Vacation Planning in Divorceville: How to Keep Track of Your Kid(s) During the Holidays
“You’ve been so organized lately!” I complimented my then ten year old.
“You remembered whose house you’re staying at this weekend! Remember last year? You never knew where you were supposed to go or what you were supposed to bring with you. Remember? Even though I kept that calendar up on the fridge?”
He finally understood the compliment, but with a caveat: “Well, third grade was a lot of pressure.”
Now that he is seventeen and has at least as many electronic devices as I do, if not more, he’s supposed to keep track of all that stuff by himself. And sometimes he even does.
More often I get texts asking who is picking him up or when. He comes by it naturally though; I rarely have a ready response. Instead I end up asking him things like, “Do you remember what you did last spring break? Where did you go? Who was with you – me, or your dad?”
It’s a fruitless pursuit. He doesn’t remember the details from year to year any better than I do.
For those as easily confused as I am, here are my tips to remembering whether or not you’re bringing your child(ren) with you on your vacation:
~Check your child’s school calendar: Does it follow the public school calendar for your area? If your child or children attend a private school, note that this may vary by year and can make a huge difference when scheduling travel.
~Check your friendly neighborhood divorce decree. If I had known how useful this document would become over the years, I would have had it laminated. If you are just beginning the custody journey, I highly suggest laminating and highlighting at least the pages devoted to custody and child support.
~Invest in an offline real-paper planner. I’m not one of those people who will declare that having the perfect planner will “change your life.” I’m just one of those people who has always had a paper planner and shudder to think of the disorganized puddle I would be without one. Not that I’m so organized WITH one.
~Washi tape. Washi tape is the cure for life, the universe and everything. I like to tape cheery colors on my planner on the non-school times that my son spends with me. I’d do non-cheery colors on the weekends and vacation times he spends with his dad…but that would be a little redundant.
~The photo album and/or Facebook. When all else fails, look back at the pictures! Surely the picture of happy boy on top of a national monument was taken in two thousand…what was that year again?!? And how many years ago was it? So all I have to do is add five or six years and then…go pull out the divorce decree.
Because I never labeled the picture with the year. And even if I had…who needs to do all that math?
~ Play nice with your ex-spouse/child’s other parent. Oh, I know. It’s MUCH easier to stay angry and bitter forever. But if you can forgive (if not forget) then you can have an extra hand in planning rather than a bitter enemy. And your ex may even answer your multiple, “Is it my turn for spring break this year?” texts faster than you could reasonably dig out the divorce decree. Again.
So that’s all I’ve got, folks! In reality, my execution is much less straightforward than my list suggests. It often involves multiple texts to my ex-husband who, to give credit where credit is due, has always been tolerant of my disorganized tendencies and who, to my knowledge, has never used these deficiencies to try and usurp an vacation with either my son or my (now college aged) daughter.
I would love to read additional tips to tame the scheduling madness in the comments!
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