Spring Break With Kids: Expectations Vs. Reality
It’s that time of year when commercials, your local weatherman, and your friends’ Facebook feeds conspire to make you feel like this Spring Break will be the stuff of legends. Never mind the fact that you haven’t planned anything, that your backyard is still covered in snow, and that a single Saturday alone with the kids has you reaching for a glass of wine long before their bedtime. Here are the realities of surviving Spring Break with kids.
Expectation: Spring cleaning time! This house is going to be so sparkling, Martha Stewart could stop by and you wouldn’t be embarrassed. The kids can organize their toys and you’ll get your partner to clean out the garage. Maybe you’ll even have time to repaint the downstairs bathroom.
Reality: The entire family being home all week means you’re dealing with even more dishes and random socks on the stairs than usual. Besides finding the time to fill a bag for Goodwill from your closet, opening the windows to air out the house is as far as “spring cleaning” gets.
Expectation: Let’s take a family vacation! Maybe we should go to Disney World!
Reality: It’s nearly impossible to get time off during Spring Break because everyone else you work with wants the week off too, leaving you scouring your contacts for potential babysitters instead of looking for flights to someplace sunny. Even if you do manage to get a hall pass from work, unless you’re a super planner, seeing the price of last minute travel will end those dreams of seeing palm trees immediately. Looks like day trips are the closest you’ll come to a getaway.
Expectation: It will be so nice to get some fresh air. Maybe I can find time to go for a jog. The kids will be so happy to play outside and I can have some quiet time to myself.
Reality: Mother Earth doesn’t care that the calendar has technically declared it to be spring, so for many, getting outside during Spring Break requires nearly as many layers as skiing. Even if it is warm enough to go outside, expect plenty of sand and mud to hitch a ride into the house on the kids’ shoes.
Expectation: We can do some fun day trips during the week, and because most people are working, it probably won’t be crowded.
Reality: Unless you show up at the zoo/aquarium/children’s museum the moment the doors open, be prepared for some major crowds as everyone with children is thinking the exact same thing. You may not be able to see over people’s heads to watch the seal show, but at least your kids can practice sharing with others and will strengthen their immune systems by being exposed to so many new kids.
Expectation: You’ll create lasting memories during Spring Break. Maybe you’ll even take some cute pictures for the family scrapbook.
Reality: While they may not be the Pinterest-perfect images you envisioned, you know that you and your family will look back fondly on the times you spent together, even if some of those times involved bickering.