Chicago family vacations are all about the kids

Someone once told me that when you go away and bring your kids with you, it’s called a trip; when you go alone, it’s called a vacation.

As we start to get ready for our third family trip, I get it. Packing an electric cooler filled with juice boxes instead of beer, bringing DVD’s of kids movies instead of filling my iPhone with my favorite jams, and making sure I bring enough SPF 1000 instead of buying cute new flip flops for myself are all evidence its more about the kids.

The first time we realized vacations were no longer about what we wanted to do, we were at the mercy of a six-month-old baby who wasn’t too keen on being in his car seat. We drove to Hilton Head for what we thought would be a relaxing change of pace. Turns out, I did everything there that I did at home: change diapers, do laundry, wash pump parts, breastfeed around the clock, except I did it near the ocean.

I don’t care what anyone says, pumping is awkward even when you watch the tide come in.

The next time we realized vacation was no longer about us was when we took our kids, then ages 1, 2 and 3, to Northern Wisconsin for a long weekend of autumn “fun.” Brian and I spent the weekend chasing three toddlers around a new place making sure no one got hurt or broke anything.

The only benefit was that we probably lost 10 pounds each chasing them around in a frenzy.

Truth be told, the inconveniences of travelling with kids weren’t the worst part about these trips though. When we talk about it and we show the kids pictures, they have no memory of either of them. So, Brian and I decided to wait a few years before taking another big family trip.

So, this year is the year. We are packing everything but the kitchen sink and hitting the open road. There will be adventures and new experiences, giggles and fun. This time, they are all old enough to remember it!

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