What is the best thing about going away on a family vacation? It’s doing adventurous activities, discovering new things, and creating memorable moments with your family. On the other side, vacation time may pose an issue–being around your family the ENTIRE TIME. Wait, did I just say that? YES, I did. Come on, how often are you joined at the hip with everyone in your family for several days straight? You’re inseparable while trying to compromise on everything from where to eat, where to shop, where to play, etc. Without some loose guidelines, it can be stressful! Not to mention the hot sun, long lines at amusement parks (if that’s what you do on vacation), crazy sleeping and eating schedules, and being away from the comforts of home. All of those can be ingredients for major misery if not dealt with properly.Vacation should be FUN, not frustrating, right?
We just returned from our family vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC (see our vacation photos at the end of this blog). We had a really fun time. I think we have finally found what works for us. Here are our SIX SURVIVAL RULES FOR VACATION!
RULE 1. Wear whatever you want to wear. No matching, ironing, coordination needed. No judgment either. My kids love this one. I admit my husband and I are sticklers about how our kids look when they leave our house. We have had to learn to give our teenagers some room to “express themselves” while still upholding some of our no-compromise standards. And those no-compromise standards are still upheld on vacation; however, they have freedom within those guidelines!
RULE 2. Compromise is a must. In a family of five, there are not a whole lot of things we all enjoy doing together besides mini golf. Everything else we do together takes compromise. We have learned that being together on some activities and seeing someone else completely happy is most valuable.
RULE 3. Be lazy if you want to be. Sleep in all morning. Stay up late as you would like. No cooking. No washing dishes. In fact, do not do anything that resembles a chore. We only require that everyone keeps up their personal hygiene and please make the bed if housekeeping services are not available.
RULE 4. Be your own budget planner.I learned a valuable lesson on a previous vacation that led me to this rule. We give our kids their own spending money in cash to use it on whatever they want. They never have to use it towards NEEDS. It is strictly for their wants. It gives them such a sense of independence. They get to decide which purchases are really important to them. It also keeps them from constantly coming to us for every little thing they want. Our only policy is once they spend all their money, it is gone so use it wisely.
RULE 5. Divide and conquer. My girls and I love to go shopping, but my husband and son don’t really care to do that. They would rather be driving race cars or something. We will usually agree to divide and conquer, especially if we are limited on time. This year we divided differently. My husband accompanied me on a quick run to one of my favorite stores while the kids went to the beach.
RULE 6. Space PLEASE. Somewhere along the way you may just want a little space. It’s ok to need a moment to yourself. One day my husband and I got up early and walked on the beach while our kids slept. Other times, I got up early and had some alone time with God to read the Bible and meditate. Our kids are at an age where they don’t have to share sleeping space with us. Having separate rooms from your kids (when they are at the appropriate age) can be a relief for you and them.
SUPERmom Decoded Tip: Know your family and what works for you. Create your own unique vacation experience. Do what you must to make it memorable, not miserable. Stay FLEXIBLE!