Every day the wonderful happens…

and I'm here to blog about it.

Hard Labor with a Dash of Magic January 23, 2011

Filed under: and that's how I feel about that,mommy brain,vacation — Elizabeth @ 10:24 PM

Here’s the thing.  I’m just gonna put it out there.

Traveling with kids is not fun.

There is a quote from Modern Family–I think the mom said it when they were going on vacation to Hawaii–“I’m a mom.  This isn’t a vacation, it’s a business trip.”

It’s not relaxing, and except for about 20% of the time, it’s  not fun.  And I love my kids.  I adore them.  But vacationing with them?  It’s just a lot of work.  No sleeping in.  No zoning out with your ipod on the plane.  No romantic dinners in nice restaurants.

They wear you out.

They molest every garbage can they walk by.

They require 18 snacks for one plane ride…….that lasts 75 minutes.

They break ornaments in the Disney Christmas store.

They do not feel appropriate shame for breaking ornaments in the Disney Christmas store.

One runs 100 yards ahead of me everywhere we go while the other one lags at least 100 yards behind.  (Just so you know, there is not any chance that anyone will invite Matthew to be their partner on the Amazing Race).

They dance around you, screaming at top volume (while molesting garbage cans and licking the floor) while you read every menu in a crowded and noisy food court and try to do dining point calculations in your head.

They lose their sunglasses and then earnestly ask every Disney employee if they have found their sunglasses.  (Okay, that one was kind of funny)

They wait until everyone gets quiet on a crowded bus to announce, “I just poot!!!!!!!!!!!!!”.

But here’s the thing.

Then something amazing happens.

Isaac, on a roller coaster.  Screaming, laughing.  Joy unspeakable written across his face.  I couldn’t look away.  I had to swallow down sobs before the coaster ended.  I will never, ever forget that joy.  The mental image is mine forever.

Matthew meeting Minnie Mouse.  Burying his head in her skirt.  Too excited to use real words.  Later he picked out a Minne doll and has been carrying her around ever since.

That’s how they get you.  Not just on vacation, but throughout the entire parenting journey.  It’s work, toil, cry yourself to sleep, JOY, anger, pain, MIRACLE, sleeplessness, more work, frustration, LAUGHTER.

And suddenly it’s all worth it…..and after you’re home for a few weeks, you forget the garbage can molestations and the broken ornaments and public poot admissions….at least I hope I will.

But you remember the joy.  The moments that made it all worth it.

We must, because we do it again and again.

It’s fine.  You can tell me “I told you so” when I start to plan this very same trip next year.

**Pictures to come tomorrow after I bathe the family in Germ-X and begin to recover a bit from the trauma that is “traveling with children”**


11 Responses to “Hard Labor with a Dash of Magic”

  1. Jenny Says:


    “That’s how they get you. Not just on vacation, but throughout the entire parenting journey. It’s work, toil, cry yourself to sleep, JOY, anger, pain, MIRACLE, sleeplessness, more work, frustration, LAUGHTER.”

    I may post this up in my kitchen to read again and again…what a beautiful description of the life of a mother. LOVED this post and it sounds like you had a good trip. My sweet friend your words cracked me up, then made me cry…in one post! 🙂

  2. It’s so true. Of course, I can’t speak from experience b/c I’m TERRIFIED of taking our girls on a vacation. It was bad enough taking Olive to Korea to pick up Ingrid! Granted, Olive was a pretty kick-tushy traveler. At least for a nearly-three-year-old. But it’s still so stinkin’ exhausting. Because instead of strolling down the sidewalk, hand-in-hand with your husband, you’re wrestling small bears down the sidewalk, peeking in each and every restaurant to make sure they don’t have white tablecloths, that there’s no one looking even remotely like they’re on a date, and that the restaurant serves quesadillas. Yeah… try THAT in Seoul!
    You’re so right, too, about the vacation amnesia. It always makes me giggle a bit how I recall Adam’s and my (pre-kid) trip to Italy. I always imagine it like the photos you see – perfect food, laughing Italians, rolling hills covered in grapes and olives… but then when I sit and really think about it, I think about the migraines all the wine gave me, the difficulties we had locating a vegetarian restaurant for every.freakin.meal., and lugging our ridiculous luggage all over the country.
    Sorry to hog the comments. But just wanted you to know that I really get it.
    And to tell you how right you are 🙂 Because truly, without all the joy and love they bring us, we would totally dump them off in one of those molested garbage cans. 😉

  3. Grace Says:

    i love this. LOVE this!

    this was my favorite part: “They molest every garbage can they walk by.” oh, and this: “(Just so you know, there is not any chance that anyone will invite Matthew to be their partner on the Amazing Race).”

    i can just picture it! too funny…and i am sure i will find all of this to be SO very true. 🙂

    oh, and they didn’t cry upon seeing cindrella like i did? 😉

  4. Kristen Says:

    Let me just say I fantasize about being able to read a book on an airplane…or even decide who wore it best in US Weekly.

    Until I had kids, I had no idea that not only is a vacation w/kids not a vacation, but its actually a million times more work than when you are home b/c you don’t have the luxury of all their toys, a fridge & pantry full of food you know they will actually eat and laundry that doesn’t require me to dig around in my bag for loose change. Why bother…and then the magic happens and the mental picture of that moment somehow replaces all the other terrible ones and before you even survive the plane ride home you’re on expedia searching for cheap flights so you can plan your next trip.

    I can’t wait to see pictures of the magical moments tomorrow!

  5. Joanna Says:

    I love your sentence about parenting. It’s not all fun and not all aggravation, it’s a combo of both! We’re heading to Mexico in March…wish us luck!
    Can’t wait to hear and see more about your trip.

  6. Laura Says:

    I’m glad you survived!! Can’t wait to see pictures.

  7. christine m tomberlin Says:

    Ha! I love ALL the mommy posts…you all keep each other sane. I guess this amnesia cycle first starts with childbirth…or with the round trip airplane flight across the ocean…who remembers the pain? As an elder, I have been thinking back on my life lately and I truly realize…those so intense times are only memories that almost seem like they happened to someone else although I was there to watch them happen and remember. The moral–and you know it—enjoy THE MOMENT as it happens. Focus on the wonderful each and every moment. That is where the joy is–no where else. You can have the memory (which fades) but you can only experience it once.

  8. Lori Says:

    Well, I have to first say that I don’t mind traveling with Jack. It’s like another child takes over him as we travel. He loves it and is just normally very easy going about it all. Having said that, I’m terrified now b/c we are going to Disney at the beginning of March and I feel I may have jinxed us:) He is soooo slow too and sadly, like Matthew, won’t ever get to be part of the Amazing Race. Ben is slow and I am speed demon… go, go, go – and if I don’t learn to live in Jack’s world soon, I am going to LOSE MY MIND b/c of our different speeds!! But, after reading your post, all I heard was JOY and MIRACLE, and an image that is yours forever … and I am totally PSYCHED for our Disney trip so thanks!!

  9. Cori Says:

    Disney was the hardest vacation we have ever gone on for those very reasons, and yet, it is the vacation I fantasize about most often now. The memories are simply priceless.

  10. Tracy Says:

    I always come home exahusted from vacations!! But I always come home with a lot of wonderful memories. Have fun!!!

  11. Sue Says:

    oh this is so, so true!!! you said it all perfectly.
    and, you are so, so right that it’s the joy and laughter that you remember and that keeps you going back for more family trips. so glad you had those special moments on this magical trip.
    (and just think, come july you’ll have a “real” vacation to atlanta – one with sleeping in, zoning out, and romantic dinners – if you so choose!!)

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