Why Can’t We Do It All?

By: Genna Jenkin
The Your Smart Money Moves Mom

This question is often bandied about in regard to the endless quandary of many women who struggle daily with juggling their many different responsibilities.  While this a very valid concern it is not one that I could begin to answer.  However this very same question plagued me while having a vacation planning discussion with my husband.  Let me explain.

There are a few characteristics that both my husband and I share, one of them being that we are planners.  His planning focuses mainly on the financial workings of our household while I’m in charge of logistics.  I’m sure many of you have similar “partnership agreements” with your significant other.  This works well for us except when it comes to one aspect of our planning and that is around the v-word…vacations!  We do both agree that we need them, but that’s where it ends.

This is how this seemingly innocent conversation usually snowballs into a major blizzard.  To begin with we have three teenaged children. Regardless of your destination three kids this age and two adults means getting at least 2 rooms at most hotels which can be a major budget-buster.  So this is when we start considering going somewhere we can rent a house instead.  This would give the kids more room, we’d have a kitchen so we could make some of our own meals, and maybe even let them each invite a friend.  This sounds like a great idea as long as we go somewhere we can drive to since renting a house and paying for five airline tickets wouldn’t work.  Thank goodness for the lovely Gulf Coast a mere 5-6 hour drive away. Super, we now have a plan for a lovely week away during Spring Break.

I then venture to bring up a few other “little side trips” I’d like to consider as well.  For instance since our families live in the Northeast perhaps we could take the family to New York City over President’s Day.  And since it’s been a while since we visited my father in Sacramento we could go to San Francisco for a few days and then drive up and stay with him, that’s cost-efficient right?  I remind him that we’ll probably need to take a few road trips since our oldest is starting to look at colleges.  And what about summer camp for the kids?  Should we try to plan a get-away for us if they are all away at camp?

My husband has disappeared by this time and only a mere glazed-over shell remains.  He looks as if I’ve lapsed into a foreign language and perhaps I have.  I’m speaking “logistics”, where and when should we travel, he is thinking “finances” and how to make this all work, shockingly these two are not compatible.  I’m perplexed. Doesn’t everyone get to travel non-stop in high-style?  (If Facebook photo postings are to be believed then yes!)

Eventually we get ourselves on the same page when I realize that we will get to take all these trips, not immediately but eventually.  Vacations, just like all aspects of your family finances, need to be discussed, prioritized and planned for.  It really is much like the answer woman receive when they inquire if it is possible “to do it all”.  The reply conventional wisdom offers is, “Yes, just not all at once”.  Sounds a lot like what my husband said.

How does your family make the most of your vacation budget?  I’d love to know!

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