I do not call the annual summer family trip a family vacation.
Why? Because it is not really a vacation for the parents. The purpose of the family trip is to make memories and take pictures and have time together as a family for “family bonding.”
My husband and I recently took the children on a family trip to Niagara Falls. We had a great time, and we all did some sightseeing and had adventures in a new location. We took lots of pictures! There were family conversations – and the trips are easier and smoother now that our children are 21, 17, and 8.
However, there were still plenty of family moments!
Working out the kids arguing about who should decide on the next activity. People getting grouchy while we tried to navigate the schedule and the logistics of getting to a tour. Finding a restaurant that everyone could agree upon.
My husband and I had one disagreement that we had to open our Relationship Repair Counter to resolve. Per usual it was how to react to something with the children.
I remember my parents used to have at least one argument on every family vacation and now I know why. If I recall, my dad wanted to relax and put his feet up while my mom had accepted the trip was still going to be a lot of work. Every time we plan a family trip, I have a yearning to get some rest like my Dad used to! I get it. The struggle is real…
People have these dreams and expectations for their family trip, and usually the parents have at least some yearning that they will get a vacation from their regular life.
Only to remember while on the family trip that there will not really be that many moments for actual rest and relaxation by the time you navigate getting everyone fed, lodged, clothed, packed and repacked, and get to whatever activities you are doing to create memories.
Not to mention you will need to work out whatever family issues come up along the way. Fun times, my friend, fun times!
Recently, there have been lots of laughs in my office as people tell me they struggle with the idea of their upcoming family trip with the children. They know it will be a lot of work to get everyone all packed up and go through the logistics of navigating their journey.
Parents of children young and old are sometimes yearning for a real vacation, which can include more time for napping, reading books, taking your time going places, spa treatments, and more.
If you are about to go on a family trip, try changing your mindset and accepting that although you are yearning for a vacation, you are not going to really have one. Try to embrace the moment and each your precious family moment – you only live once! Expect you are likely to have at least one marital fight and be prepared to work through it…
Then plan a real vacation without the children as soon as they are old enough!
After two family trips during the past year and many family outings, I now have gone on a well-deserved bona fide vacation – no children – no parenting issues – no family moments.
Just time to rest, take naps, go running on the beach, drink fruity drinks with little umbrellas, and read books that have nothing to do with psychotherapy ?. My own version of paradise.
If you need to talk about problems that happened on your family trip (hopefully you don’t have any problems that occurred if you went on a real vacation), please Contact one of our Relationship Repair Associates right away!