When Dad Doesn't Go on the Family Vacation

Updated on June 09, 2011
C.B. asks from Oskaloosa, KS
17 answers

hi moms, i don't know if anyone can help with this, but any advice would be so helpful. my husband has discovered dave ramsey, and somewhere in there, a work ethic i never knew he had :) i am NOT complaining. but he has decided that he cannot in good conscience go on our family vacation, because he does not have paid time off at work. i do, and we have saved up for this trip. but if he went it would be a week (actually 6 work days) with no pay. SO i have supported his decision, i've told him i am proud of him for making such a difficult, selfless decision. i ensured that he was really serious, and then it was decided that my mom would come with my son and me, to help with him (he is 4 and it is an 18 hour drive, to go see my HUSBAND'S family). SO long story short, it is now 48 hours before we leave, and hubby is stressing big time. he has not slept well the last two nights, and tonight he was barking at both of us (son and me) and just being a complete jerk over stupid little things. i can tell he is stressed about us making this trip, and probably regretting saying he wouldn't go, but he can't change his mind now because my mom got the time off, and reserved the rental car, etc. (he has since apologized big time, but feels really bad about overreacting to something, and doesn't really want to talk about it more than that)

is there any way i can smooth things over and make things easier for him? i know that he is stressing about us being gone for a week, driving halfway across the country without him, and we will not be back until father's day (at which point we will of course, come bearing lots of "gifts" - father's day gifts, as well as souvenirs for him from our trip). i have tried to not be overly excited (and I AM SOOO excited about this vacation) or rub it in his face, but certain preparations have to be made. it's kind of constantly a topic at this point. we are leaving friday morning. he is trying, but it is a strain on us both. i am already getting kind of sad that we will be going on this trip without him, and i can only imagine how he feels. but he doesn't want to discuss it.

i know i tend to ramble so i'm sorry if this doesn't make sense. i think it's just one of those things that we will have to get through (and we will), but if anyone has been through this and can offer some words of wisdom (i am trying not to talk about it or show too much excitement, fully plan to bring him lots of souvenirs, and call him every day while we're gone, and of course, *ahem*, show him the appropriate appreciation both before we leave (have been all week actually) and after we get back...) i'd be so grateful. am i missing anything?

Hey amanda, thanks for the response. i should add that it's not really feasible for him to go at this point. my mom and he don't get along great - neither wants to be stuck with the other in a car for 18 hours - plus my mom and i rented a smaller car, since we're doing all of this on a small budget. she really would not appreciate me offering all four of us going together, as an alternative - plus she is REALLY looking forward to this trip with my son and me. as i said, hubby and mom don't mesh well, so it would be in really bad taste for me to suggest that....thanks for reminding me to explain that!

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So What Happened?

to all the great moms with advice, which was what i was after, thank you. i know it is not what everyone would do and i appreciate your thoughts. hopefully i explained well enough...although perhaps not- to Jennifer T, i am sorry you think so little of me - but to answer your questions:

1. using our car is not an option, of course if it was that's what we'd be doing.
2. "lots" of souvenirs was regarding what we'll bring back for HIM- i want him to know we will be thinking of him and miss him. "lots" to me means three or four, and maybe a fathers day present on top of that. not sure. our budget is $50 for souvenirs, since you are concerned.
3. my husband is absolutely NOT footing the bill for any part of my mother's vacation. she is splitting food, gas, and the rental car with me, and she is staying with some of her side of the family while there.
4. money isn't necessarily too tight for us to go - like i said, we saved up for this. i am paying for everything with cash, not credit. and "I" have had the same job for 6 years and have earned time off. he hasn't. that was his sole hangup, the income we will be missing while he would be gone. and in my opinion, not only have i earned this vacation, i need it. i think everyone deserves/needs a vacation occasionally.
5. i don't necessarily "need" help with my son on this (18 hour) trip. i was fully planning on going, just the two of us, SO THAT my inlaws can spend time with their grandson that they haven't seen since he was two. my mom was worried about us driving all that way alone, and quite honestly it was the perfect solution, for her to go. she can help him open packages, get into the cooler, keep him ooccupied with this coloring and activity books, manage the dvd player. why doesn't that make sense?
6. my mother isn't visiting my inlaws. i have extended family down there too, which she will be staying with. and out of a 10 day trip i have one day budgeted to spend time with that side. this trip is all about my son spending time with his other grandparents. that was the original purpose. it's still the main focus.
7. if after all this you find me selfish and immature, that's fine. i know i am neither and my motivations for this trip are certainly not selfish - if this trip was about ME, i certainly wouldn't be driving 18 hours with a four year old to visit my inlaws. but that's fine if that's what you think.
8. calling off this trip or uninviting my mom would not "mildly disappoint" her. she would be crushed. we are best friends and have NEVER taken a trip just us. (ok yes my son will be there, but that will be an added bonus). she has been counting on this trip since we first talked about her going.
9. i for dang sure am NOT ruining my family finances. our bills are completely paid for the month, actually we are ahead on a couple, we still have $ in savings after this, and we have very little debt - my college loan and one car payment which has less than a year left on it. of course it's not perfect - whose finances are? but i feel very good about this trip, financially. we actually downgraded from a week in orlando (disney, sea world, animal kingdom, universal, etc) to two days at sea world. we will stay with family for most of the trip. we are brown-bagging most of our meals. to accuse me of ruining my family finances is kind of ignorant. you have no idea.

so thanks again for everyone's words - even you Jennifer T, i do think you were rude and judgmental, but laying out all of this has made me even more happy with our decisions and excited for this trip (sure it's not my idea of a perfect vacation, but heck, we're going to the beach, and sea world! can't wait!) OH and to reply to a couple of you ladies' comments - YES i am 100% sure we will plan better next time and save even more. this will not be happening again. we'll be okay though :) i am sure, like someone said, once we are out of the driveway he'll be just fine. thanks again!

Featured Answers


answers from Redding on

Can you afford tickets for him to fly over for a couple days over the weekend and then fly home so he doesnt miss much work? Maybe he would do that and not feel so bad.

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answers from Washington DC on

Once you pull out of the driveway and it's a done deal, everything will be okay. Execute the plan, enjoy the roadtrip with your mom, have a good time visiting his family and brag about what a responsible man he's being. Once he has a chance to get away for a few days, make sure you guys do something really cool to make up for the trip he didnt get to take. He's probably just having anxiety about his family leaving him home alone and him not being with you to take care of you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I hope I don't sound like a jerk here, because I don't mean to. But he's just going to have to suck it up this time and get over it. It was his decision after all. In the future, he should go on the family vacations. Unless you're in dire straights and can't live without the 6 days of income of course. In that case, I probably wouldn't take the trip without him, just to show support. But really, in the grand scheme of things (and 20 years down the road) are you guys going to remember that he got paid for 6 days, or are you going to remember all the wonderful things about your vacation? You can't get back this time with your son. He'll regret skipping out on family vacations one day. Make memories while you can.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

It sounds like a version of "buyer's remorse". What looked good at the time, now doesn't look so good now. He is probably feeling a little left out and regretting his decision. All you can do is be super understanding, tamp down your excitement (you can squeal all you want once the car has pulled away LOL), promise to make a pest of yourself by calling him 1200 times a day, and yes, show him the proper appreciation before you leave. LOL

Let him know that you are kinda' sad that you are going without him, and tell him that next vacay, he needs to be sure to save up $$$ or hours so he can go with b'c you really would rather he be there with you :(

Maybe you could budget a little money to take a weekend vacay with him to a nice hotel with a pool and a hot tub so he has a chance to "get away" also.

It'll work out. You will have a great trip. He will miss you but realize that he likes the "guy" time. And your reunion and Father's Day will be joyous!!!

Safe Travels
God Bless

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answers from Charlotte on


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Just a quick thought...maybe take some time and prepare him some meals or iron his shirts ahead of time, do some little things like this to get him 'set up' and taken care of while your gone...just something small to remind him that you love him and that you want him taken care of while your gone too? Does he work on the weekends? If not maybe make him a special dinner for Saturday night, rent him a movie you know he has wanted to see or a video game he has wanted to play, make him some brownies/cookies, buy him some beer for the fridge? Go to the grocery store and make sure the fridge is stocked with all his favorites? Stuff like that?? *I know my husband would need cinnamon rolls and bacon :)

~I would be so sad to be leaving The Man behind on a family vacation!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think this is really sad. Knowing what Dave Ramsey is all about, I think he made the right decision. Its too bad you couldn't have used the money saved for the trip to put it toward debt to pay it down. It isn't really a "family" vacation when your husband is trying to do the right thing and be financially responsible and stay home while you and your son still go. If it were me, I wouldn't even WANT to go without him. I would cancel the whole thing and stay home with hubby but now its probably too late. And really I don't blame him for being pissy. I mean you're going on vacation without him. I don't think I could do that. That's just my opinion. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsfield on

When DH is unable to go with us, I re-frame the situation as an opportunity for him to have some much- deserved time to himself- not that it takes long for him to see it that way ;)

I understand he has to work, but when he gets out, maybe he can get together with some of his friends- go to a movie or out for a bite.

My husband will usually get Indian food (either with his friend that also likes it or has it at home and rents a movie- some shoot'm up thing he doesn't usually get to see.) He spends time on the computer, relaxes with a beer, and doesn't worry about cleaning up after himself (until hours before we come home -lol ). Not that he doesn't miss us, but he knows he'll see us again soon. He has a very stressful job, so it's nice for him to have some time to himself.

I know time alone is a treat I would relish, so I'm happy for my husband when he gets that. Maybe some day, I'll get a chance... of course, I'd probably wind up spending most of it cleaning/ organizing/ re-decorating lol

Have a great trip!! :o)

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answers from Washington DC on

Been there done that. He's stressing because he cares.
One thing that might help is if you have him write a 'survival guide' for you. That way his wisdom will be there.

Also, if you have a computer with a webcam, then he can see you and your son each night...

Oh, and don't forget to stock up the fridge and freezer for quick meals...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Reassure him that while this will be a special time for you and your mother to spend with little one He can certainly plan to come on the next vacation!
I love planning (over planning!) vacations and it's not to early to talk about Next year's. My husband spends his (non paid vacation time) with mission trips for the church so my son and I go on vacation without him. So far I have taken short close vacation trips but I plan to increase both as my son is older. He's made his choice but is being a baby about it and you need to be the sweetheart that reassures him IT"S OK IN the end it will be fine, stress is always very hard on a marriage

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, I understand and respect the decision he made BUT he's just going to have to trust you & mom to make the trip.

Just be sure to pay ca$h for all of the gifts and souvenirs or it'll push him over the Dave Ramsay edge....LOL

The good news? I'll bet this is the last time he misses a vacation!

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answers from Los Angeles on

All I can say is, if his job does not pay for a lot of vacation time, make sure to budget it in for next year. One should still take at least 3 weeks off every year if not more. My husband owns his own buisness. No buisness owner gets paid time off, so he puts aside money every month in our "goals and travel" account. As well, he has to save up to cover the time off since he can't very well take a hit of half pay one month if he takes 10 days. Its all about planning ahead, weither you own your own buisness, or your job does not offer much paid time off. That doesn't mean you shouldn't make arrangements for much needed time with your family. I hope this is a one time thing and you can budget for it next year.
I've had to work when my husband had vacation time. It sucks. Just be understanding, but enjoy your vacation.

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answers from Kansas City on

I think you should make him a "man" basket for his "vacation" at home. I mean seriously, he will be happy to have some time to himself! I know he's bummed and I'm sure it has more to do with the fact that it sucks to be in the position that he's in, not being able to take paid vacation, than actually regretting his decision. He's just mad about it and honestly, who can blame him. He'll get over it. Anyway, my point was, I think you should throw together a very quick little bag of treats for him...like a 6 pack of beer, some snacks he likes, a Sports Illustrated, etc. and leave it with a note attached saying something cute and sweet. He'll appreciate the gesture and honestly, I think he will be happy to have some time to himself, plus he'll be so excited when you come home and will probably offer to take care of the baby so you can rest and if he doesn't, remind him about the basket!! ;)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Your husband and mother are in the "Cat Bird Seat". She's getting you and the kids to herself, he's going to be on "Man Vacation", the minute you pull out of the drive way. I'd suggest let mom take the kids and you stay home with your man......IF he is truly sorry for NOT wanting to go along with the family, he SHOULD welcome the time to spend JUST with you.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

What I might do is, make it a "stay-cation" instead. Have your mom over and have some fun days at fun activities near your home (or day-trip type places). That way, your DH is not stressing about you traveling so far, and is not feeling guilty about it, and he also gets to enjoy at least a little of the vacation -- be sure to plan something fun for Father's Day or for the weekend when you're home, maybe even let him pick from some ideas. A couple of thoughts for fun things: go to the zoo, go to the water park, go to local farms for pick-your-own strawberries, then come home and make homemade strawberry icecream (google it--it's really easy to do with cream, sugar, 2 ziploc bags or coffee cans, and rock salt) or pies or shakes or whatever; take a day trip to the local children's museum or a trail-riding place; plan a picnic & go to your local/metro/state park; camp overnight at a local state park, etc. For Father's Day, make DH a special dinner.

I would rather be with my DH & not go on a trip, than go with me & our LO (even if my mom came; I love my mom tremendously, but I love my DH more.:).

You'll also be helping to save money (no rental car, no hotels, less meals away from home, etc.) So you can show extra solidarity with your DH in his/your financial goals. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm with MzKitty - he's probably annoyed that while he is "doing without" and being responsible and doing the mature thing that is best for your family, YOU are still taking a vacation. the expense of renting a car(could you take your own to cut down costs?), gas, "lots" of souvenirs? and he's footing some of the bill for YOUR MOM, who doesn't even like him, to go? idk, if money is too tight for him to take off and go with you, money is too tight for you to go. and why do you need "help" with a 4yo on a car ride to visit his family? why is your mom visiting the family of someone she dislikes so much? seems very strange and honestly, quite selfish/immature on your end. i'd mildly disappoint my mom before i'd ruin my family finances. he was probably hoping at the beginning that when you saw he was serious about not going, you'd follow suit in making the same decision. i hope you guys have a SAFE trip!

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answers from Jacksonville on

Can you all go? If he is able to get the time off, I think you should discuss him going. Your mom can still go. That is what I would try to do.

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