It’s a funny thing, the way “vacation” works for stay-at-home moms. In many other “careers,” when an employee goes on family vacation they escape their job and coworkers and experience downtime without the stresses of day-to-day life. But in a SAHM’s case, her vacation is often shared with those same lovely faces that she cares for all-day, everyday. One might even argue that she is still technically “on-the-job” throughout her time off. Maybe. But I still believe family vacation helps reset all involved and is extremely important, especially for stay-at-home mamas.
WHY FAMILY VACATION HELPS MAMA BEAR OUT
RESPONSIBILITY IS SHARED.
For many families, vacation involves two parents and/or other adult family members. A lot of pressure is taken off of a full-time caregiver when another person is there to help share the responsibility. Having Papa Bear around means I don’t always have to be the one to react when intervention is needed; I can mentally “check out” at times.
DAYS ARE STRUCTURED AROUND FUN, NOT TASKS.
There always seems to be something that needs to be done, fixed, prepared, etc, on a normal day at home. Sure, we have fun, but there are still chores that a mother can’t ignore. Vacation has a way of shifting the focus and freeing a responsible mama to breathe easy and have fun. Living out of a suitcase is supposed to be disorganized. There is a general understanding that vacation is time to relax or explore/have fun, and tasks are small ones that can be put off until later.
LESS TIME IS SPENT COOKING.
Even though our family tends to cook most of our own meals on vacation to save money and maintain ingredient control, the foods we make are quicker and easier than normal, with less dishes. I tend to pre-bake & freeze grain-free muffins and boil eggs that we can eat with fruit for zero-effort breakfasts. Lunches and snacks are simple and repetitive, and easily packed for roadtrips, hiking, picnics on the beach, or wherever else we find ourselves. Dinners are simple (like stir fry), or fun family meals we can enjoy making together (like almond flour pizza).
A CHANGE OF SCENERY GIVES NEW PERSPECTIVE.
Sometimes we just need a fresh look on things – to get away from the daily grind – to feel rejuvenated. Maybe the change of scenery is a mountain you spend a few hours driving to; maybe it is a staycation family camp-out in the living room with stove-top popcorn and homemade marshmallows. Whatever it is, changing things up is important every now and again!
OPPORTUNITIES FOR ONE-ON-ONE TIME ARE REALIZED.
For families with more than one child, it can be hard for the primary caregiver to spend individual time with each of them. When both parents are on duty during family vacation, the ability to focus on just one of the kids for half-an-hour becomes more possible. Maybe this means a special mommy-daughter date, or maybe it just means cuddling and reading a book together in the corner while Papa Bear holds down the rest of the fort.
MAMA BEAR GETS TO BE A PASSENGER.
I don’t mind driving, but I find it far more relaxing to just go along for the ride, especially in a new area, through traffic, with multiple rear-facing babies in the back potentially fussing. One thing I enjoy about going places with the whole family is that I get to take off one of my hats and just be a passenger. I don’t have to pay attention to directions or other drivers, I get to enjoy the scenery and be more free to peek over at the babes.
Read also: Make Your Trip Blissful: On the Road
MAMA BEAR GETS TO BE A GUEST.
Often mothers are in “hostess” mode, cooking and cleaning for their “guests.” Getting away from that can shake off some pressure. Whether staying at a friend’s house or a hotel, moms get to be the guest. Even when camping, it is on someone else’s property that others maintain & are responsible for.
MESSES ARE CONTAINED.
Yes, a mom may still be “on-duty” during vacation, and all too aware when disasters are being made. The good news, though, is that all vacation messes are contained. Unlike at home where there are drawers, closets, and crannies full of stuff, a hotel really gives you the bare bones and a couple of pieces of bad decor.
Children can only dump out what you packed in the suitcase. They can only get into the week’s worth of food that you bought. They can only break an item that the hotel bought on discount and has more of, no doubt.
DREAMS ARE BORN.
Finally, I believe vacation is especially important for stay-at-home-moms because new dreams are often had there. When some of the responsibility is lifted, a denser focus on fun is enjoyed, and new perspective is had, excitement and vision often finds a way of inviting itself. Before moms know it, they are not only feeling refreshed and invigorated, but sometimes their goals and aspirations (as well as the family’s at large) are too.
It’s difficult being a mother. Most of us get a lot more done before 9:00 a.m. on a regular day than we did when we didn’t have kids. So, if you plan a vacation around relaxation and cocktails with umbrellas, but then arrive and discover that you still have to do everything you do at home, your “holiday” becomes more like work.
When it’s time for you to return home, you’ll feel revitalized and ready to take on the world. Things your family members do that used to irritate you will become endearing once more. You’ll be able to see the larger picture and appreciate your family for who they are even more. Within a brief vacation, you’ll move from burned out to eager to return to motherly duties. Sure, getting back into the groove of things will be difficult at first, but you’ll be well-rested and ready to take on anything comes your way.