We just returned from a family vacation in Florida. At our resort, they offered a "kids' club" where parents could drop off their little ones for activities and fun while they enjoyed some fun, kid-free, of their own.
My personal take on the kids' club was that of any paranoid, Type-A mom: I don't know the people running it, so I wasn't comfortable using it. Beyond that likely-delusional reason, this particular trip was specifically planned so that my husband and me could spend quality time with our children.
That being said, I have friends who have used kids' clubs on vacation and rave about them. The kiddos have a great time, and the parents do, too. So a lot of times, when it comes to kids' clubs, everyone wins, right?
Well, blogger Christine Coppa came under more heat than a sunny summer Florida afternoon for her recent essay, "Yes, I Judge Parents Who Dump Kids At Hotel 'Kids Clubs' During Family Vacations," published to the site YourTango under a pen name.
"Who goes on a family vacation and leaves their kids for hours and hours with complete strangers?" begins the post, which has ruffled more than a few feathers of pro-kids' club parents, according to The New York Post.
Coppa goes on to recount all the special moments she experienced with her son on vacation. Then she writes how during an afternoon at the hotel pool, she spotted a kids' club group and wondered what the parents were doing while their offspring were being minded by a counselor.
"Whatever they were doing, I decided they sucked immediately," Coppa writes in the divisive essay.
Coppa recounts several personal reasons for her beef with the idea of a kids' club on vacay, including the fact that she's a single mom who works full time and doesn't get to see her son as often as she'd like on a daily basis. "People have suggested I'm missing my kid's childhood because he attends aftercare, soccer camp, and summer camp, but I work," Coppa told Parents.com. "It's because I work that I want to spend the most time with him on vacation."
Another point Coppa makes about leaving your kids with a sitter is relatable for me: "I have trust issues and will not leave my son with strangers in a different country near large bodies of water." I get that.
Still, it's no surprise that her post upset more than a few readers. "I am not shocked by the reaction at all," Coppa told us. "We all get an opinion."
Ultimately, I agree with her assertion that kids grow up way too fast. But there are plenty of ways to embrace their childhoods besides spending 100 percent of your time together for a given week at a resort. And Coppa's assertion that kids feel bored and neglected in these clubs isn't always accurate. As I said before, I know kids who begged their parents to put them in a club like this.
Bottom line? Kids' clubs on vacation may not be your thing, as they aren't mine. But there's no reason why I can't enjoy a trip my way, and other parents can't do it their way.
Of course, judgment is rampant when it comes to all aspects of parenting. May this remind all of us to spend more energy on our own lives, and less on forming opinions about families around us. And I include myself in sometimes needing that lesson!
What's your take?