Life

Don’t diss parents for putting their kids in hotel ‘kids clubs’ during family vacations

By Bianca Bujan

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

A few years ago - before child number three was born - we took our two young children on our first family vacation - a seven-day cruise through Mexico.

Before our departure, we discovered an onboard kids club, available for cruisers between the ages of 3-12. Baited by the bright, whimsical theme rooms, and fun physical activities that were offered, we were excited to give it a try.

Our main goal was to enjoy some quality family time, but we didn’t see any harm in squeezing in a little down time for ourselves too, especially if our children would be preoccupied with games and group gallivanting around the ship.

What we hadn’t expected though, was for our kids to riotously refuse to go. They wouldn’t even try it for a day. So instead of sipping on spirits and basking in the sun, we were chasing them around the ship, trying to keep them from ice-cream-bar-binging themselves into sugar-induced comas and playing merciless games of Marco Polo in the kids-only pools. We enjoyed some family fun, but the trip was definitely not relaxing.

I recently came across a post titled, “Yes, I Judge Parents Who Dump Kids At Hotel ‘Kids Clubs’ During Family Vacations,” shared on lifestyle website YourTango, and rolled my eyes as the writer described her hyperbolic anecdotes of travelling with her tween.

Upon witnessing a group of kids club kiddies by the pool, she gripes: “I wondered what their parents were doing: A quiet lunch? Massage? Parasailing? Afternoon delight? Getting drunk? Whatever they were doing, I decided they sucked immediately. Who goes on a family vacation and leaves their kids for hours and hours with complete strangers?”

I thought to myself, “The smart ones, that’s who.”

The rest of her article was littered with helicopter-mom-esque what-ifs and preachy parental paradigms that were enough to make any self-doubting mom or dad lose their lunch.

“I act unselfishly when it comes to my son, and have only been on one solo trip since his birth,” she boasts proudly - and I kind of feel sorry for her.

Family time is important, but so is enjoying a little time to yourself. I think taking the time to make yourself happy makes you a better parent.

We’ve since enjoyed family trips where our kids have participated in, and completely loved the kids clubs that were available on site. We’ve made sure to balance our time, enjoying quality time together as a family while allowing a few moments apart as well, and it’s worked perfectly for us.

If you’re a clingy parent who can’t fathom the idea of cutting the umbilical cord to enjoy a little “me time” during a family vacay, so be it! But don’t diss the parents who want to enjoy a little R&R during their break-the-bank getaway while their rugrats enjoy some fun amongst their peers.

Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Find her on Twitter @bitsofbee and at bitsofbee.com. Comments: bitsofbee@yahoo.ca.