Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Are Family Vacations Worth It?

Super tired kids and hubby are off to school, the washing machine is working hard, a van load of stuff has vomited all over my living room and I am sitting here processing this past weekend, wondering: Are family vacations worth it?

This weekend, we took our annual family snowboarding trip.

Is all that planning, packing, and preparing worth it?

We spent the large part of Saturday morning just making sure all 5 kids had snow pants, gloves, hats, long underwear, boots, and warm socks that fit. Saturday afternoon was spent running to Walmart for a pair of long johns and running to a friends to borrow a pod since kids AND luggage do not both fit in a our Toyota Sienna anymore. And then that night was spent packing bags and coolers and more bags and more coolers and more bags and more bags.

Is the time off work worth it? Is an inbox of a hundred emails and the feeling of being behind worth it? Is all the laundry worth it?

What about the long hours in the car? What about the long hours of kids fighting in the car? I thought family vacations allowed families to connect and bond? Does fighting and me yelling, "No talking for the next 20 minutes!" constitute connecting and bonding?

What about the broken computer screen and the broken handle to the van's trunk? Like a family vacation is not a gigantic expense to begin with.  Not only the cost. .but now the inconvenience of having to work on the kids' computer again and having to climb through the van to get things out of the trunk. . .until money and time can be found to fix both. 

Sidenote: I did not lose it on either occasion. I was calm. I explained that both were accidents. I explained that both were problems that money could fix. And that we should be thankful that we did not have problems that money could not fix. I told this to the kid who broke the computer screen and the one who broke the trunk handle. . and to myself like 20 times. But I did not scream or lose it. Those of you who read about my snowman Christmas ornaments know what a victory this was for me!

And what about Rob thinking he was still 18 and snowboarding so hard that he passed out and had to spend over an hour in the first aid room with tubes hooked up to his nose? And then Daniel (our adopted 7 year old from Ethiopia) freaking out when he saw Rob pass out and fall because he had already lost one Daddy and was scared he was losing another one? Are these the memories the parenting magazines are talking about when they speak of family vacations?

Taking a family vacation is not easy. The word vacation is suppose to be synonmous with rest and relaxation, right? I honestly think I work harder on family vacations than I do at home. I work hard getting there. I work hard while we are there. And I work hard when we get back.

So are family vacations worth it? Well. . .

Is the time and expense worth it when Jonathan (who stays in the lodge with me while Rob and the 4 older kids snowboard) says to me over and over, "I love you Mom. I like it being just you and me." Oh yes.

Jonathan and I bring crafts and DVDs and books and gummy bears and quarters for the ski lodge's arcade room. Look at that genuine smile and that twinkle in his eyes!

And is the stress and effort worth it to see Daniel's face when he sees snow for the first time? Or when he gets on a ski lift for the first time? Or when he goes down the mountain without falling? Oh yes!

Or what about when we were all walking back to the van after a full day snowboarding and Daniel says out of the blue, "We are the Best Family Ever" and Rob chimes in, "Yeah, we have the best family ever!" And then all the other kids start hollering and yelling, "Soutters!"

Oh yes. Some things are worth the effort and time and expense.
Intentional women know which things are and which things aren't.

I so enjoy browsing all the posts and sharing my posts at the linky parties so generously hosted at:

The Better Mom
Women Living Well
SomeGirl's Website
Joy in this Journey
A Pause on the Path
Serenity Now
Jill Savage


  1. Dear Su,


    Thanks for the reminder about how great families can be...and acknowledging what all moms know...that going on vacations is HARD work and a bunch of planning :)

    You can't imagine how sad I am that I "found" you so kids are nearly 23 and 21 and not out on their own, but doing mostly their own thing. But you can bet that I will tell them about The Intentional Home when they have families!

    xxx Marjie

  2. This is by far my favorite post ever!!!!
    Sounds like a Holbrook vacation:) Thank you for being honest and reminding me what it's all about! -Lisa

  3. I can so relate to all of this. Really.
    Thank you for writing this one! We all need the reminder to major on the majors like the
    joy of connecting one-on-one with a child and watching our kids' 'firsts.' Good stuff my friend and very well written. Made me smile. :)

    I cannot believe Rob passed out. Oh my..


  4. I too love this post! We always need a vacation from our vacation when we return. Your kids sure are growing up, and every single one is beautiful! Glad Rob is OK. I laughed out loud when I read what happened to him. :). Amy C.

    1. Yes! I always have to remind myself when we take family vacations that "this is not a vacation for me and Rob. . it is a family vacation." But yes, I want a vacation with Rob from our vacation. . .lol.

  5. Great post, Su! I think we can sometimes forget what the purpose of family vacations are, and it is wise to be "intentional" about expectations of vacations. If we are really needing time to rest, perhaps sending everyone out for dinner and a move, while you and Rob stay in is in order! :)

  6. We went snowboarding this past weekend too! Where did you go? Appalachain? That's where we ended up. Lots of fun, sorry about Rob and the broken van/computer.

  7. Aww...I'm just now reading this. This is a really good one. Really enjoy hearing Daniel's remarks and Jonathan's remarks. Awesome!!! Well done!!!

  8. I hope I can remember to stay calm and keep in mind what truly matters on our vacation too. Thanks for sharing!


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