School is out for summer!!!! Or at least it’s about to be as summer vacation is on our doorstep here in Massachusetts. That means a lot of kids, and usually, a lot of upturned schedules and vacations abound!
I don’t have kids (yet), but I was raised in a home where my mother cared for everyone (including my father who didn’t really feel the need to support his family, when he had a wife who was so much better at it anyway). The truth is, my mother had to work two jobs at times to keep our home. She homeschooled me until my high school years, she cooked (I rarely remember going out to eat), and cleaned, and shopped for groceries. She was a powerhouse. Truth is, she really really needed a vacation. She was very selfless, and gave so much, but didn’t really have anyone giving back to her. My sisters and I where young and unfortunately kids don’t have the situational awareness that we have as adults. If I knew then what I know now I’d be begging her to take some time off.
That time has passed however, so I’m writing this article for the parents who are giving all they have. You know who you are. You’re running on all cylinders, the last weekend you had to yourself was somewhere before you had kids, and YOU…ARE…EXHAUSTED…and yet, I have noticed you are the last people to go on a vacation! This article is for you guys. You unsung heroes of life. You need time for yourself and I want to if not give you the excuses, then at least the dreams on how you may take a vacation and how to really take it in once you get out there.
First let’s tackle the Myths I hear the most of Why you can’t go!:
I remember hearing this from Kourtney Kardashian on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I was kind of torn. I got her need and desire to be with her kids, but I also wondered how she could stay recharged if she didn’t make time for her self! If you’re like this, let me pause and first give you a cyber hug from my heart to yours. You are a DEVOTED mama or daddy (or both!!!!). I completely love and respect how much love and care you wanna give your kids, so what I’m about to say I want you to know is with as much kindness and warmness as I can for someone in your position: “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. I can remember my mother going on one trip (and bringing only the youngest of my family, so she wasn’t entirely childless), and that was when her father died…yeah…not really a vacation, but that was who she was. She wanted to bring us along for all the fun, but the truth is, my mother was so broken. She burned the candle at both ends and she needed time for her self. I mean, I recall her ONCE taking 20 minutes for herself to have a bath it was that bad!
If this is your reason why you can’t have a vacation, please know that your kids will forgive you, especially if you are happy on your return and you have someone wonderful to watch after them. What my mother should have done, is said to my dad, “Since you have a lot more time on your hands than me, how about you watch our kids, and I’m going to chill out for the weekend!” Or she could have sent us to hang out with one of our relatives. The fact is, she was so selfless, that she forgot to give to herself and that made for a pretty mad mommy at times. She was burnt out in a big way! I promise, so long as you put your kids first in how they will have fun while you’re gone, they will be so happy when you return, and you’ll be so happy to see them. Also, please don’t think that trusting your other half to watch them is a bad idea. If your spouse loves you, they’re going to want to see you get recharged and maybe they can go have a weekend next time, but your kids need you…the BEST you, and YOU need that too!
Again, this tugs at my heartstrings, because this is a legitimate thing. As I’ve stated before on my blog, I spent the first three years of my marriage in major MAJOR poverty. The kind where we ate so much pasta (because it was cheap) I can actually remember crying when I had a sub sandwich again because it had been so long since I had meat or fresh veggies! Growing up my family had some major debt issues, and with my mother being the main breadwinner, she knew how hard we had to pinch those penny’s, but that still doesn’t mean that she couldn’t have had a mini vacation and the same goes for you.
I love traveling, but when I first got married and my husband had vacation time, we used it as a “stay-cation“. Sounds funny but it’s where you stay home, and rest there. I usually did a really good deep clean the week before and put a LOT of thought into how I wanted to rest and what I wanted to do and even what I wanted to eat during that time and while it’s a bit tricky, it can be done (even if you have children).
First, kids usually have friends around the neighborhood, at church or other place of worship, with their grandparents, or at school! I promise if you talk to one of the other parents something can be arranged where they can watch your kids for the weekend. Yeah, it won’t be a full week of awesome, but on the other hand, it’s time to rest which as I’ve said above, YOU NEED! Also, consider taking time off during times when your kids are already engaged in activities for most of the day. I grew up in a pretty religious home so we had camp and Vacation Bible School (VBS) during the summer those are prime opportunities that I wish my mother would have used to rest.
So, what do you do when the kids aren’t around? Whatever YOU want is the answer. My mother loved making stir-fry, but we (being the children we were) didn’t care so much for the veggie-laden dish. Cook what YOU want, WATCH what YOU want! Take a bath, read, whatever it is you’d do on a normal vacation, now’s the time to do that, even if it’s your home! You wanna buy a box of expensive chocolate and lounge about watching daytime TV and reading magazines? DO IT!!!! I even recommend using paper cups and plates at this time so you have to worry about only the minimal amount of dishes. Go ahead and cut corners, but please for the love of whatever, REST!!
Don’t be afraid to think out of the box a little too! Air BnB is making it so affordable to get away, if you put even a few dollars here and there away, by the end of the year you could find a cheap place to get away and afford food and basic things!
I hope this list helps and don’t forget to check back next Wednesday for the next installment where I start covering how you can get the most rest, healing and recharging! You deserve your love. If you would like to be notified when I post again please SIGN UP for email notifications and if you would like exclusive content into my life then feel free to follow my social media’s listed on the sidebar! – Heather Astaneh