Episode 7

007 “You can’t use vacation and kids in the same sentence. That’s your problem right there!”


August 17th, 2014

56 mins 31 secs

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About this Episode

Show Summary

Today we tackle the timeline problem of vacationing with kids. We discuss if its even possible to take a real vacation from work when you are an entrepreneur with kids! We share your best vacationing with kids advice from Facebook and Twitter and then do our best to live the advice we received and share the results. (spoiler: It worked, mostly.)  Also, there is more kayaking. It might be a Thing with us now.

Show Resources


Download the transcript here.


Show Highlights

Show Intro

We spoil the show off the top: Want a restful vacation? Don’t take your kids! But if you want a meaningful family vacation, keep listening!

We want to hear from you, especially if there are any questions you want us to address on the forth coming Listener Appreciation Episode. Here is a handy cheat sheet on how you can do that:

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Leave a rating/review in iTunes (please and thank you)

Main Topic

We kick things off by reading an excerpt from “The Newest Vacation” by Happy Cog CEO Greg Hoy:

19 days ago, we started our… getaway by hauling our Airstream trailer up to Portland, Maine for a six-day stint. It’s an eight-hour drive from Philly, so we split the trip up into two four-hour sprints. This is crucial if you have kids, and we have two little ones, ages four and 18 months. I’m almost 45. My tolerance for tomfoolery is waning fast. When one kid slept, the other screamed. When the other kid slept, the other one screamed. And when they were both awake, they both screamed in a call-and-response shriek contest in which there are precisely zero winners. My wife and I looked at each other with those “Oh, no” looks—already, our stress levels were through the roof, and we really hadn’t stepped out of the vehicle yet.

Where did we vacation? At our friend Pat’s house in Olympia, Washington.

We explore our vacation expectations going into it as a way to help us learn from our most recent one and improve the next one.

“My best friend says ‘there are no vacations with small children, only trips or parenting in another location.” – Amanda via Facebook

“I had high hopes but low expectations.” – Laura

“That’s something you’re going to have to teach me how to do.” – Leslie

Leslie’s expectations were high, but self-centered. The first couple days of vacation do not go well and we both found ourselves overwhelmed and depressed.

Here’s what went wrong for Leslie:

  • Didn’t have as much control over my schedule or environment (read, 6 kids under eight running around everywhere always).
  • Squandered the time I did have by working.
  • Started blaming others for my own mistakes and getting angry and frustrated.

Here’s what went wrong for Laura:

  • Ethan still not sleeping.
  • Felt off-kilter at first from the change of environment, schedule, and rhythm.
  • Disconnected from Leslie for 36 hours, which is highly unusual.

Long story short, we were both “filling our buckets of resentment” full of icky stuff. Something needed to change, fast!

Pat kicked us out of the house for a romantic evening of kayaking on the sound together and we used the time to reconnect and talk through how to make the most of the vacation.

We also reached out for help and the Marriage Startup Community delivered! We go through the advice we received, lived it, and report on how it helped.

Our top take aways:

  • Don’t over do it.
  • Get in a service mindset.
  • Rest can be as simple as “not working.”
  • A vacation and a sabbatical are two different things. Don’t mistake them as being the same.

The Grand Conclusion

Can you vacation with kids? Absolutely! It’s hard work but completely worthwhile. For us, the key was to concentrate on serving each other and serving our family. We discovered and affirmed the premise of this podcast. When the marriage is thriving, everything else gets better. Vacationing with kids is no different.

Leslie’s favorite moments:

  • Kayaking with Laura
  • Kayaking with Sophia (turns out she’s a natural)
  • Watching 6 kids by myself because I discovered I could do it.

Laura’s favorite moments:

  • Kayaking with Leslie
  • Boat “tour” of the sound with Pat’s neighbor
  • Experiencing the Flow (when we finally achieved it), and knowing these are precious memories being made. The parental sacrifice is worth it!

What we’re going to do for each other this week!

We both decide that this week we need to float the river together and make sure we use our entire date time for just us, nothing else, not even this podcast.

Show close

Remember, be kind to each other.

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