A Family Vacation Vs. A Real Vacation

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family vacation
Mike Julianelle

We are going on vacation! I’m actually a little reluctant to call it a vacation, since I’m bringing my toddler along. Yes, I’m taking the week off from work, and I’ll be at the beach. But I don’t know how much relaxation will be happening, as “relaxation” is not exactly my son’s middle name.


Typically, on vacation I’d spend most of my time sleeping in and reading and drinking and eating. But this is a so-called “family vacation,” and with a toddler in tow, the things one would typically do become if not entirely impossible then altered beyond all recognition.

Here’s a list of ways I suspect my family vacation won’t actually be all that much of a vacation:

1. Reading

My wife and I made a handful of last-minute book purchases from Amazon, and I swear when I hit “checkout” I could hear my computer laughing at me. The odds of us having time to lounge around reading books on the beach are about 8 million to one. Pretty sure most of the reading I’ll be doing will involve GPS directions and stories about trains.

2. Sleeping

The computer isn’t laughing at me this time; my son is. He has settled firmly into a 6:30 a.m. wake-up routine, and it doesn’t matter if it’s Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, or he’s sleeping in one of those space-tubes in the Alien movies; the kid’s internal clock is my eternal nemesis. It doesn’t know when I’m on vacation, and why would it? My son’s whole life is vacation.

3. Relaxing

Lately my son’s favorite pastime is disobeying us. His second favorite pastime is being hyper. Combine those two delightful tendencies with the fact that, although he’s smart enough to talk back and lie, he’s still toddler-stupid enough to spin in circles in the middle of a busy street. Relaxation is not really in the cards.

4. Drinking

Oh, there will be drinking—tons of drinking. Most of it will be squeezed into that precious three-hour window between him finally falling asleep and us suddenly passing out, but it will happen.

5. Miscellaneous

What else do people do on vacation? Go to the movies? Toddler. Go out to dinner? Toddler. Have lots of sex? Toddler. Play mini-golf? That will probably actually happen, though “play” may be a strong term.

I’m not saying we won’t have fun. It will be fun. I’m excited for it.

But it’s not the same thing as a vacation without kids. Oh well, at least I’ll be less hungover.

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