In the interest of full disclosure, there are a few things I must confess before we begin:
1) While I am a parent, I am not a mommy – though I am beginning to develop breasts, and while I find them a wonderful addition to a woman’s anatomy, they suck on men.
2) Despite what you have just read, two decades of serving the public as a bellman in Niagara Falls has left me an expert in travel and so I am confident dispensing advice to mommies everywhere.
Let’s begin, shall we?
As anyone with half a brain-box and an ounce of compassion knows, being a mother is the toughest job in the world. Even the guy who wrangles, feeds and cares for Donald Trump’s hairpieces wouldn’t give up his day job to be a mom. That said, I know that any mom worth her salt has realized the inescapable truth of their existence.
Being a mother means you’re the one who sacrifices your free time, your sleep, sometimes your looks and fashion sense, and above all, your sanity, so the ones you love can have the best existence you can possibly give them.
It sucks at times… but it fulfills you like nothing else ever could.
And besides, being a mother means you can drink all the wine you want… and no one can ever deny how entitled you are to it.
Now that I’ve massaged the ego of every mom reading this – which was long overdue, I bet – let’s get down to brass tacks. To suggest that traveling with one’s brood can be a challenging experience is like suggesting that Trump has a little evolving to do. Let’s face it: “family vacation” is one helluva oxymoron – and no one suffers more from this sad fact of life than a mother.
So what can you do about it, ladies?
I’m glad you asked. Here are a few tips that could – when applied correctly an hour after swimming – mean the difference between an unforgettable vacation and a hellish memory you can never shake regardless of how much Drano you drink.
Never do that.
After burning hours forcing a bowling ball through the head of a pin (perhaps I’m being generous, but so be it), I’d say you deserve some R & R. In a perfect world you’d leave the family behind and live it up. But the world is far from perfect, right? So if you’re going to travel with the clan, make sure you take care of you along the way, all right?
2) Make damn sure the family takes care of you too! You can’t do it all. I know what you’re thinking, “Don’t I do enough, Hook? I shouldn’t have to make my significant other and rug rats take care of me… the ungrateful louts should know enough to do that anyway!”
Yes, they should. But only if you’ve done the legwork in the past and made it clear that it’s merely a matter of common courtesy to repay the person who cooks your meals, scrubs your disgusting laundry, changes your filthy sheets and attends to literally a million other details of everyday life.
Growing up, I was taught to pay close attention to all the hard work my mother put in on my behalf.
I was also taught that forgetting my mother’s familial contributions would result in an epic ass-whupping.
And no, I’m not kidding.
So make sure your family never forgets how important you are. With a little hard work and compassion, everyone can enjoy a family trip equally.
3) When planning a trip, make your voice heard! Moms: when the subject of a family trip comes up, what’s the first thing you say? Besides, “Which organs can we afford to part with to pay for this trip?”, I mean.
“Where would the kids love to go?”
Don’t bother trying to deny it, it’s written all over your lovely face. You know what I think? Your kids don’t need to have an entire trip tailored around them… they’re kids! They’re live lives of complete and total leisure! They don’t even have jobs, for Pete’s sake!
Pick a place you’ve always wanted to go and tell the spouse and kids…
“This is where we’re going… and you’re going to love it! I’ve done enough for this family.. it’s payback time! Disneyland isn’t going anywhere… it’s Mommy’s time to live it up!”
Sure, your kids are going to bitch and maybe your spouse will roll their eyes so hard it hurts, but so what? They’ll live, but you may not unless you get a little mental release.
And speaking of which…
4) Family trips can be wonderful, life-affirming journeys that strengthen bonds and can result in treasured memories, but… Parents need to have “alone” time too. The number one cause of divorce is neglect. One partner, or both, feel the other isn’t making enough time for the marriage.
Don’t do this. I’ll be very cross with you.
That having been said, many families these days don’t spend nearly enough time together. Family dinners are a thing of the past – and not just because of shift work – and society as a whole has suffered.
So what do we do? I’m glad you asked. Again.
Take a good hard look at your finances and stretch that travel budget to its limits. Scour the web for deals. Take short trips as a couple if that’s all you can afford in time and cash. Just be sure to never forget that you’re a wife, mother, family-builder/glue AND a sexual being worthy of romance and mind-blowing orgasms.
5) Atlas was condemned to bear the heavens upon his shoulders, and these days, many mothers feel compelled to repeat this feat daily. Don’t be Atlas. I’m not repeating myself; this isn’t about taking care of your needs and desires while on vacation. This is about planning, packing, unpacking, and a billion other chores that are a necessary part of traveling.
Let’s get real here: leisure can be hard work. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Get your family involved. Kids spend eighteen hours a day online anyway, so get them involved by having them research prospective destinations. (Besides places with giant rats in shorts, that is.) Have the little ankle biters pack the car with your spouse – after you have them pack their own bags.
(Just be sure to inspect their suitcases before they leave the house. The family pet will thank you.)
Make sure every family member pulls their weight and you’ll keep a few hairs from turning grey – hopefully.
But if you’re traveling with your household and you notice that everyone is spending more time with their heads glued to their devices rather than interacting? Well then, bunky, you’ve got a problem.
Okay, so maybe you actually hate your family. I’m not judging, it happens. But let’s assume you’re all pretty decent mammals, shall we?
Spend real time together.
Don’t text, talk to each other. (Yes, kids, people actually do that, it’s not just something you see on YouTube.)
The family you save will be your own.
That’s all I have for you today. Take my advice for what it’s worth. By the way, at current market value, that’s about fifty bucks, Canadian.
See you in the lobby, kids…