I remember when I was single, or even when it was just Manly Guy and me, how easy it was to do stuff. Walk out the door with a purse (or, for a guy, wallet and phone) and you’re good. Even when planning a trip, you packed your bag in a few minutes and you were off. (When we were leaving for our honeymoon, we had not packed anything when our ride arrived to take us to the airport, and we left 1/2 hour later . . . )
Having children changes nearly every aspect of your life, but it is particularly striking to me how much harder it is to do stuff when you have kids in tow. As an adult, you just have to make sure that you are clean and dressed, maybe there is some fussing (make-up, hair, etc), but you just have to worry about You. When you add children to the mix, you not only have to account for them being clean and dressed, but you must be concerned with the last time they ate, if they have recently gone to the bathroom, carrying extra clothing, bringing along snacks and water, and a myriad other details.
Then there is traveling with kids, which ups the ante significantly. You must have everything you *might* need, all clothing, toiletries, entertainment, maybe a bucket if you have kids who get carsick easily . . .
A week ago on Monday we got back from a four-day/three night trip to Tahoe. Overall, it was great: kids loved visiting the snow, we got everyone on the slopes one day (kids on skis, hubby and I on snowboards), we had a nice visit with our friends with whom we shared the condo, and I even had a spa day, always a big bonus.
It took only two days to hear one of the kids say: Can we do that again soon?
I know I should be glad that it was such a great experience that they want to repeat it, but my initial response was “Do you have any idea how expensive that was? How much work?”
Kids really have *no* appreciation of what it takes to pull off a trip. When things go smoothly, they just assume that details magically work themselves out instead of realizing that their mother has a minor case of OCD. I start planning months in advance, and try to think of as many details as possible. The reason why we had never all been to Tahoe before was because of the effort and cost required to pull off a trip for a family of six. For a decade I was either pregnant, breastfeeding, or had a toddler (or a combination). Snow sports trips are expensive, and I wasn’t willing to go to the mountains and babysit. On this trip I did see some families with babies- Hats off to ’em!- but it just seemed like too much work for not enough payoff.
Since our youngest is four and could definitely go to ski school, we decided this was the year to try it. The kids had been asking to visit the snow for months, and I felt like we couldn’t put it off anymore. It was late in the season when I booked the condo, so when I started visiting stores to buy the necessary winter apparel I found little available. After visiting several stores, I ended up ordering snow bibs online, and finding gloves, boots and other warm things in a variety of places. It took about two weeks to assemble enough winter clothing for us all to be comfortable in the snow.
Our day on the slopes was a success, much to my relief! All three girls enjoyed ski school, our son did well on skis by the end of the day (despite a very rough start in the morning), and Manly Guy and I managed to remain injury-free, even though neither of us had been on a snowboard for many years.
Manly Guy took all the kids sledding the next day, freeing me and our friend up for the day, so we hit the spa. It was really great to get some time with a girlfriend to hang out, read a book, get pampered, enjoy some lunch, have a cocktail afterward. Never mind that the kids got really sunburned on their faces– they had so much fun in the snow!
So while the trip went really well, and I’d like to see us make it an annual event, I am not willing to commit to going more than once per year. Maybe when the kids are teenagers I could see going more frequently, but not now. It is a big job to get all the gear together, organize everything and everyone, book the condo, hope that it isn’t snowing when we need to drive up or down the mountain, plan meals, try to keep everyone healthy before the trip (we had a kid with the flu at the beginning of the trip and went home with another kid just coming down with the same bug).
Now to get back to planning our Disneyland trip in May . . .