Set Your Expectations
Bring Your Village
It takes a village to raise a child. Or in other words, if you’ve got a village with you then they can watch your kids for a bit so you can get some *%$^& peace and quiet for 30 minutes. Right now as I’m at the beach house with my wife and two kids, we’re accompanied by my father- and sister-in-law, and a niece and a nephew. We’ve had some friends stop by for a few days too. All these people are able to help out with watching the kids. It gives a release valve for the stress and pressure that build up from getting screamed at all day by my children who are beautiful but so very, very loud.
Just make sure you set boundaries. Your immediate family is used to each other, but staying in a big space all together with your extended family can frazzle nerves pretty quickly. Make sure you know who’s going to be making dinner, who’s going to be doing the dishes, who gets which rooms. Most importantly? Get your own bathroom. Wheedle and lie, cajole and threaten, but DO WHAT IT TAKES. Burn those bridges, baby. You want to be able to do your business without interruption.
Be mindful when you’re spending time with your kids. This time is out of the ordinary and special. When you’re out on the beach playing with your kid, it’s easy to fall into the same routine as usual—half paying attention and half feeling tired and stressed. Do your best to push that feeling aside and really cherish the time you get with your kid, whether it’s building sand castles, going on a walk, or playing in the water. If they’re at an age where they’ll play with you, take advantage of it fully, and be aware that it won’t last forever. I don’t know about you, but keeping that in mind helps me appreciate the time I have with my kids.
If you’re lucky enough to get some time off this summer, I hope this advice can maybe help you out a little bit to keep your sanity. It’s so easy to get back from your trip and feel like you need a vacation from your vacation. But set your expectations, get help from other adults, and be mindful in your time with your kids, and maybe you’ll get some good relaxation and great memories out of your trip.