I am not really sure who designed the idea of taking vacations. In theory, it sounds good. A getaway from your daily grind. A chance to dine out, relax by a pool or the ocean, hike in the woods, golf, get a massage. The list could be endless, but is it? Maybe for a couple or honeymooners. Most of the time, it is just the two of you and it fits with the concept of taking a vacation. But even that can get iffy.
Let me explain...If you are an adult you are likely working if you can afford to take a vacation. Before you leave on your vacation, you have at least one thousand duties to wrap up before you can leave. So, at the very least, the week before vacation is Hell Week "1". By the time you leave you are exhausted and definitely in need of this so-called respite. If you are like my husband, you get to the end of your time off, you are so irritated at having to go back to life that you make yourself and everyone around you miserable for the last day or two. Now in all fairness, everyone is not like that and Doc did the same thing with weekends. At any rate, you head back to work after finally relaxing and enjoying some "me" time. In all likelihood, no one has covered your responsibilities while you were gone and therefore you come back to double the regular work load. (please note: this may not be true in all careers/jobs) So welcome to Hell Week "2".
Now, if you have children, all of the above goes totally out the window. VACATION!!!?!!! Hah! My "work" (albeit unpaid) is the family. My work always went on vacation with me! Add to that the work of packing everyone's bags, loading all luggage and child equipment into the vehicle, closing up the household so that at least you don't have to face a mess when you get home, arranging for dog care if necessary. All this prior to going on this wonderful excursion where everyone but you relaxes and enjoys themselves. You are the mother. You still change diapers, take care of laundry, cook meals or deal with children of a variety of ages at restaurants, make a thousand trips to bathrooms and rest stops (mostly because the kids need to experience each and every bathroom along the way), referee fights about everything and anything including children accidentally touching each other and looking at each other, and doing constant head counts to make sure no one is left behind. (if you are as blessed as me, your husband pitches in with at least some of the above.) When you finally arrive home from this change in scenery, you are exhausted and in need of .... you guessed it .... a vacation!
Now, I don't want you to think it is all bad. We have a lot of great memories from vacations. It is definitely a time to spend together without the hassles of daily life and activities. It is amazing to watch your family laugh, enjoy each other (at least some of the time) and try new activities. But mark my words, a family vacation has nothing to do with rest and relaxation for the parents!
We have tried some large family vacations now that the kids are adults. We set it all up and whoever can go does. As a grandmother, these have been a little more restful. I pitch in with the kids as I feel like it, but sit down and read my book when I don't! There is true (and slightly evil) joy in watching my children try to "vacation" with their children! As we go through the various stages of life, we suddenly have a little more love towards our predecessors.
I don't know if you have been able to get away at all this summer with all the craziness of this world. Try to take at least a day or a weekend and devote it entirely to a fun activity with your children. Take the time to marvel at their minds and hearts. It is well worth the work that it will take. Somewhere down the road you will smile and realize that the work was not so much, that you would do it again in a heartbeat and that you actually miss "vacations"! May God bless you and your family with some happy times before the kids go back to school!
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!