As I sit here planning a spring break trip for my family, I’m having flashbacks of our last vacation. It was on this particular 9.5 hour road trip (578 minutes to be exact), that I found myself in a situation familiar to many mothers…
In the passenger seat of a jam-packed vehicle, where you spend as much time facing the back of the vehicle as you do the road. And it’s on this trip I had the epiphany: Being a Mama on a long road trip with your family is basically like being a flight attendant. “Thank you for flying Motherhood Airlines.” “Would you like a snack?” “Do you need another drink?” “Have you found a movie you would like to watch?” “Are you able to charge your electronic device?” “Do you need headphones?” “Our estimated time of arrival is 6:45am.” But on this particular airline, there are no cocktails, the back row whines, argues and occasionally hits each other, a passenger has to pee approximately every 18 minutes, and the neediest passengers fly for free. And don’t even get me started on our pilot…
So why does this Mama plan (plot?) for a wonderful vacation for my little family year after year?
Because I’ve learned that a family trip can be a priceless investment in our relationships. My husband and I have agreed to prioritize vacations when possible, but we don’t always agree on the destinations. Let’s just say the kids and I are particularly fond of a certain mouse and his house in Orlando, but my husband would opt for anywhere else, literally, ANYWHERE BUT THERE. His final words as we were exiting the park on our last trip to the Happiest Place On Earth were, “Next time I come back here will be with my grandkids.” Our kids are only seven and nine, just to give you an idea of his estimated return date.
What is it about family vacations that make them so priceless?
I think it’s because they provide a different kind of quality time than time spent at home. My whole family seems to be the best version of themselves when on vacation, out of our home, and away from the mundane day-to-day tasks and scene. I think my husband and kids would agree that “vacation mom” is a bit more fun, a lot more relaxed, and so much more present than regular mom. And it feels sooooo good to be “vacation mom.” As a mom who does try to offer structure to my children, it feels terrific to leave routines at home and just wing it. Donuts every morning for breakfast? “Sure.” Stay up past bedtime? “Okay Kids.” Take the a third bath of the day? “Of course! Don’t forget the bubbles.” In a world of “hurry ups” and “not todays” it feels amazing to look at your child and say, “Take your time” or give them a big fat “yes!” to their requests.
A vacation is so much more than recreation. Making memories with your family is never time wasted, and there will come a time when memories are all your children will have. So pack the car, buy the snacks, charge the tablets, load up on sunscreen and cram as many precious, fun, relaxed moments into your vacation as possible.