Post (Kid-Free) Vacation Stress Disorder, or PVSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop as a result of a parent being thrust abruptly back into the chaos of raising and caring for children after a peaceful, tranquil and quiet getaway alone or with a partner/spouse.

And after having a view like this from one’s hotel balcony:

Parents at an increased risk of developing PVSD are those with children under the age of five and especially those with children who whine and/or wear diapers and/or wake up earlier than 5am three or more days per week.


Symptoms of PVSD include a short temper, zero patience, exhaustion and/or sleep deprivation, periodic bouts of sadness, inability to concentrate, and crankiness toward children and partners/spouses.


There is no known way to diagnose PVSD with 100% accuracy, however one can usually detect it based on the look on a parent’s face when you inform him or her that it’s time to pick up the kids at camp.


The only known cure for PVSD is additional and frequent kid-free vacations. Before proceeding with this strategy, however, one should first consider the risk involved with this course of treatment as multiple kid-free vacations may ultimately result in a progressive worsening of PVSD symptoms in the future.

If such trips are out of reach or deemed too dangerous, one can seek temporary relief of symptoms by:

  • Drinking wine or other preferred alcoholic beverage during the typically “unhappy” hours of 4 and 8pm.
  • Locking oneself in a bathroom. This tactic works best when there is a sudden outbreak of symptoms. One can use this time-out to meditate or, if one has a smartphone on hand, check in on Foursquare, play Words With Friends or put out a cry for help in one’s Facebook status.
  • Strapping one’s children in car seats and driving to the nearest Starbucks drive thru for a highly caffeinated iced latte.
  • Planning frequent playdates. There is safety in numbers.
  • Booking a babysitter as often as one can afford.

Support & Resources

Those suffering with PVSD should stay in close touch with fellow parents, friends, family members and anyone else who allows them to vent, cry and, of course, laugh.  One can also find solace in reading blogs of other parents coping with PVSD.  One such blog is The Runaway Mama.

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