Is it Still A Vacation if You Don’t Go Anywhere?

On May 26th, my husband and I will have been married 8 years; the past three with kids. These years have been pleasant, with most of the usual ups and downs of a relationship. It’s possible we experienced the 7-year-itch but who is to say; we have both been semi-conscious for the past 12 months, ever since our second son was born.

The past year has been stressful. To say the least. I knew that going from one to two kids would be harder in some ways and easier in others, but I didn’t expect the hard ways to be so physically exhausting. The logistics of getting out of the house in the morning, for example, have near-paralyzed me on more than one occasion. I did not expect to be paralyzed by the prospect of a trip to the grocery store. I am a grown woman, one who takes a lot of vitamins!

In part it has been harder parenting two because it is so relentless. There is never enough time for everyone. Baby / toddler come first, depending on who is screaming louder, then me if there’s energy and if there’s a LOT of energy I might have it in me to talk to my husband for 10 minutes before crashing out to watch Gossip Girl. Most days I run out of energy at baby / toddler.

So way back in December when my mom offered to look after the boys while my husband and I went away for a weekend, I did not stop to ask if she was kidding. (I think she actually was.) I emailed him immediately: Where should we go? He booked off an extra day over the May long weekend and we decided we would go to Seattle. It’s a 3-hour drive, so easy to do in a day with time at the end to enjoy dinner, a nice walk, some beer. A lot of beer. Whatever.

However, as the months have passed, it has become clear that our younger son is not a good sleeper. He does not sleep through the night, he sometimes has panic attacks if anyone but me goes to him between 9 pm and 5 am, he takes an hour to drink a bottle; would much prefer to nurse. My mom is valiantly standing by her offer – is, in fact, convinced she can “cure” him over a weekend, whatever that means – but we still feel kind of iffy about the whole deal. Until recently, we still had hope that the little guy would grow out of his sleep issues by the time he was a year old.

And then there is this crazy flu sweeping the continent, which makes us not so keen to cross a border of any kind, even in our car, which is probably more toxic than any surface we might touch in Seattle, given that I think the last time we cleaned the car was when we put the baby’s car seat in it, oh, about a year ago now.

That’s a lot of cheerios and raisins, guys.

Just the other day I decided that giving up on a 3 day long vacation is ridiculous. So yesterday, when my husband suggested we just go stay in a hotel in downtown Vancouver, a mere bus ride away from our townhouse in the ‘burbs, I did not laugh. After all, we used to live downtown, so we already know our way around. We know where the beer is. We could even splash out on a nice hotel, one which is disinfected every time you leave your room. And the money we save on gas we can spend on shoes!

Don’t tell him I said that.

Call it an anniversary gift. Or call it a celebration of our youngest (and final-most) child’s first year of life. It won’t be a vacation like others I have experienced – a week in an all-inclusive hotel in Cuba springs to mind – but at this point in my life, my standards are different. If I am with the man I love enough to make kids with, talking without being interrupted (and without having to explain to the interrupter how to do it politely) and neither of us has to get up at 5 am, it will be as much vacation as I need right now.

(Originally posted at the Canada Moms Blog.)

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