We have taken family trips to California for many years, with decreasing regularity as our family has grown. But we stay with my folks, and mostly visit family and friends. It's not a "Family Vacation", if you see the difference I'm going for here.
I was beyond thrilled when my mom and dad told me that they'd made arrangements for us to stay at a local resort, for an entire week. It's so nice. We'll be in a house. A house twice as big as the one we live in. Full kitchen, spa, four season room, everything. It's right on a golf course. It should be lovely.
It's only an hour and a half drive from here. Not bad. But I have to pack us for the week. Clothes, toiletries, toys, household items, groceries, everything. There is so much to do, and it's possible that I'm losing it. Or, at least I would be if there were anything left to lose.
So, what are my tips for stress free travel?
- Realize that there is no such thing.
- Purchase wine, if you drink it.
- Make lists, because it's very grown up, isn't it? It works, too, so that's nice.
- Make some more lists, because the more kids you have, the more you'll have to remember.
- Drink some wine.
Let me reiterate: It's not stress free. But so what? Life isn't stress free. Maybe the goal shouldn't be to not have any stress, but to manage it better.
Tips for managing it better:
- Delegate. Let other people do the things you don't have to do yourself. The kids cleaned out the van for me in preparation for grocery shopping and packing.
- Let some things go. It won't all be perfect. I haven't even checked the van to see what kind of a job they did. Maybe it was crappy. But I didn't have to do it, so I'm choosing not to care.
- Know that this will pass. This is both a blessing and a curse. They may scream for the entire 90 minute drive out to the resort. It will pass. But Reagan will be a Senior in High School this year, and my days of all of my kids being kids, is drawing to a close. You have to hold on to it while you can. Because it will pass, and you'll never get it back.
- Don't yell. I'm already a believer in not yelling (even if I'm not always perfect at it in practice), but it doesn't help and only stresses everyone else out. Drink a glass of that wine you bought. Aren't you glad I recommended buying wine?
I plan to take pictures, hold my babies, laugh, snuggle, and explore the great outdoors. I plan to do all of these things while heavily coated in sunscreen and bug spray. Because this is Minnesota, and the mosquito is our state bird.
If you can travel with your kids, enjoy it, and be grateful for the luxury. It won't be stress-free, but sometimes it's the crazy stories of those things that happen while preparing and traveling, that make the best stories in the years to come. And I love me a good story.