vaca.jpgThis lovely, serene photo of a happy family on vacation is not my family. (I just found this by Googling “family vacation.”)

At some point during our vacation last week I turned to my husband and asked: “Can working parents really have a relaxing vacation with their kids?”

“No,” he yelled so quickly I barely got all the words out.

Maybe it was the hours of constant joyful yelling by our two kids while at the pool. martin-and-lewis.jpg

Or maybe it was the prepubescent Martin and Lewis act they seemed to be doing over and over again.

I’m not sure what got me questioning whether we would ever relax, but we were in desperate need of R&R because of our recent tough work schedules and we didn’t seem to get it.

So, can working parents really get R&R with their kids around?

I know some of you will get on your high horses and say, “my kids are just angels and we always can relax on vacation with the little darlings.”

I got some of this from my Twitter followers when I posed the question about kids and whether working parents can relax with them on vaca:

@claudinerenee Think it depends in your kid(s). I can definitely relax with mine:-)

OK, OK, so I don’t have perfect kids.

But they are well-behaved and polite, so it’s not like we’re constantly having to keep them from killing each other or themselves. But they can be pretty wacky, and I suppose we’ve encouraged that.

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I know, they’re adorable. But this kind of silliness for 10 hours a day when you’re trying to read a book or nap on the beach does hinder down time. I read 24 pages of “Salt: A World History,” a book I had hoped to finish in a day or two of our five-day trip.

Even though I’d love to hand out some advice right about now for tired working parents like me out there, I haven’t really been able to come up with a lot of answers to this working-parent vacation conundrum. Most of the stories and blog posts out there are about how parents can spend more time with their kids.

This one comes from a career writer I respect Alexandra Levit:

Combine business travel with vacation: Most working parents view business travel as yet another responsibility that takes away precious time from the family. At the same time, work duties often keep us from taking a week or more to jet set off to a fun vacation setting with the kids in tow. The next time you have to fly somewhere for your job, stop and think. Even if it’s not the perfect getaway spot, is there enough to do that your spouse and kids could join you there for a long weekend?

Now we should be taking kids on our work trips? Are you kidding me? That’s the only time we can really get relaxation, even though we are working.

Some people have suggested taking a vacation alone with your spouse. I don’t know about you guys but taking multiple vacations, some with kids and some without just doesn’t make economic or time sense for us.

What about putting your kids to work while you soak up the sun? That was the idea behind an article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week:

Hotel and resort kids’ programs are becoming more lavish—and more overtly educational—particularly among high-end hotels. The programs, where parents can drop off their children for a few hours or even all day, used to include not much more than supervised swimming and the occasional Disney movie.

At the “Mini MO” clubs at Mandarin Oriental hotels, for example, an instructor teaches kids words and phrases in Mandarin. At Hyatt Corp.’s Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch in Arizona, “Camp Hyatt” participants are given environmental lessons with details about the resort’s “aquatically balanced” lagoon pond and solar-energy initiatives. The kids’ club has its own demonstration solar panel.

Now we’re talking. Let’s get kids into the green economy before they’ve even held their first babysitting job.

I’m kidding of course. This is just another example of not letting kids be kids.

When it comes to relaxing on vaca, the age of your kids must play a role in it. Ours are 7 and 10. These ages, I suppose, are the parent purgatory before the kids really start wanting to be without us and doing their own thing.

I want my kids to be kids and to be wacky, and I love having them with me; but in addition, I want some quiet, romantic, alone time with my hubby.

Is that too much to ask?

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