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    Oursourcing Family Vacation

    August 16, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Over a year ago, Spunky wrote a post entitled Outsourcing Parenthood. In it, she explains that outsourcing is not only happening in business, but also in homelife. My favorite paragraph says this:


    No parent would readily admit this of course. But the increased reliance on day care, before school, and after school programs demonstrates something else. We want the schools to provide nurtritious lunches without ever thinking we should pack the child one ourselves. We want the schools to bus our children to school without ever thinking that we could drive them ourselves. There are companies that will send a day care provider {paid for by the company} to the house when a child is ill so that mom can still go to work. On the weekend, daycares will provide overnight care so that the parents can go out on a date or catch up on house work.


    I see this same attitude {the desire to pay someone else to do one’s job} in my neighborhood, most notably in the form of gardeners and cleaning ladies. My husband is the only man I can think of in our whole neighborhood who cuts his own lawn. Now, some people may have better reasons for having a gardener or maid than others, but the fact remains that there is now a trend for all to purchase such services, regardless of actual need. What was once a luxury is now commonplace.

    Well, I feel I have now officially seen it all. At our hotel in San Diego, there was a day camp for children. Here is the information on the front of the brochure placed in every room:


    The resort experience just for kids! Enjoy weather-perfect San Diego with fun outdoor activities, Radio Tag!, arts & crafts, PlayStation, foosball, s’mores cookouts, ice cream socials, movies & more. Join us for a few hours or all day for active, organized & age-appropriate events for kids ages 4 and up…Half day $40/Full day $65, includes meals.


    Now, it is my understanding that the traditional view of a family vacation is that the family not only travels together, but also enjoys all activities together. My husband and I wanted a vacation alone {other than a couple nights away, this was our first vacation alone since our honeymoon}, so we left the children with their grandparents for a few nights. This is because we believe that children should be raised by the family, and not entrusted to outsiders. The idea of sending my child to day camp run by complete strangers at a resort baffles me on many levels.

    I think the saddest part is the lack of memories the children will build concerning family. I have no doubt that this resort works very hard to ensure that these kids have a full, fun day. But the family is necessarily torn apart by the entire idea. The family that is not geographically together throughout the vacation is not on a true family vacation. S’mores cookouts should be done around a campfire, with the parents teaching the children about fire and marshmallow-roasting techniques, and the entire family enjoying the special treat together. Ice cream should be a shared treat at the end of a tiring day at the zoo, or building sand castles by the ocean.

    I am becoming increasingly away of the forces tearing the family apart–physically tearing it. Whether it is my well-meaning church asking my husband to spend twelve hours in only three weeks away from his family in order to receive “leadership training” {which I heard was great, by the way}, or woman I know who has her child in the care of others for over twelve hours each weekday, it is not surprising to me that families disintegrate over time.

    What sense of understanding, what set of shared memories and history, what foundation of a family can one build in such limited hours?


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  • Reply Rebecca August 16, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    Don’t feel like you have to talk yourself into camping. Some people love it…. then there are the rest of us!

    There was one trip that was just my dad and brother and I and it rained the entire time. We still tease dad about the cold hotdogs and candy bars that were are dinner. On another occasion, my parents decided on the 4th of July that we should go camping. We drove nearly all night trying to find an open site and Dad had to put up our tent in the dark. We ended going home then next day and that was the last time mom and I went with the boys!

  • Reply Brandy August 16, 2006 at 7:19 pm


    I think this is becoming all the more common as our society is more and more accepting of spending large amounts of time away from our children. And sadly, the more popular it becomes, the more companies will figure out how to make it affordable to the masses, and then it won’t be a luxury at some resort, but something the average family is able to do. 🙁

    Nightmarish camping trips, hm? Is this why you don’t like camping? I keep trying to convince myself I like camping because I like the idea of camping. But really, I like that condo we stayed in last year!!

  • Reply Rebecca August 16, 2006 at 6:12 pm


    I saw an ad recently for a cruise (can’t recall which cruise line) and it looked as though the family was only together over night. The rest of the time, the kids had their activities and the parents had theirs. How sad! Some of my fondest childhood memories are of going to new places with my parents, even when the activity we were doing didn’t turn out perfectly. There were a couple of nightmarish camping trips that make for good stories now.

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