Remember the first time you went on vacation after you had become a parent? You expected vacation to feel like it did when you were just a couple – relaxing, restorative, and fun. Back in the day, you wouldn’t want the vacation to end – you never wanted to have to return to work! Fast forward to your vacation with child – your child is out of his routine, the sleep training you have worked so hard on is totally disrupted – you and your partner are exhausted trying to fill endless daylight hours with entertainment for your little one…you can’t wait to get back to work and you feel more exhausted when you return than before you left for the vacation. As the mother of an almost 7 year old and a just turned 4 year old, I can testify to the fact that vacations do actually become fun again – but you have to set yourself up for success if you want relaxation.
Use the Ipad.
Trust me, there is no shame in Ipad usage! It took us a while to budge on our “no screens for our children” rule but once we did we realized that screen time is not the devil incarnate nor a gateway to later drug addiction.
I know that many pediatricians are concerned about childhood obesity these days and will caution parents to limit snacks. In our family, my son and I seem to have the same appetite – we like to eat a little bit at a time about 3 hours apart. My husband tells me that this kind of “grazing” is pretty healthy (and he studies indigenous tribes so I trust him on hunter/gatherer topics). You can be strategic about your snacks – a mango and a piece of cheese, for instance, makes a great and healthy snack. Sometimes my daughter is in a bad mood and she doesn’t even realize it is because she is hungry. I think she might get that from me, too.
Don’t touch the lights.
In my twenties I spent a few years being “shomer Shabbat,” which means that from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday I would not turn lights on or off. The ease of walking from room to room and not doing anything at all was surprisingly relaxing.
Prep food in advance.
I know it feels like that last thing you want to do on a Friday night when you come home is prep food for the entire weekend ahead – but on Saturday and Sunday it will feel so good to just have everything on “autopilot.” Sometimes my husband and I will make a Trader Joe’s run on Friday and get a bunch of cold items to eat all weekend long so we can just sit back and enjoy a buffet for each meal. You can also make cold soups in your blender and put them in a container to eat from all weekend (you won’t even need to heat them up).