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Set appropriate expectations for vacations with kids for a better experience for everyone.

A few years ago, a friend of mine went on vacation with her extended family. Each summer for most of her life, they’d rented a beach house and spent the week on the beach. It was a much anticipated relaxing annual time away for their family. As a brand new mom, she had been excited to bring her infant daughter on the trip for the first time, but when she returned home she called me so tired and disappointed.

Today was supposed to be a perfect day. My husband and I dropped the kids off with their grandparents overnight and we headed up to Lake Erie for a sunny day of lounging on rafts in the lake. This truly might be my favorite way to spend a sunny day, and to get to do it without monitoring our kids near the water with a wide open day ahead felt like pure luxury.