Vacation Nation

‘Tis the season to leave it all behind…or at least, that’s what I’m told.  According to colleagues, friends, family and just about everyone on Facebook, now’s the time to pack up the kids, hit the road and spend a long, lazy week kicking back at the beach or lake or any other place synonymous with relaxation.

So what the heck am I doing here?

I don’t know why I don’t take real vacations. Every year I swear I’m going to and then the summer rolls around and I’m at my desk, feeling bent at all the folks having real live fun and kvetching about the “surf soap” in my office bathroom.  Ain’t no one to blame for that but me.

Maybe it’s because I never took vacations as a kid…we didn’t really need to.  Early on about once a year, we’d drive to the Poconos to go to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, but that was usually a one-and-done kinda thing in conjunction with a visit to the grandparents.  Growing up, my friends all headed to Lake George or to the Hamptons with their families and later, post-college friends would trip down to Rehoboth, P’town or any one of “The Shores”.

I grew up on Long Island, with the beach a moment’s notice away.  Our backyard was our vacation home – tall, willowy trees, crystal clear pool, lawn chairs next to the authentically crafted Tiki Bar…friends and family would come to us and every free moment was spent out by the pool so why would we head to someplace more expensive and less relaxing?   Similarly, G grew up in the mountains, with creeks (cricks?), lakes and forests abound and more wildlife than people around.  Obviously, we both missed the memo on what it means to “take a vacation” and as such, here we sit watching the July calendar turn and feeling way overdue for a break.

We do get away…in fact, we have two weekend trips lined up. But that’s just it – weekends away, with a bookend of road travel.  We usually head to a city (against the typical vacay-grain) and by the time we get the pack-and-play set up, slather on the sunscreen and attempt to stop O from licking the handrails outside of the hotel, we’re already ready for a siesta.

Any maybe that’s it too…maybe the terms “relaxing vacation” and “two-year old boy” are mutually exclusive.

What do you guys think…anyone got some good ideas or tricks we haven’t figured out yet? We’re open to suggestions, and even though our trips are carefully researched and mapped for maximum fun — I’ll take any tips on getting the most fun out of a summer holiday.

We have fun on our little jaunts. In fact, O still tells you he’s from “Balt-ee-moor” if you ask, his first real toddler trip making quite an impression.  We took him there a few months ago and packed the itinerary:  He met Thomas the Train, posed with Sir Topham Hatt, rode a city bus WHILE singing “the wheels on the bus” (mind blown!), had a late-night playdate with a “big boy” (my friend’s elementary-school son) and more.  The following Monday when he returned to school and his teachers asked “What was your favorite part of your vacation?!”, he replied “eating a banana”.

“V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N, gonna have a ball…”



Author: The Baba 'Hood

Brianne L. Croteau is a Huffington Post featured contributor, speaker, writer, artist, and founder of The Baba ‘Hood, a chronicle of her adventures as a “Baba”, or non-binary parent. In addition to journaling her observations on life, love, parenting, growing older and other related ridiculousness, Brianne’s work has been published in Motherly, Curve Magazine, Well Rounded NY and Tagg Magazine. She lives in a full house with her wife, two young kids, and two rascally kittens and is currently in need of a lot more sleep. Follow along at or contact her directly at Her work can also be found at

6 thoughts

  1. Wow I love reading The Baba Hood,you see when I was a young Mother all I had to read was Dr. Spock. Baba Hood is what I was going through,but I thought I was the only new Mother that had such feelings. Ahh, it’s a different generation, I wish I was starting all over,MAYBE!!!!! Keep up with your “right on” Baba Hood.


  2. I think “maybe the terms ‘relaxing vacation’ and ‘two-year old boy’ are mutually exclusive” hits the nail on the head. We did Cape May when our boy was 18 months old and by the time we hauled everything down to the beach and got set up, it was time to head back to the hotel for a nap. Now that ours are 4 and 6 years old, I feel way more up to the task of planning excursions with them. I’m even willing to take them on a plane for the first time, though we haven’t actually planned that yet. But for the longest time I wouldn’t even entertain the idea. So, that’s progress, I think. I hate to use the ever-abused saying “it gets easier”, but I’m here to tell you, it does. But there are at least few years there where vacations definitely are anything but relaxing.


  3. We try to find places where we know that we can say “no” less, for us that usually means someplace outdoors. We allow ourselves significant travel to and from places, but try to keep outings or excursions once in a place to a minimum in order to reduce the stress and quantity of packing and getting ready and working around nap and meals and snack times. And we rent houses or apartments instead of hotels – it often works out to the same price or cheaper and you can close the door at night and pretend you can be irresponsible for a while. Also playmates, obvs. But also playmates for you guys who can help you come back out of your parent mode and back into friend/fun person mode.

    This year was the first year at the beach where I felt like it was a vacation for me too though. I read a book even. The girls are three now, so..


    1. Eleanor, those are great ideas and, Jess, you give us hope, too! We’ve had some great, long weekends with O, but this last one was challenging. Love the idea of saying ‘No’ less. We’re trying to keep that to a minimum and only yell if O’s in danger.
      We’re going out of town again soon and we’ll take it an hour at a time.


    2. Thanks Eleanor! Your girls look like they are a lot of fun 🙂 I think getting a house vs. hotel might be a nice change of pace…and if you’re out east at any point, there is a “two and a little half” year old boy who would love some playmates!


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