For years, I would see people posting pictures of all the fun they had with their kids on a trip and wonder why we weren’t like that. But then I realized something huge. For every perfect photo or video posted there were hundreds of screams, cries and whines that went along with it.

If you have kids then you know that going anywhere with them is not a vacation, it’s a trip. You are relocating yourselves for a period of time away from home. It will be exhausting and not every second will be fun. You’ll get frustrated and yell at your kids the same way you do at home. Going on a trip doesn’t magically take away all of your problems and/or stressors. In fact, in some cases it exacerbates them. BUT, if you can wrap your head around all of this and set realistic expectations for yourself and the trip you’re about to take then it will change everything.

We knew going to the beach for two weeks would have its challenges. I mean, we took two toddlers and a dog to the beach without childcare or help from family members. It’s definitely not for everyone but I can honestly say that I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Well, not every part. The part where my husband left for five nights to go on a golf trip is something I will never do again. It’s different when you’re at home and one of you leaves for a few nights, you have your sitters and friends for playdates. On a trip, it’s just you. I missed my husband and the girls missed their dad. Live and learn, we survived!

So what did we do for two weeks at the beach? We swam in the pool, went to the beach, jumped waves, looked for fish, collected seashells, played on the playground, rode scooters, watched TV, played games, took golf cart rides, became really strong swimmers, took naps, ate ice cream and went on walks. We didn’t go above and beyond to find things to do. We lived simply and spent quality time together as a family of four.

Did Zach and I look at each other on several occasions and ask, ‘why did we do this again?’ We sure did! The girls whined and fought every single day, multiple times a day. They missed home and their friends. They wanted to sleep in their own beds and play in their playroom. I missed having help, my bed, my workout classes and my friends. Sadie definitely missed her backyard (can’t forget about her, lol).  But you know what? I think that’s one of the most important parts of taking trips. You realize what you have back home and you appreciate it all so much more.

So what did we learn?

  1. Kids don’t need you to go above and beyond to plan any wild excursions or adventures. Going on a trip is the adventure!
  2. Kids thrive on routine and it makes our life easier when they thrive; so we setup a routine while we were at the beach.
  3. You don’t have to go to the beach every single day just because you’re there.
  4. Say yes to way more than you would at home. Remember, they need a break from your every day life too. A donut for breakfast while you watch a show? Heck yes!
  5. Eating dinner on the beach is better than eating dinner at a restaurant. Sunset sandwiches are always a good idea!

We know we are in the sweet spot with our girls and their ages. We no longer need all of the stuff when we travel, they are independent enough, they still want to be with us, they still enjoy the little things in life and they go to bed early. Holding on tight to this time.

Forever grateful for this trip. I’ll never ever forget it and neither will they. As we were driving out of town to head home Emerson said to me, ‘Mommy, I really don’t want to leave the beach. I love it here!’ I turned to her and said, ‘Me too, sweet girl and it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. We will be back!’