If any of you have taken a vacation pre-babies and then post-babies, you quickly realize how much the word VACATION has actually changed, dare I even say morphed into a completely new meaning.
What was once a relaxing forethought has now become a completely different beast all its own. Pre-babies, the word vacation brought about thoughts and feelings of calm, relaxation, fun, and care-free bliss.
Post-babies, the word vacation takes on new thoughts, almost roller coaster-like emotions.
When one takes their first "family" vacation, there are all these preconceived ideas of how perfect it will be. Perfect family meals out in restaurants, strolls through the town you are visiting, and how could we forget those picture perfect staged family photos. Because as we all know, us moms have to get all those, 'firsts' documented.
In my own experience, going from vacation for two, then to vacation with three, and last a vacation of four, I've learned a few things along the way.
First, you are not a bad mom to think, "Oh no, is this worth it?" I have those thoughts with every family vacation we take, along with the rest of the mothers in America, and if they won't admit they have those thoughts then they're lying! It's normal to feel completely overjoyed and overwhelmed at the same time.
It's REALLY worth it! Here's my list of why!
1. Quality Time:
It's so important to make family memories. It shows your kids the importance of spending quality time together as a whole family unit. Many parents work outside the home or have a spouse that works out of town during the week. Children need to have that time with both parents together. It allows everyone to reinforce the importance of family bond, and allow everyone to recharge and reboot, before heading back to the 'real world'.
So, for those of us with little ones, this is a stretch, but it does allow us to relax somewhat. Vacations allow for relaxation if you allow yourself to let go and truly relax mentally and physically.
How many times as a child and now an adult have you pulled out old picture albums by yourself or with your parents and looked through them? I do it a lot with my mom. It's fun to look back and reminisce all of the trips and activities over a specific vacation. It even sparks memories that I had long forgotten about until a picture triggered it to the present . These are exactly the things that you will want your children to do when they are older. There's something special about looking through pictures and reminiscing.
The biggest bonus, in my opinion, when it comes to vacations, is the experience. For children this is HUGE! Vacations are full of new adventures, new things to see, new languages, and new cultures. Depending on where you travel, it can even involve seeing new animals. These things don't always seem as novel to us as adults, but for our children, experiences like that can provide new understandings of our world and the things in it. It can open their eyes to people and things they've only seen or read about in books.
Vacations don't have to be the most expensive or luxurious to create memories that last a lifetime. But, you do have to go somewhere. Even a staycation in your own town can be a fun adventure for the family.
So, when you have the grumblings in your head at the thought of a vacation for more than two, remember its about the time and memories with your spouse and children, and try to relax as much as possible; accept the not so perfect pictures, and the disastrous dinner at the restaurant, and have a great time! And if all else fails remember, wine helps too!