As I shuffled through piles of laundry from our trip and unpacked the cooler while trying to scrape together a lunch from the leftovers we had brought home, I began to miss vacation-mom.
The lake a few steps from our front door, bedtime books by the campfire, pretending I’m slipping off my raft for endless rounds of girly giggles that bounce around on the water, handmade sand pies and cakes, watching my kids soak up day after day of daddy-time, and morning snuggles with Grandpa & Nana–family vacation.
But as I reflect on what was most refreshing about the time away from home, it has little to do with the lake and sand, the sunshine, or even all the extra help, it was refreshing to be the mom I want to be.
The mom who lets kids be kids. The mom who joins the giggle fight instead of breaking it up. The mom who reads just one more story. The mom who doesn’t say, “just a minute,” or “after I finish…,” but says, “YES!”
I understand that vacation cannot last forever–at some point we have to return to jobs, not wearing the same tank top three days in a row, emptying the dishes from the drainer, and going to bed on time. But, I think some parts of vacation-mom can live on even as we return to our obligations and schedules.
I also know most of us don’t need one more post telling us, our kids are only little once, or soak up every minute. We are here, laundry to our knees, peanut butter and jelly smeared on our sleeve (and on the counters, and refrigerator handle), trying to answer all the questions of our curious one, while meeting the needs of the littlest, working our hardest to soak up the minutes (though, sometimes, at the day’s end, we’re not sure where exactly those minutes run off to).
But, maybe you want to join me in taking a few tips from vacation-mom even when mom is no longer on vacation.
1. Practice saying YES! Sometimes in our weariness we default to no, or not now, or that’s enough when it’s not really necessary.
2. Practice asking yourself a quick question before breaking up the pillow-hopping, or giggle-fighting, or bare-buns-shaking. Does this hurt anyone or anything? If the answer is no, let those silly kids be silly kids. I was so good at this on vacation, and not so great at home.
3. Practice giving yourself a break. Responding to that e-mail or chopping those veggies cannot wait forever, but it can probably wait fifteen minutes. Take those minutes, laugh and play with your kids, and then finish up your work.
So, who is in? Who wants to start asking What Would Vacation-Mom Do? How do you say, YES, and let your kids be silly kids at home? Share with me!