There isn’t a mom out there who wasn’t looking forward to the end of the school year. For many, the grind of driving back and forth, day after day after day, takes on an entirely new dimension of stress. Not to mention having to be the driving force behind homework, baths or showers, earlier bedtimes that no one but you seem to want, and a whole slew of social drama that will have you reaching for the Advil.
You look forward to summer vacation, and even more so, you look forward to summer long weekends because the entire family can be together and go and do something fun. You envision smiles, laughter, late nights eating smores over the open fire. But it never quite turns out like that does it? Despite the fact that we’ve learned time and time again that motherhood means that you need to adjust your outlook and shoot for a middle of the road type of experience, we go into summer long weekends like a kid running through Disneyland for the first time.
There are as many different types of long weekends as there are families. See which one of these applies to you:
Your favorite long weekend is camping somewhere with your tent trailer and a bunch of bicycles
An outdoorswoman, you probably spent a lot of time camping before you had kids. Back when you could sit in front of the campfire until 3 am and not have to worry about the early bird peeping in your window, because you could just throw something at the window and he’d fly away. When you camp with kids, the early bird is actually your child, and the peeping means he or she is hungry/bored/ or just really energetic despite the pre-dawn wakeup.
The key to surviving camping with kids? You have a few choices
- Give up your previous camping ways and embrace the early mornings
- Put up garbage bags on the windows of your camper and keep it as black as night. This isn’t good if you like fresh air
- Don’t take them camping until they are old enough to not run away into the forest or at the very least, sleep straight through until a reasonable hour in the morning
Your favorite long weekend is at a luxury hotel in some trendy city
A spa mama. I like your style. You most likely spent many a long weekend sleeping on 400 thread count Egyptian cotton and wandering from cute store to coffee shop. Now, if you want to take your family away on one of your favorite long weekends, you’ll have to be sure that no one throws up on those pretty sheets or you’ll be paying for them.
How to survive and enjoy a weekend away at a nice hotel, with your kids?
- Reserve a double room or a room with a suite. That way, after they go to bed, you can go into your room and pretend that you are away for a relaxing weekend.
- Plan things the kids like to do between things you like to do. This means buying them 3 cake pops each for every time you go into Starbucks.
- Add an afternoon at the hotel spa to your list of things you must do, and leave the kids with Dad in the hotel swimming pool.
You enjoy amusement parks
You like a thrilling ride on a roller coaster more than anything, and your idea of the perfect long weekends is 16 hour days at Disneyland or Disneyworld, only stopping during shows and for character greetings. You pretend that the vacation is ‘for the kids’ but really, it’s all about you.
This is my favorite type of vacation, so I find it really inhibiting when everyone can’t keep up. I mean, come on, everyone wants to have their 4 year old on Splash Mountain at midnight, don’t they?
There are a few ways to make such an excursion easier for the entire family:
- Go a few days ahead of your entire family. Get it out of your system.
- Reserve a hotel right on site and leave your family there for naps, rests, recharges, etc.
- Bring along a relative that is willing to hang out with your kids in the evening, so they can rest and you don’t have to
You too can survive a summer long weekend with the family. The secret? Lowered expectations.
Just as we know that your life is never the same after you’ve had children, we also know that the day to day differences are what add up the most. A simple long weekend, one of your very favorite things, turns into a circus when you add enough little people to the equation. Just adjust your expectations, and you’ll end up being grateful for the most inconsequential things.
And if you need some quick stain removing advice, I’ve heard club soda works well.