First Family Vacation: The Illusion Vs. The Reality

Since coming up with the “LoveButBlog” for the name of my little project last year (I LOVE my family BUT…), I’ve come up with several alternative names. There’s not much I can do about it now. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that. But the one that sticks with me the most is “Welcome to the Shit Show,” which is actually what I entitled the photo album from our first-ever family vacay. We’ve gone on several trips to visit relatives with the kids, but a couple of weeks ago we went to Cape Cod with friends on a true week-long vacation. There were two other couples and six kids in total. Totally manageable, right? While I have no regrets and loved seeing some of my best friends, there was definitely a discrepancy between what I envisioned and what actually went down during those seven days:

Wally World


Illusion: I can’t wait to show off my kids to my friends! They’re the best.

Reality: I’m not sure if this happens to you, but my kids go Max-Weenie when they get around a lot of other kids. I tried to pass off the “deprived of oxygen at birth” excuse to no avail.

Illusion: I can’t wait to catch up on my reading.

Reality: Well, I did read my kids the riot act.

Illusion: Vacation Sex!

Reality: Zzzzzzzz…drool…Zzzzzz

Illusion: The weather is going to be perfect.

Reality: It rained for two days in a row, during which the kids bounced balls off each other’s faces each and every second.

Illusion: I can’t wait to catch up with two of my best girlfriends for some much needed chill time.

Reality: The women were the cookers of hot dogs, wipers of asses, and the keepers of peace while the guys went out for ice and came back drunk three hours later (true story).

Illusion: Vacation — time to unwind, bitches!

Reality: I walked away with more wrinkles and several nervous ticks. I needed a vacation from my vacation. And some heavy, heavy meds.

Illusion: Eating out to sample the awesome east coast cuisine is going to be a slice of heaven.

Reality: Two words: SHIT SHOW.

Illusion: We’re going to get a babysitter and rent a limo to go down the Cape and party like it’s 1999!

Reality: After removing the child who was holding on to my leg en route to the car, we went to the corner bar and partied like it’s 2013 and we are really, really old.

Illusion: The group photos are going to be amazing.

Reality: #groupphotofail



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  1. Val says:

    Vacations get much better once the kids get older!!! Trust me!!! XO

  2. Rochelle says:

    Wow, you are very accurately describing several of the vacations I’ve been on with my husband & kids! Even when I try VERY hard to schedule some me time & set things up so I can be as sane as possible. Thanks for a well-written piece that reassures me that I’m not alone. So few women will ever admit the shit-show aspect of vacationing with kids. Or the holidays.

    Love your writing, will keep reading. Best,

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