Summer Vacation?

Mia posing underwater

I’m back!  It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged regularly and I have to admit that I have missed it, although we have also been super busy with fun things—travel, family visits, birthdays—so I am really not complaining.   But now our summer vacation has official come to a close and it’s time to get back into the daily routine again.

Wait, summer vacation?  It seems like whenever I talk about it being summer someone has to point out that my kiddos aren’t in school.  That doesn’t mean we can’t have summer vacation, right?  My friends have suggested that it is because I’m a teacher so maybe that is why I’m so set on the summer vacation mindset.  And maybe that is true.  Most of my life has followed the traditional school schedule.  Even when I was not yet teaching, I was a nanny and followed a school calendar.

But really I think a big part of it is that I like taking a break from our regular routine.  It’s fun to do different things and helps get me recharged for after the summer.  I think it is so easy when you are staying home with the little ones to get stuck in a rut and miss the magic.  Heck, I think that can happen to anyone, really everyone at some point.  A break gets you out of the rut and allows you a chance to get back on track for afterwards.  I treat it just like a New Year’s

At the Outer Banks with their Nanny and Papa John and cousins, Katie & Jack

Resolution or starting a new school/job/etc.  This is a chance for you to get back to how you want to be.  I want to be more organized (a constant goal to be honest).  Now I can get jump start on that.

Taking a break also takes the stress off.  This summer we traveled back East for nearly a month, we visited family in Northern Arizona, had family come stay with us, and threw the girls a big birthday party.  Then throw in other little trips here and there, day visits from my parents, swimming lessons for a month, and it is hard to keep a routine.  Instead of worrying about doing all the little things we typically do, calling it summer break, lets me relax a little and not stress about the change in schedule and routine.  This doesn’t mean that the girls get to do whatever they want or that we allow bad behavior.  It just means that I don’t get hung up on things that don’t happen.  For instance, normally we try to read at least an hour every day.  We still read this summer, but when things got crazy I didn’t worry about that hour, I didn’t even keep track of what we read.  And if bedtime was later than normal, that was okay too.

Exploring while my sister, niece, and nephew were visiting. I discovered Colossal Cave during a “staycation” years ago.

While I know I’ve enjoyed our break I think my girls have too.  Everyone needs a chance to relax at some point.  We also notice large jumps in the girls’ development whenever we travel or do different things.  It pushes them outside of their comfort level a little and lets them try new things, which can only be good.  And you don’t have to travel to do that.  Even when we were home during our summer break, we did different things than usual.  We swam more, had less structured activity time, and explored local attractions.

I know a big worry for some is that if you take kids off a schedule they will never go back.  And that might be true for some, but I think it’s all in how you approach it.  We travel quite a bit with the girls so we have really tried to teach them that vacation is different than normal.  It was our big family trip last fall where we first really started teaching the girls this idea.  The whole time we talked about our “vacation” until the girls were talking about it too.  And then when it came to things we don’t really do at home, we would just say, “Remember we only get to do this on vacation.”  You know, things like staying up late, stopping for ice cream, going to the beach.   Okay, that last one might sound silly but I kept worry that we would get home and they would want to go back to the beach or Disneyland and not get that we can’t just go whenever.   By the end of the trip, the girls would say it too and they really didn’t have a problem getting back in the swing of things when we got home.  Ever since, that’s been how we approach our trips and breaks.

Zoe playing with Grandpa (my dad) at Slide Rock in Oak Creek Canyon, AZ

So, now our vacation time is over (well, for now) and while I am so sad to stop visiting people, I am also excited to get back to normal.  It will be nice to have the house clean and start doing our regular activities again.  Instead of feeling like I’m going back to the daily grind, I’m recharged and excited about what I’ll be doing with my girls.  I guess my point is that even if you are a stay-at-home parent or your little ones aren’t in school, it doesn’t mean that you can’t give yourselves a break too.  Everyone needs it.

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