My first child-free vacation took place after nearly 10 years of stay-at-home parenting.
It really was an ideal vacation—followed by a shock when I was back with my kids in the same space.
That shocking, even depressing ending to the break I had been starving for, was a large-scale version of my difficult transitions from quiet mid-mornings to afternoons filled with noise and disharmony.
“But you should be grateful for the hours you had to yourself”, my husband would say. And wasn’t he right? Somehow I could weave my interests in and out of baby Eliana’s schedule for 3 years at home with her until she went to Pre-K. So emerging bitter from my relaxing mornings alone really didn’t make any logical sense.
Alas, no one needs a few more hours to herself so much as the mother who just had a whole morning to herself. …Or a parent who had just come back from a fabulous child-free vacation away from home.
There was a lesson I needed to learn about the purpose of my time-off from the kids, and I got it eventually. It boils down to this:
Your vacation doesn’t affect your parenting mindset. In other words, it doesn’t make you into a better mother than you were before. Rejuvenating? Yes, in some ways. But it’s only a pause button, and when you attribute anything beyond that to your vacation, it might end up depleting your energy.
But luckily, when you take a time-off for the right reason, you can avoid the negative after-effects—ranging from slight annoyance to burnout—of taking a child-free break.
When you’ve finished watching, take a moment to reflect on the vacation you’ve just come back from or the one around the corner, ask yourself this question:
What’s going to be there when you’re back with your children?
I’d love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to email me if you prefer. I read every single email.
Warm blessings for a summer of growth both for you and for your family,
P.S. By now you’ve probably downloaded the fabulous, inspiringly designed 19 Secrets pdf packed with good energy from real mothers like you and me. If you haven’t- you can get it here. And this is the link for sharing with friends who could use some true-and-tried mothering ideas for handling the long vacation hours. 🙂