Vacation is a great time to get away from your daily routine, explore and have some good family time.
I also feel like I’m a better and more effective parent and spouse when I’m on vacation….and it’s more than just being away at a nice place and eating great food. Here’s some lessons learned on vacation:
1) Don’t Be Rushed….Create Some Margin.
Doesn’t it seem like you are frequently telling your kids: “Hurry…..Come on…We’re going to be late…” Vacation is a time where you probably don’t have to be on too much of a schedule (depending on where you are or what you’re doing, of course!). If you are 30 minutes late getting to the beach, it’s not a big deal.
As a result, I realized there was far less nagging and rushing done each day. And — not surprising — the kids were much more relaxed and ready to take on the day’s adventure.
LESSON: When you come back to “reality” of normal life, try to leave some extra margin and time to have your kids ready for the day’s plans. If you need to be out the door by 8:30am…. pretend your deadline is 8:10/15. If you actually make it in the car early, have a mini dance party in the driveway and just have some fun.
2) Have fun. Chores can wait.
I think one thing everyone loves about vacation is not having the daily chores lingering around your head. You don’t have to think about the best time to vacuum so you don’t interrupt naps or making sure laundry is done and folded, etc. And you don’t have to say “Wait a few more minutes sweetie….Mommy needs to finish [fill in the blank task].”
Generally, you shut those tasks off for the week…..and you are free to just have fun and enjoy your family.
LESSON: After getting back from vacation, I found myself saying no to more chores and yes to more interaction with my kids. Instead, I spent a little more time before they woke up or after bedtime to finish folding the mountain of clothes sitting on my couch…. (and I may or may not have gotten another episode of Call the Midwife checked off at the same time!)
3) Focus on your spouse.
Without the chores, kitchen clean-up and rushing, I find myself on vacation with much more downtime than I am accustomed to….this also goes for my husband. We always have much more (focused) time on vacation to just sit and talk.
This is also a time to dream, reminisce and just have fun relaxing with each other. If at all possible, shoot for hotel with a connected room or a suite, so you don’t have to tip-toe around quietly after the kids go to bed. (Much less stress and worth the extra cost when you’re on vacation!)
LESSON: Remember this special time with your spouse when you get back into your day-to-day routine. You might not have hours upon hours to just sit and chat, but set aside time each day to focus on each other, reconnect and just talk…. your marriage will thank you for it.
One thing I love about vacations is the opportunity to nap. Whether it’s on the beach, the patio/porch with a nice breeze or a comfy hotel room bed with the AC blazing (and don’t get me started on the wonders of blackout curtains!)…. I can take an exceptional nap on vacation and my husband knows it. Regardless of the place, when I get plenty of sleep I can think clearer, am less irritable and have much more patience with my kids, husband and myself!
LESSON: This always reminds me that I really do need to get a full-night’s rest (and the occasional nap when allowed!) so that I don’t find myself being short with my family. (And who doesn’t love naps!? Besides your 3 year-old!)
All in all, we usually sleep more, work less and stress less while on vacation. Put these all together and it’s a great combination for a better mood, more energy and less anxiety and stress…..And this helps anyone to be a better person in general. For me, it makes the world of a difference.
What are some lessons learned on vacation? What have you learned about yourself (and what you need) to be a better parent, spouse, or individual? I’d love to hear!