantrum not two minutes after this photo was taken.|
Based on my very scientific research of having spent two days in a large, family-friendly hotel, vacations with kids are not universally adored. I would like to thank the Mother who repeatedly yelled at her kid to stop trying to jump off the balcony, and the lady who told her husband she "just wanted to go home because the kids were being such a**holes", for making me feel that I am not the worst Mom in the world.
Every time I open up Instagram, I'm assaulted with beautiful photographs of other families' travels, and they all look so perfect and happy. I always embark on any family outing with the best of intentions, and hoping that this time will be different/better, but I inevitably return from these sabbaticals needing a vacation from my "vacation". Sure, I feel shitty for not enjoying every second of every day spent with my kids when we're away, but the reality is that traveling with children is often far from picture-perfect. So, in the essence of full vacation disclosure, I present to you the four photos I should have posted to Instagram (instead of the cute ones I did).
Me, putting Rose to sleep by pushing her in the stroller. For an hour.
Attempting to get an overtired kid to fall asleep in an unfamiliar place is quite possibly one of the most unpleasant experiences of parenthood. I tried everything - singing to her, rocking her, offering to let her sleep in our bed - but nothing worked until I finally put her in the stroller and walked the perimeter of our hotel room 400 times. On the plus side, at least I got in a workout while out of town.
The 5:30am wake-up call.
Being trapped in a hotel room with two rambunctious toddlers who enjoy waking up before dawn should be employed by the government as a torture tactic. Sure, you can try to sleep while they jump on your head and demand cereal - and even be willing to pay $5 for one episode of Daniel Tiger in an effort to pacify them - but to no avail. Kids: making sure we're the first people in line for the breakfast buffet since 2013.
The carpet picnic dinner
I have eaten more room service meals since I had children than I did in all of my child free years. It's not that I think room service is so amazing (it's usually not), it's simply that taking my kids to a restaurant that is not our local pizza place stresses me out. It's just so much easier to let my kids scream, "I DON'T WANT THAT" in the privacy of our hotel room, thereby avoiding the judgement of other diners. I'll have a chance to try great restaurants in about 18 years, when I can once again travel without my children.
Noah standing in the kiddie pool sobbing "I want to go home!"
Perhaps one of the lowest moments of my recent parenting life was watching my son throw a tantrum in the middle of the kiddie pool while other children frolicked around him in vacation bliss. I'm not even sure why he had an epic public tantrum - some kid probably stole his shovel - but I can tell you that I had numerous other hotel guests come up to me to offer their "helpful" parenting advice/judgement. It blew over, of course, and my humiliation was somewhat comforted by a very strong Bloody Mary... at least until he threw a tantrum in the parking lot about not wanting to go home. I just can't win.
Yes, traveling with kids sucks. It's exhausting, infuriating, and I often spend a large part of the time wondering what in God's name made me think going away was a good idea, but there's nothing like hearing your kids say, "I had fun swimming with you Mommy" to make you reconsider your vow to never leave the house again.