Advice: How to Make a Vacation with a Young Child Feel Like a Vacation

This week my husband and I will make our yearly visit to the beach. As a stay-at-home mom I spend 24 hours a day with my son. That includes time during the week and on the weekends. In fact, in his short life I think I’ve spent a total of 8 hours away from him. You read that correctly. A mere 8 hours over a 10 month span of time.

While a vacation from work means no time spent in the office and no alarm waking you for a work, a vacation with my son won’t be much of a change from our regular routine. I will still wake up sometime between 5:30 and 6:30 to feed him. I will still feed him most of his meals and spend most if not all of the day with him.

I am certainly not complaining about staying home with my son or vacationing with him. He is the light of my life and I absolutely love to be with him, but I do wish my husband would wake up to his morning cries or offer to take him for an afternoon walk for twenty or thirty minutes so I can relax by the pool without worrying about whether or not my son is hot or requires more sunscreen.

I’m sure there a lot of moms feel the same way I do on vacation. You crave a few minutes of quiet relaxation time and hope that your husband gets the hint about watching your little one for just a few minutes so you can wander down to the beach, sip your orange juice on the screened in porch or lay back in the hammock under a big tree with a cool breeze.

I’m sure the moms that read this blog will provide me with some advice. How do you feel about vacationing with your children and do you feel that it’s quite difficult for a mom of young children to feel like she’s on vacation?

8 thoughts on “Advice: How to Make a Vacation with a Young Child Feel Like a Vacation”

  1. Here is my tip – don’t hint and don’t wait for your husband to offer. Ask him directly and nicely to do something for you during the vacation. Be flexible! It may not be taking the morning shift if he is not a morning person, but think about the few things that make it feel like a vacation for you, and then try to figure out how to work it in. And make sure he gets to do the key things he likes too! Have a great trip!

    • Great comment! I decided I didn’t want to cook during the week and told him this was my vacation and I didn’t want it to feel like it was any typically day of the week. He figured out what to cook for dinner and prepared it without my assistance. Clearly defining my desires definitely helped!

  2. LOL. I think it was on “Modern Family” that a woman told her husband, “For you, this is a vacation. For me, it’s a business trip.”

    The worst thing about traveling with young kids is that everyone loses out on good sleep. My preschool-aged twins go to bed fairly easily and early at home, but in a hotel or at their grandparents’ house, it’s a different story. It easily takes twice as long (three times as long if grandparents are helping!). The girls wake up more often during the night and earlier in the morning. After a couple of nights of this, we’re all cranky. The first time we traveled while they were potty training, the usual 5-hour trip home from Chicago took an additional 2.5 hours because of all the stops.

    My husband and I went to Paris for nearly a week by ourselves last autumn. It was lovely. And we slept for 8 to 10 hours every night. Our kids were just fine with their aunt and grandparents.

    I agree with Tamara: you have to ask directly for help and for time to yourself. Some people (like myself) need a break by having everyone else leave the room, and some people need a break by leaving the room themselves. Regardless, everyone needs a break. My favorite parenting book, hands down, is “MotherStyles,” which is based on the Myers-Briggs personality typing system. It acknowledges that there are many different forms of great parenting and helped me clarify what my own style is. I get overwhelmed by too many changes at once to our usual family lifestyle. So now I know that it will be awhile before I’m ready to say, “We’re going to Disney World!” : )

    • Thanks for the advice and the recommendation of MotherStyles. I intend to check it out. When our son gets a little older I would like to take a vacation without him, even if it’s just for a night or two. Although I love being home with my son it can be draining to think about the needs of someone else nearly 16 hours in a day!

      By the way I’m the type of girl who needs everyone to leave the room. I need a little quiet time and a little space.

  3. My husband was not particularly helpful/intuitive when our kids were little babies, but around the time our first turned one, I lobbied for 4 hrs of father/son time on Saturdays – starting w/ parent child swim lessons and then usually going to a park, play area, the mall, etc. Having a regularly scheduled “time away” is so important – both to give full attention to other tasks and simply to regain some uninterrupted time for yourself. I agree w/ comment #1 – don’t wait for an offer, be kindly direct (and not just at vacation time!) You’ve traded a job w/ time off for one that is 24/7 – and once your husband gets the hang of handling your son solo he will likely really enjoy the 1-1 time together (:

    • I LOVE the idea of daddy time! I think it’s good for a child to bond with their dad and for a mom to get a little time to herself. With fall coming up there should be lots of nice weather days to enjoy outside with my husband. I like the idea of 4 hours, but I’d be happy to start with 1 dedicated hour and work my way up!

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. Vacationing with the kids is always a lot of work. Usually when we get home, I think I need a second vacation just to relax from the first one. We love to travel and having kids hasn’t stopped us. One thing I do is pick up new toys throughout the year whenever I see something on clearance or cheap, and put it away for when we go on a trip. Then when I need a break or they are starting to get grumpy, I pull out a new toy and that holds there attention for a while. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, one my daughter liked around that age was a wallet that I put a whole bunch of empty gift cards or store cards in. She liked going through the wallet and pulling things out. Usually, I can pick up some of the crayola color wonder sets on clearance throughout the year or some new books to look at.
    Also, like everyone else said, just ask your husband for some help. My husband and I both work full time but on different shifts so I am the one that usually has to get the girls up in the morning and put them to bed at night. So on my husbands nights off, he has bed time duty while I usually relax on the couch reading a book. It definitely helps me not to feel like it is all on me.

    • I love the idea of keeping ‘new’ toys on hand to occupy your children and to change who has bed time duty. My husband gives our bath a son each night, but I always put him to bed after that. As he gets bigger I’d like us to take turns with that task along with a few others.

      Also I agree that I sometimes feel the need for a vacation after my vacation!


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