In my pre-kid days, a vacation meant exotic locales with a good mix of relaxation and exploration. I would look forward to this weeks ahead of time, think through my packing list, and put the image of the destination on my computer screen as I count the days til departure. My husband and I love traveling and we always had a memorable experience.
Traveling with one kid is very do-able but becomes a different experience with two, one that we’re not so eager to take on. Plus, with stretched finances and limited time, it’s not feasible to take a long vacation anymore.
That’s where I got the idea of taking off a day or two every month. I need to spend more time with my kids, period. Even an extra day per month makes a difference mentally. At first, I thought we could go to the park, library or do some other unique kid-friendly activity. Maybe I would join stay-at-home moms on play dates. I got tons of ideas from parenting websites and local parenting groups. At the very least, I would also use part of the day to exercise and then just enjoy having more time with the kids.
Reality check. Most vacation days turned into a “catch-up” errand day. The laundry load multiplied to make up for my extra time. I’m serious! We were lucky to head out to a nearby park for half an hour at 5:30 p.m.
Naturally I got very down about my new vacation experience, to the point that I almost did not take a day off this month. Then I re-sized my expectations to: Getting to sleep in, not commuting and time with kids. That’s it. No planned excursions. Nothing exciting. More time to do the laundry. This was okay. This is probably very depressing to non-parents but I was actually more content after this realization.
On a recent day “off”, I cooked a lot of baby food, folded laundry, did laundry, and got the kids to both nap at the same time. My husband ran a few errands that are just easier to do without the kids. We didn’t even attempt to go out as a family. Both kids were extra clingy and sweet and I “solved” a diaper rash crisis (yes, crisis…), making me mom of the year at our household. Those things made my vacation all worthwhile.
Did you have a new definition of vacation after parenthood?