35 answers

Family Vacation Disappointment

My husband and I bailed on our family vacation this week. We wanted to spend the week at a cabin in the mountains. This is something we used to do every summer before we had our son, and thought it would be a lot of fun for him.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out so well and we decided to come home. I feel like a big loser for bailing, but I just couldn't take another day.

Here are my questions. Has anyone else every ended a vacation early because it just wasn't fun? (I know - I'm trying to feel better about the decision and not beat myself up). And, we have plans to return to the cabin for three nights over Labor Day weekend. I'm already dreading it. What can we do to make our time more enjoyable?

Our 14-month old didn't seem to have any fun. He was fussy, wouldn't drink his bottle, and had difficulty with naps. He seemed to need constant attention - wouldn't play independently at all. Any thoughts on what he might have been going through? He wasn't sick, although we thought the altitude might have been making him uncomfortable? We brought a large bin of toys for him, but he really wasn't interested in playing at all.

My husband and I were so ready for this week off together as a family (we both work almost full time and don't have much family time as we work weekends and odd hours to keep day care to a minimum), but now I am almost anxious to go back to work! And I feel terrible for thinking this way. Were our expectations too high for a week alone with a one year old?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Been there done that. Different atmosphere will throw off his emotions. Give it another try. This time it might be better.
Take anything that will help keep him in his routine but find new things for him to do at the cabin. Start a tradition. Let him find something that you will leave at the cabin, a pretty rock or a unique stick that will be there the next time you visit.

New places are hard on little ones. We have family back east and visit then every summer (and a few Christmases). I think because each of my boys started traveling when they were 2-3 mos. old they became adjusted to being in different places, especially because we consistently went to the same few houses (my folks, my in-laws, etc). Although I remember when my oldests was 1-2, the first night in a new place he would throw up. This was hard because we'd be in Boston, then NY, then CT and each time we stayed somewhere new - YUCK! He grew out of it. Just takes time.

More Answers

hi J.,

well lots of "been there did that" responses! yes, travelling with little ones is tough for awhile. i'll spare you my own details, but i did want to add one point to these talks. it's a shocker to the marriage when we first become parents. no doubt we LOVE LOVE LOVE our little ones- but still, it's quite the adjustment with them in our lives 24/7. my husband and i learned early on to take some trips (as fit our budget and time constraints) that did not include our little one(s). at first it was extremely difficult for me because i felt like such a bad mom when i'd go off for a 4 day weekend with my husband and leave my little guy home with grandparents. but, remember that you are more than Mom. you are also your Self and you are a Wife...and all these other people inside you need to be nutured and provided for as well. my advice is to continue with some family vacation time, but also do whatever it takes to have a bit of nonfamily vacation time as well during these first few years as you and your husband adjust to 24/7parenthood.

best to you,


2 moms found this helpful

wow i am sorry but you sound like you were babysitting someone elses child and the they were completely intruding on you and your husbands vacation. if you and your husband both work full time, it sounds like you don't have to take care of your child very often, and that when things get hard you want to pass him off to someone else.
that is how babies are. my little girl drinks tons of bottles some days and others, she doesn't drink as much. kids/babies are just like us. we have days when our moods are different and we might not be as hungry.
you need to buck up and deal with your child. He is yours, you had him. I worked before i had my baby and working was way easier. Go on vacations with him, go out to dinner with him. your life isn't going to be the same, i don't agree with you for bailing out, I know it is hard, but make the most of everything. you said you are already dreading your upcoming trip to the cabin, well then you probably won't like it if you have that attitude. you should be excited and just know that if your son acts different, you are going to have to do what you can so that you, your husband and your baby have a good time.
sorry if this sounds harsh. just make the decision to be happy, no matter what life throws at you.

Yes, I have had to bail before - being alone for a long period of time with my child caught me off-guard - she was 3 and after a few days of 24x7 I realized how hard it was all on my own. When she was 5 I discovered the delight of going on a cruise with her, where we were vacationing together but she could go to the kids' program during the day which she loved... and I could sit and read a ood book for hours without feeling guilty! We both got the vacation we wanted. Don't feel too bad, just know that kids are people too with preferneces, and at the young age of yours it's going to be very hard to tell what he considers a "vacation"! Hang in there...

Boy have I been there. I now have a (just) 2 year old and a 4 1/2 year old. We have been on a lot of trips. It seems they get sick coming or going many times. What I am learning (and sorry if it is a repeat) but, it is work to travel with kids. I am learning to take new things for them. We have always respected their nap times and enjoyed the quiet time when we got them down for a nap. Or when the younger one is napping one goes out with the older for one on one time and the other gets some quiet time.
I hate the idea of plugging my kids in front of the tv (which is what my sister and brother in law do) but, I will say when we went on vacation and I let my son watch a little more I did enjoy the quiet time. We also did many new adventures so I knew he was learning and exploring as well as creating some memories. I am learning to let go of controling it all and to sit back and enjoy more.
Expectations are key. We do want to relax on vacation and it is hard with kids but, just try to go with them....where they are and know you are learning something to make the next time easier.

Your son might have issues with new, strange environments and can't get used to them in just a couple of days. Any place new can throw kids for a loop and cause them to be much different than at home. I know many kids who do this. I'd say give your trip another try over labor day. Your son will probably remember the place this time, and perhaps give him some extra care when you first get there. Hold him and tell him where he'll sleep, where he can play with toys, every little thing. It might make him feel more secure.

Hope it works out for you. Don't give up on vacations just yet. I took my son to Mexico for two weeks when he was 1 year old, so talk about adjustment.

I have traveled with all of my children, and I have found that when I let them "navigate" (when we eat, when they play...) and keep the routine similar to what the are used to they adjust pretty well. Babies are creatures of habit and routine. Next time try taking his favorite toys and blankies. Give him time to adjust to new surroundings- was he allowed to explore or is the cabin not childproof? don't try leaving him alone- let him always be able to see/hear you until he feels comfortable. Try to keep his routine (naps, eating...) the same or as close to it as possible. Talk about your trip with him before hand- he's young yes, but it does give him words to the new place (cabin). He's insecure with the new surroundings and just needs time to adjust. Also if you continue to go to the cabin he will come to know it and do much better each time.

This sounds like me last September. We took our then 18 month old daughter to Vancouver as my hubby had business meetings. It was so different for her to have to be quiet in a new environment (a hotel). She also had ear infections, so she was crabby. The travel there (we flew from Denver to Seattle, then drove across the border) was too much for her. My hubby had no patience for her and he and I ended up fighting.
Aside from being sick, I think it was pretty overwhelming for her and she did not know how to react to the situation. We are taking her and her little bro to San Fransisco for the same set of meetings this year, and I am dreading it too.
You hear of people taking their very small children for extended trips or camping and they think it should be so easy for everyone. Not in my case!! Sorry this was rough for you!

Been there done that. Different atmosphere will throw off his emotions. Give it another try. This time it might be better.
Take anything that will help keep him in his routine but find new things for him to do at the cabin. Start a tradition. Let him find something that you will leave at the cabin, a pretty rock or a unique stick that will be there the next time you visit.

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