Giving Mom Best Mother's Day Present She's Ever Had
We moms all know the dirty little secret of family vacations.
No, I'm not talking about the piles of laundry when we get home, though that's certainly no fun. I'm talking about how moms whisper on the beach, around the pool and on line at theme parks that family vacations are really no vacations at all for them, especially when young kids are part of the equation.
"Many moms say they need a vacation after the vacation," says
"It's a lovely vacation for everyone ... but me,"
And on vacation, just like at home, guess who is mediating squabbles, planning activities, navigating unfamiliar turf, keeping kids safe, searching for that missing bathing suit top, a washing machine or new batteries, treating minor illnesses and injuries and making sure there's enough milk for breakfast. (Whenever possible, I go for a condo with a washer or a wash-and-fold place.) I can tell you from personal experience, moms are concierge and activity planner whether the kids are three, 13 or 23.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not taking anything away from dads who do their share and then some on vacation -- including my own husband who likes nothing more than whipping up a big breakfast for the gang at a vacation condo or cabin and then leading them all on some expedition. It's just that moms typically are the planners, the packers -- and the worriers. Still, a lot of moms will agree that those rare isn't-life-with-these-kids-wonderful moments on vacation are worth the effort -- as long as you're not too tired to enjoy them. "Enjoy seeing the trip through the kids eyes," says Suzy Stuffer, "and then plan a Mom-only trip as a reward for all of your hard work!"
Certainly there are plenty of Mom trips to choose from. I've got one planned to
You can opt for a well priced (
That's not to say a family vacation can't be enjoyable for mom too -- at least part of the time.
"Plan for a break for mom, suggests
It can help -- especially single moms-- to invite grandparents or extended family along -- assuming that won't cause you more stress.
Bring your favorite sitter -- or niece or nephew and let them chase the toddlers down the beach and sit in the room while the baby naps, moms suggest. Hire a sitter for a few hours each day. At the very least, look for a place that has a terrace or balcony to hang out on while the children nap or are down for the night, adds
Then there are the all-inclusives -- cruise lines -- some like
Be forewarned that you may get more of a break than you bargained for if your kids -- especially tweens and teens -- prefer the organized activities to hanging out with you. Or you may not get a break at all if the kids balk at participating-- the preschooler uncomfortable in unfamiliar turf, the grade-schooler who thinks the activities, no matter how spectacular, are "lame."
At the very least, let the kids (and dad) be in charge of a couple of meals -- from shopping to cooking to cleaning up -- and create an itinerary that includes some "mom" time. Can you think of a better
Most important, let go of the guilt! It's your vacation too.
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(c) 2010 Eileen Ogintz
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