I just go back from taking my kids to LA so they can go to Disneyland with their cousins. You can check out my writeup on Disneyland for the top rides and tons of tips for the parks. Now that my kids are 8 and 5.5, they got a lot more out of the parks than when we went two years ago: more rides they can go on and greater ability to appreciate things.
Yes it was a lot of fun but also tiring, for kids with all the walking and swimming, and for me as my husband was at a conference back east. I have to be constantly on guard: Are the kids both with me? Are they doing something safe? Are they nice to their cousins? To each other?
Then there's the stress of figuring out travels: What's our plan today? Where to park? Where to eat? Did my phone die again? (Darn it!) How would we get in touch with my brother? Plus I didn't sleep well for majority of the trip for various reasons. And after the kids went to bed, I organized trip photos.
So I was a pretty stressed-out mom and I criticized and even yelled at my kids. When my son used his hand to touch food in a shared dish for the 5th time on the trip, I lost it and slapped his hand. He looked at me with shock. (Hmm... come to think of it, the last time I hit him might have been when we were eating out at SF a year or two ago.)
It took me hours after coming home to be able to really relax. What helped was my husband putting the kids to bed and giving me time and space to unwind. And it helped to actually putting my jumbled thoughts into words, and reflect on what happened. :)
Next time I'm on a trip with the kids, especially if I'm the only parent, I will make sleeping well a top priority not just for my kids but for myself, ask for more help so I can get a break from the need to constantly watch my kids, and skip the photo organizing so I can unwind and reflect after the kids go to bed. So I can be a kinder, gentler mom on the trip. :)
Are you going somewhere for April Vacation Week? Hope you have a fun and relaxing trip!