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The 11 Painfully True Stages of Family Vacations

Photograph by Twenty20

One of my good friends once joked that there are only two things you can count on while vacationing with your kids and husband or partner:

The fact that you will fight at the beginning of the vacation and the fact that you will fight at the end of the vacation.

I laughed then because of how true it was and when we went on our first family camping trip last week, if you want to call that a "vacation," I had to laugh, even through my gritted teeth when I inevitably started fighting with my husband, because again, so true.

And actually, when I think about it, there are a lot of stages you can totally count on during a family vacation like...

The Anticipation Stage

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This trip is going to be epic and my children will love me and we will re-kindle our romance and come home actually relaxed! Related: why is planning the trip sometimes more fun than actually taking the trip?

The Why-Am-I-the-Only-One-Who-Can-Pack-Anything Stage

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The Honeymoon Stage When You Get There and Everyone is Happy for a Whole Five Minutes

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Best damn five minutes of your life.

The Stage When Your Kids Realize You're Too Tired to Care What They Eat Anymore

The You Trying To Capture All The Memories of Your Picture-Perfect Trip Forever Stage

The Your-Children-Are-So-Filthy They're Unrecognizable Stage

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And they don't even care. Also, bathing is still a chore during vacation?? Sigh.

When You Ask Your Husband If He Packed That *One* Essential Item Out of 10,000 That You Asked Him To Stage

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And When He Has the Audacity to Criticize You for Forgetting Something Stage

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The Fantasizing About a Vacation That Would Actually Be Relaxing For You Stage

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The Finally Home and Can Use My Own Bathroom In Peace Stage

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Sorry, but you know it's true.

And last, but not least, the moment that makes you question if any vacation is ever truly worth it...

The Seeing Your Laundry Room When You Get Home Stage

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