being a mom

Go Ahead and Leave Your Kid With the Resort Kids’ Club, Because They Are Awesome

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The longer you are a parent, the more things you discover parents can be shamed for. Even in my childfree days I knew vaccines and public breastfeeding were polarizing issues, and not long after my daughter was born I learned about cribs vs. cosleeping and stroller vs. carrier wars. But every day as a parent opens up a whole new world of shit you’re doing wrong, and today I discovered that Kids Club shaming is actually a thing.

Many resorts, vacation spots, and hotels have on-site kids’ clubs, which are basically like summer camps for kids who are on vacation. As a kid in the Kids’ Club, you learn songs, you do crafts, you compete with other camp groups at organized games. It’s a hoot! But apparently if you put your kid in one, utter randos will openly judge you for it.

Over on YourTango, pseudonymic author Laine White has written an article entitled, “Yes, I Judge Parents Who Dump Kids At Hotel ‘Kids Clubs’ During Family Vacations,” and I am shaken. I never realized kids’ clubs were something parents could be judged for! Vacations are treasures. Kids’ clubs are a treat. But apparently if you let your kid go off to paint rocks with all the other kids at the resort, you suck as a parent.

“Who goes on a family vacation and leaves their kids for hours and hours with complete strangers?”

White describes a vacation with her young son in extreme detail, from what they had for breakfast to what they had for lunch, before she gets to the point on the second day of her trip where she sees the resort kids’ club and starts to wonder WTF is wrong with those other kids’ parents.

I wondered what their parents were doing: A quiet lunch? Massage? Parasailing? Afternoon delight? Getting drunk? Whatever they were doing, I decided they sucked immediately.”

Maybe the parents were doing all those things, which sounds awesome. What they weren’t doing was side-eyeing kids at the kids’ club and judging random parents instead of enjoying their own time on vacation. This is just furthering my conviction that sanctimony is caused by boredom. “I am bored as fuck at this splash pad, but at least I know I’m better than some strangers.”

Kids’ clubs are the best.

Judging parents who put their kids in kids’ clubs never occurred to me, because I loved kids’ clubs when I was on family vacations as a child. The first time I was able to join one was when I was four. The kids’ club  at that particular resort was only technically open to kids over five, and I was turned away at the door when I tried to sign up. My mother said I would get to stay with her and my dad instead of going off with the other kids. I grumped and fussed.

Not long after that, I told my mother I had forgotten something and ran back to the kids’ club. My mother saw my 4-year-old self chatting animatedly with the head counselor. Next thing she knew, I was leaving with the kids’ club. She went over to ask what was happening and where her child was going, and the counselor was cracking up.

“She told me her name was Monique and she was six,” said the guy I had been introduced to as a 4-year-old named Elizabeth not 10 minutes earlier. “I figured if she’s mature enough to fake a French accent, she’s mature enough for the kid’s club.”

Later in the trip my mother saw me walking by with the kid’s club and ran over like, “Hi Elizabethy!”

I turned away like this:

Image: Giphy

Sorry, I was Monique and I was six. I didn’t know who this not-French lady was or why she was calling “Elizabeth” in my direction.

Kids love kids’ clubs.

I could have stayed with my parents when we were on vacation, but that never occurred to me to be something I would want to do. I saw my parents every day at home. They were old news. When we were on vacation, I wanted to go with the kids’ club and do exciting things like learn trapeze and hear about the time my group’s counselor was attacked by a shark.

Kids’ clubs aren’t for every kid. I loved them, but not every kid agrees. If your kid hates kids’ clubs and wants to stay with you, or you specifically want to spend the vacation together as a family, that sounds just lovely. But spend it actually enjoying your own company, not anxiously eyeballing every other parent on the property to fret about what sub-standard parents they are. That’s just not fun for anybody.

Kids’ clubs are great, and if your kid wants to run off and join one and you want to let them, there’s no reason to feel guilty about it. If someone gives you judgy eyes about it, just order a big umbrella drink while they’re watching. Umbrella drinks are the best revenge.

If you leave your kid at the resort kids’ club on a family vacation, other parents might judge you. But do it anyway, because kids’ clubs are the best.

What do you think of kids’ clubs on family vacations? Let us know in the comments.

(Image: iStockPhoto / Highwaystarz-Photography)