Have A Wonderful Spring Break But I Won’t Be Going Anywhere Because I’m Not Wealthy Like You Are!

shutterstock_180543926I have so much spring break bitterness. Can we make that into a hashtag? #Springbreakbitterness. I mean, I am happy for everyone I know who takes their family to visit the mouse or to a lovely seaside resort or camping for spring break. Y’all go and have fun and send me a postcard but I’ll be at home trying to entertain my kids with Netflix and cookie baking and other fun-filled activities. Like picking sticks up out of my yard. I know this is all a gigantic white whine and I do realize how lucky and blessed (#blessed) I am and that we always have enough food to eat and running water and electricity but I can’t help but feel jealous when my Facebook feed starts to fill up with everyone’s plans for the week long spring break. I don’t get how average families can afford these things.

Maybe people are excellent at budgeting and don’t resort to ordering pizza as much as we do. Maybe families forgo HBO in order to spend a week building sandcastles and playing in the sunshine. I think part of my problem is that I’m horrible at budgeting and I’m not good at saving money and the only time we care about putting money away is for college or retirement. I could probably manage to stick some money away on a monthly basis but then something always comes up, a major appliance not covered by homeowner’s insurance will break or the car will need something or my kids demand money for book fair. All these dumb little things add up and before I know it I am out of fun money and things like week-long trips seem totally out of the question.

Growing up my parents took us to the beach and places like that. I always feel guilty that I’m not creating the same memories for my own kids by taking them on vacation. They have travelled before, but it’s been a few years and we have no tradition, like going to the same place year after year. I know people who do this. I sort of hate them.

I’d probably be able to afford taking my kids somewhere if we were doing all these stupid home repairs. My kid’s will enjoy spring break seeing the carpet removed from our main bathroom. That’s fun, right? They can help select a moderately priced tile and we can all go to Target and buy some new towels. Maybe I can buy them a slushy maker and put some paper umbrellas in their cups and they can marvel at getting a toilet that doesn’t seep filthy water on the carpet. It will be as good as Disneyworld. The rest of you going somewhere lovely with maid service that makes your bed for you and eating at restaurants and gazing at picturesque sunsets and working on your tan? Think of me. I’ll be dreaming of the day that my day to day wasn’t such a lame moneysuck and I get to join you at the beach. Until then at least I’ll have pizza and HBO.

(Image: J.D.S/shutterstock)

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    • Kat

      I suspect that a lot of people are so #blessed because they are up to their eyeballs in #creditcarddebt and are just trying to #keepupwiththejones.

      As someone who just paid for a massive hospital bill, taxes, and car repairs, I will also have #Springbreakbitterness for the next ten years, since it will take that long before we can save up to go anywhere.

      • DP

        My thoughts exactly. I may not get to do as much cool stuff as I see other people doing, but I have zero credit card debt, and that’s way better than spring break!

      • Metsy

        Absolutely. I’m sure most people I know have #creditcarddebt up to their eyeballs. Nope.

      • Valerie

        So much this. I was talking to my mom about this a few months ago and she said my friend’s parents growing up never seemed to take as many trips as my friends do now. All we could chalk it up to was credit cards.

    • CMJ

      My best friend put a lounger out in her living room, put on her bathing suit, turned on EVERY light, turned up the heat and just had her own spring break one year in high school.

      Needless to say, she got grounded.

      • itpainsme2say

        So much balls

    • CMJ



      • Tinyfaeri

        Yup. Stupid job to pay my stupid bills.

      • Taxes Make Kittens Cry

        Hey, my Bentley ain’t gonna pay for itself… unless… no, it won’t

      • Tinyfaeri

        Drag racing?

      • Valerie

        All we get is our daughter being off for a week and us having to pay more in daycare for full-time care. Blerg.

    • wisegal

      Yeah, I don’t have hbo, let alone cable, and I drive an old beater with 175,000 miles on it, but we are going somewhere on vacation. Priorities, baby!

    • EmmaFromÉire

      So when exactly DO american students go to college??? No seriously, how do semester even work for you? I was in from the last week in september until halfway through december with a week off, then from halfway through january to the end of may with a week off, do you get more holidays there or something?

      (is it to do with your millions of random holidays? Happy Armadillo Day, or something!)

      • Alex

        Semesters usually start in late-August and run through mid-December, then early-January through late-May with a week off.

      • EmmaFromÉire

        Thanks for clarifying! Spring break has always mystified me, but that could be because we’re still in the depths of rainy wet season here. I always forgot how much closer to the the equator the US is compared to Ireland!

      • Linzon

        I’m in the middle of Canada and it’s very un-spring-like here too. Although the snow is finally melting, yay!

      • pixie

        Same here in Eastern Ontario (and in the South-West of the province from what my parents tell me). *sigh* I want it to warm up!

        But yes, definitely yay on the snow finally melting!!

      • CMJ

        It’s pretty much the same in America except for the spring break. We start earlier and end later so it seems to even out.

      • pixie

        Where I went to school, we started the day after labour day and went to the friday before Christmas, took a break until the monday after New Years, and went until mid-end of June with a week long break in the middle of March (which was last week up here in Canada). In high school, our first semester ended around the end of January/beginning of February to make for equal semesters. Pre-secondary is usually 3 “terms”.

        For university, we start semester 1 around the same time (day after labour day), finish classes first week of December to make time for exams, which go to the thursday before Christmas. Semester two begins the monday after New Years and goes to the beginning of April with exams until mid-April. Our “spring break” is in mid-February, though, and called “reading week”. Some universities (like the one I’m at now) has another reading week mid-October – most schools that have this line it up with our Thanksgiving – as well. The reasoning behind the “reading week” or “spring break” is to lessen the stress on the students, especially the one in the second semester which is scheduled around the time of year when student suicides are the highest.

      • koolchicken

        I’m from New England and we’d go back the day after Labor day, then have a half day the day before Thanksgiving and the day after off as well. Then we’d have a half day 12/23 and wouldn’t be back till a few days after New Years. We’d take a week in February since there would probably be snow days anyway and it’s really cold that month so the heating costs don’t make opening worth it “incase” there’s school. Then we’d get a week in April. It would either line up with Easter or we’d get a few days off there as well. After that we were pretty much in school till mid June. Later if there were snow days to make up.

        However once I was halfway through middle school things started to change. The school year seemed to start earlier and earlier and end later and later. Now it’s like kids get no summer break at all unless their in private schools.

      • Ddaisy

        A lot of places in Canada don’t even call it “spring break” because spring doesn’t really happen till June. We call it “reading week” and hold it in February so we can escape to Cuba for a week while it blizzards back home.

    • Alex

      Something I do miss about school, and what my younger and/or still-in-school friends and family don’t really seem to get, is the entire concept of built-in and virtually obligatory vacations from your standard responsibilities.

      Fall break, winter break, spring break, fucking summer break. No more of that shit, now it’s PTO (if you’re lucky) that you have to accrue and save up for and ask your boss for time off ahead at the same time as everyone else.

      • Rachel Sea

        And if you live in America, you get two weeks if you’re lucky.

      • Holly

        Exactly! I work with a college kid so she takes off work the same time she has spring break etc. My friend works for a college so she gets the breaks off too (2 weeks at Christmas!). Meanwhile, I work at a small business where I get 4 days PTO for 1st 1/2 yr and 4 for 2nd 1/2…and if I get sick those are also my sick days. I freakin hate it. The company I was laid off from a couple years back gave out PTO like candy (2 days added on every paycheck) and I’m quite certain it was the best thing ever and a large part of why I loved working there so much.

    • SarahJesness

      I hope someday I can get a job that allows me to afford vacations. I don’t plan on having kids so that should save me some money. I also plan on living near a beach. When I was a kid, we traveled a lot to see family (and also so my dad could sell food at carnivals and state fairs) but we didn’t really go on any vacations just for the fun of it. Whatever; Minnesota has some cool shit and one of my dad’s carny friends had a shitload of two-headed reptiles.

      • Jen

        Can I ask…..why are you on Mommyish if you are not planning to have kids? Just curious…..

      • pixie

        Mommyish is a very open and accepting community that is not just about parenting or for parents/those planning on becoming parents. Yes a lot of the topics are about parents/children and many focus on parenting as an overall topic, but a lot of what is written about affects society in general. Like topics about gender equality, marriage equality, and racial equality.

        And the STFU, Parents column.

      • SarahJesness

        Yeah, I’m mostly here for the STFU, Parents stuff. And the other things you mentioned.

      • Lackadaisical

        I second Pixie on this. With gloss and crushable linking mommyish stories and vice versa it is easy for the readership of one to start following another after a story of interest and I think hearing a non parent perspective adds to discussions. We aren’t an exclusive society with a secret mum handshake … or at least if we are no-one has taught me it yet

      • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

        Because we are super into the child free by choice and we welcome them here

      • EmmaFromÉire

        I have no children and no plans to have them for around eight or nine years, should I leave too?

      • KarenMS

        In all fairness, she said she was just asking out of curiosity and never said anyone should leave.

      • Tea

        Tons of us on here don’t have, or even want kids. I chill because I like Eve, I want to be a kick ass uncle, I’m the token gay guy, I like Eve, STFUParents is awesome, I like debating/discussing, and did I mention Eve is great?

      • SarahJesness


        (seriously, though, she’s pretty cool)

    • pixie

      I only went on one trip for March Break when I was a kid because it had been planned for for a long time. I was 8 and my parents and I went to Australia (mostly on my mom’s air canada aeroplan points, too) and I missed an extra two weeks because a week is too short to visit Australia. Other than that, though, I never went anywhere for March Break.

      Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s not all about taking fancy and expensive trips, and I’m sure your kids will love you just as much regardless. ;)

      • ted3553

        Yeah Yeah to aeroplan points. The only upside to having to travel for work is I accumulate points which are then used for us. I only had one big vacation at all growing up. Usually we camped or went to the City.

      • pixie

        Yep! My mom travels a LOT for work, so she racks up the points like crazy. She also gets a butt-load of points for hotels which helped save some money when we did the 2 day drive to where I did my under grad every fall and spring (Toronto area to Thunder Bay is one hell of a trip). The time before last when I went over seas was for a few weeks in the summer when I was 16 and it was just me and my mom visiting the UK. She’d saved her points for a while for that one. The only other real family trips we did was a week in Ottawa and a week in Quebec City, since my parents so rarely get time off together.

    • Alicia Kiner

      Yeah, with all the snow this year, kids don’t get spring break here, even if we could afford one.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Feeling this one! We live in a fairly affluent area, so sometimes it seems like EVERYONE is going somewhere warm and fun and exciting. I usually get over it by reminding myself that we’re happy with the choices we’re making (like the education savings we’re building – seriously, in Canada, the government adds 20% to what you contribute, it’s totally worth it!) even if I’m staring out at dirty, frozen snowdrifts and wishing there was a sandy beach in my near future.

      But I’m also avoiding checking out Facebook photo albums for a while ;-)

    • Maria Guido

      I hear you. I don’t even know when spring break is.

    • Tinyfaeri

      My grandmother would take me on trips for at least part of spring break starting when I was about 10, and every summer we would go to my grandparents house (they lived near a beach) for at least a week. My parents would save up for a family vacation every year or two, but they weren’t every year, and were sometimes just long weekends away. I’ve talked to financial planners (who are not just for the wealthy, or I would not have been allowed in the door) who suggest using different bank accounts or savings plans for regular savings (rainy day, house repairs, etc), bills, kids’ college, and maybe something for something fun like a family vacation can be a useful tool. Not that it’s always possible to save for fun things, and there are always emergencies, but I thought it was a nice idea.

      • Natasha B

        We actually do this, it’s a great budgeting tool. We have a main account, and every deposit gets a certain preset amount funneled into the weekly grocery account, each of the kids saving’s, our savings, bills, and a medical account (we fund our own insurance). Each account has it’s own debit/cc.
        That said, no spring break vaca this year-hubs is saving his vacation for when baby arrives.

    • Kay_Sue

      I don’t necessarily care about whether *I* get to go anywhere for Spring Break…but can I send the kids somewhere? Because between the little bit of snow days we had last month (we live in the southern US, I could count on one hand the number of snow days before January 2014) and my eldest (and only school-aged) child being sick a few weeks ago and missing days, I am not looking forward to it.

      Unless it is acceptable to sit back, sip a mimosa and let your children Hunger Games it out in the living room. That is the only way I will make it through in one piece.

      Ours isn’t until the week before Easter though, so we still have time to prepare…. #GrandmaSaveMePlease

      • pixie

        I don’t see why that wouldn’t be acceptable. You can even place bets!

      • Lackadaisical

        We have a trampoline with a netting cage around it and when my kids use it then it can get a little thunderdome (3 kids enter one kid leaves). If all goes badly that might make my Easter holiday quieter.

      • Kay_Sue

        That is a scenario that requires a hammock in the shade and a cold beer for the parent in charge when it happens…

      • Lackadaisical

        Alas my whole garden is shade and the ambient temperature cool enough that no refrigeration is required so not really lazing in a hammock weather. Also I drink bitter rather than larger so if I did anything as sacrilegious as cooling it then old men smoking pipes and wearing knitted jumpers would appear to give me a stern talking to. I chose sitting inside with a book and looking through the window to check every time the kids go quiet, which doesn’t sound as much fun.

      • Kay_Sue

        I dunno. Sounds like more fun to me. ;)

    • Lee

      Some years we get lucky and my family plans a big vacation that we can’t afford and my parents foot the travel and lodging expense since they really want us there. We usually get to go to the beach but this year we are going to Branson for some reason. My parents used their timeshare and we just have to get down there. Not sure what there is to do in Branson but free lodging and a built in babysitter is nice.

    • Rachel Sea

      My wife and I are going to Disneyland on the regular this year, but we have family and friends nearby that we stay with, and a Deluxe pass that gets us 15% off our meals, and admission that is paid off over the course of a year, so to go for a weekend requires us to come up with about $400 for gas, and food. The rest of the time we’re like you, spending on new linoleum, and faucets that don’t require sorcery to turn off.

      I have friends who Prioritize vacations, they own their own business, and could live off that income, but they want to go on multiple huge vacations a year, so one of them also has a regular 9-5, and the bulk of his salary goes to paying for them.

      All the boredom I experienced as a kid, over summers and school breaks with nothing to do had more to do with my parents not having the bandwidth to see that I was isolated, and lonely. We lived in the sticks, so when the neighbor kids went to camp I was the only person under 30 within 6 miles. If I couldn’t get a ride into town, I could go a month without seeing family or friends. If your kids get to see friends, and get out of the house to play, I bet they are having a still having a good time and making great memories.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      I live in the beach town that half the state comes to for spring break. I’m planning on trying to avoid drunk drivers and tourist fights. I went to the store today and there were two men road raging in the parking lot at 2 in the afternoon #soblessed

    • Taxes Make Kittens Cry

      Ways for Eve to take a Spring Break trip:

      1. Demand moar money from The Gloss Network

      2. Sexual harassment lawsuit against Maria

      3. Go cheap. I’m sure you haven’t spoiled your kids to death. You can always find budget hotels/resorts. Take advantage of time shares, fein HIGH interest in their products and ask for a free room. All you need to do is sit through a presentation and say no for 60 mins straight. Camping is still cheap, assuming you have the equipment.

      The point is, your kids are still young enough that you don’t have to go to Cancun, MX to have a memorable vacation for the kiddos.

      • SarahJesness

        Sitting through timeshare presentations is a GREAT way to get cheap vacations. My parents did it a couple time.

      • Valerie

        Yes, but camping fucking sucks.

      • emilyg25

        I never stayed in a hotel, like with a lobby, until I was an adult. Days Inn all the way!

    • Lackadaisical

      We did camping last summer holidays because it is dirt cheap. At under £20 per night it was cheaper than ordering take away pizza for our family of 5. I assume that there are reasons you can’t afford a camping holiday (no tents, high petrol costs due to lack of campsites nearby, can’t afford time of work, hatred of camping, etc.) as I can’t imagine that camping in a tent can be more expensive in the US than UK.

      The easter holidays aren’t a big thing for holidays away here and my modest plans won’t make you jealous. I am spending a few days visiting my in laws which has the added bonus of making my mum sulky because I am not letting her run the entirety of my kids two weeks off of school. Between my mother in law and my mother I shall be pining for school to start up again.

    • Natasha B

      Eh, no spring break here either. If I muster up enough ambition, we’ll hit up the conservatory and a museum or two, maybe even the zoo.
      We budget pretty well (we ditched cable 2 years ago) and usually tool around in our RV in the summer/fall.

    • alllll1

      DH and I both don’t make great money. We have a very expensive mortgage. We still afford to go away at least twice a year. Why? because we save, save, save. I will work side jobs. I will sell things I dont use anymore. I make everything I can, I grow my own food ect ect. Its really p’s me off when people comment to us oooh it must be nice to be able to afford vacations all the time when most of our friends make way more then us. We dont buy anything we dont need, heck I even buy my clothes second hand! I don’t complain…oooh must be nice you can go shopping, or buy pizza, or go to restaurants, or have a gym membership because I choose to spend my money differently then you do.

    • Tea

      Spring break? Pffft, we just paid for a surgery without insurance, that’s our big spending this season.

      God I hate being an adult…

    • AugustW

      If it makes you feel better, I’ll be working 40 hour weeks in a local clinic for no pay to finish my clinical hours.

    • itpainsme2say

      I have a fear of seagulls ( don’t feed them!!!!!!) so beaches hold some danger for me. Also when I was four a shark swam towards me and was about five feet away when my cousin grabbed me and ran to shore. Now I have a mistrust of family and the ocean.#scaredforlife

    • koolchicken

      I don’t think everyone is up to their eyeballs in debt. I think the financial crash took care of most of those people. No, I think you hit the nail on the head. These people who go away year after year are picking other things to enjoy. I go away- a lot. But I don’t eat in restaurants unless I’m on vacation. We recently did away with cable. I don’t buy crap at Target just for the heck of it. I’m picking that week at Disney/the beach/cruise as my entertainment. Like my mother always said, “life is a series of choices”. This is mine.

    • Valerie

      I am so with you. Our big issue right now (and luckily, it is temporary) is daycare cost. We have no free family help nor do we really feel comfortable with in-home care unless it is licensed and there are no licensed providers in our elementary district borders so we pay for crazy expensive facility care. Currently, we pay $315/week total for full-time care for our 4-year old and before/after care for our 1st grader. That is the lowest our daycare bill has ever been- when they were in toddler and pre-schooler rooms it was a few dollars shy of $400/week. Yikes. We both have pretty good jobs that pay a decent salary so I do feel sad about the fact that we really can’t afford yearly vacations. But then I think about the fact that we could have a mortgage on a beach house or lease 3 luxury sedans a month for the amount we pay in daycare. It is truly nuts. This fall, it will go down to $225/week with our little one starting kindergarten but they still need full-time care over the summers so it still evens out to almost $300/week. I swear I will feel like we won the lottery once we are done paying for daycare. And I do get jealous hearing about other people’s vacations- I know people who’s parents provide them with free daycare year-round so they have the financial wiggle room to go away a few times a year. It sucks to witness but at least I know that someday that will be us. Just not now. And this, in a nutshell, is why we are done having kids. I can’t start the daycare bill all over again.

    • Holly

      My neighbors went to Disney every year. I’m in my 20′s and still haven’t gone. We’re in the process of getting out of debt so I just keep plugging away. Doesn’t help that my coworker is spending spring break in Vegas (paid for by her parents) and my friend is in Rome…Rome! If I wasn’t such a broke ass I could have gone with her. I’m using that anger as motivation.

    • Ddaisy

      When I was a kid, my family never ever ever took a vacation anywhere more exotic than Saskatchewan. I used to dream of Vancouver as a faraway land of mystery. (It’s actually about an hour’s flight.) By the time I was 15, we’d finally saved enough to go to Disney World.

      Now that I’m making my own money and not responsible for anyone but me, I travel a few times a year, because I make it a priority. I’m a complete and utter cheapskate in every other way. I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing because quite frankly, I don’t particularly WANT to buy a bunch of other stuff. I just am hooked on travel and put almost all of my budget toward it.

      To be honest, it’s one of the biggest reasons I don’t want kids. If I could be Angelina Jolie and afford to haul six kids around the globe, I might do it. Feeding and clothing an entire extra human sounds like a way bigger expense than travelling, and I’m in respectful awe of anyone who can make that work, even without vacations.

      • Guest

        I think one of my favorite teachers in high school was the first person I met who laid out how to be a regular traveler like you do. She told us about how they saved their money and bought less house than they could afford so they could take more vacations. Blew my mind away but it is so smart! I want to take lots of trips but I’m set on kids and you hit the nail on the head- having another human can make traveling hard. I’m worried enough about leaving my dogs with family so I’m trying to imagine leaving a kid (I would do a mix of vacations w/ and w/o the kids).

    • val97

      I absolutely need a vacation every year. I know that makes me sound like a brat, but I think I would go insane without our annual vacation. In our super poor times, we went camping. In our less poor years, we rented a cabin by a lake or river. In recent years, we’ve been able to get fancier and can even afford plane tickets. We go for 1-2 weeks every summer, usually somewhere different each year. I actually cannot wait for this summer’s trip and have been daydreaming about it.
      I usually don’t do anything for spring break because my husband and I have limited vacation time and like to use it in the summer. But I don’t have spring break bitterness because I enjoy a fairly stress free commute whenever school is out. Sometimes it’s the little things.

      • Guest

        I find the daydreaming about it really helps when at work, especially in winter :)

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