Dear Parents of Children Under Four,
I know you have Post Traumatic Vacation Stress (PTVS). I get that right now the concept of ‘vacation’ is really a giant, seething, stressful mass of moving parts and screaming, overtired children that you have to participate in for some amorphous benefit called ‘memories’. You don’t remember when something like this was actually enjoyable. You live in fear of the week before vacation when you make endless lists of ‘Things to Pack’, ‘Things to Keep Children Occupied During Travel’ and ‘Things We Might Need in Case of Every Possible Catastrophe’. When you’re actually on vacation you think, with longing, about how perfectly your home is equipped with everything you need. You wonder why the idea of leaving that oasis of sanity and already-childproofness was ever attractive in any way.
I’m here today to tell you there is an end to the madness. Right past when your youngest turns four a magical thing will happen: vacation will become fun again. Suddenly you can throw the kids in the car with a couple of changes of clothes and some handheld gaming instruments and go. It’s amazing how much space you will have leftover in your car without the previously requisite pack-n-play, double stroller, high chair, packages of diapers, extra bottles and sippycups. The kids will generally keep their shit together if you keep them filled up on drivethru food and their brains glazed over with video games and movies.
The intrinsic properties of ‘The Vacation’ will begin to make sense again. You forgot about ‘relaxing’, but you’ll be hooked again. The kids can play and entertain themselves in a new setting. You can pretty much do whatever you want when you want and you DON’T HAVE TO WORK. You used to prefer actual work over the horrifying amount of work vacation entailed. You’ll realize this vacation thing is THE BEST.
I know it seems like forever, but the PTVS will end. Put your head down and push through.
A Parent of Children Over Four, Seeing the Light
Try not to get so would up all the time. Your mother says stress kills braincells. Which means you’re lucky you can still operate WordPress.