This is my “we’re on vacation ” philosophy.
Yes, I know that when you go away with your kids it’s not a “vacation,” it’s a “family trip. That’s an old joke and one that’s been repeated approximately 500 times in my comments this week.
It’s a handy way to help parents reset their expectations — away from the relaxing getaways of yesteryear and instead to long, “grueling” trips complete with chaos, complaining, frustration, stress, and exhaustion. To reference another overused joke: family vacations are just parenting in a different location.
Both of those jokes are cliches for a reason: they’re true! But also, eff that.
No, vacations aren’t the same when you bring your kids along – the agenda is different, the destination is different, everything is different. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun, or that parents aren’t entitled to a little bit of down time. And for us, the best way to buy that is with screens. Sue me.
It’s lazy, and might even engender bad habits – bad habits that have already been engendered by the pandemic – but whatever. Besides, our kids have had as tough a year as the rest of us, and this is their vacation too.
They deserve to get to do what they enjoy, and when Mom and Dad need to sit down and have a drink and steal five minutes of downtime, the kids get to zone into Roblox or Minecraft or Zelda. They get their bonus screen time, we get some desperately needed adult conversation that isn’t interrupted by a request or a complaint or an argument every three seconds.
So if you see us out this week, sitting at a restaurant, drinks in hand, ignoring our kids as they jack into the Matrix, mind your business.
We all deserve the occasional break – and that goes for you too, nosy bystander. Because trust me, a stranger’s bad parenting is a lot easier to turn your nose up at and ignore than a pair of sun-tired, hangry siblings bickering over whose Shirley Temple has cherries.