Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Break for Moms: Frustrating or Fun?

Can you relate to wanting a break or holiday to be over? If so, start leveraging the special events in your life to start moving toward a more orderly family life (rest for you!). Grab a piece of paper, or go to your list at, or your custom planner at the special events tab, and start writing down what went right this spring break, and what has to change. Ask your kids how they would answer these questions as well, and brainstorm with them about Memorial Day Weekend or the Fourth of July! Even if you have something specific already on the agenda, come up with a plan that deletes the things you are bugged about on THIS holiday. Keep your list or record handy, and make a habit of ending every holiday and break like this. See my Christmas post for more ideas.

Stop beating yourself up about what didn't go perfect, and get past the "I am so annoyed about this and that, " and on to "what can we do to make this and that into whatnot the next time around!" This is VITAL in keeping the spirit light around your house, as is checking to see what others think.

Following are some concrete examples to help get your creative juices flowing:

1. Did you spend the whole break spring cleaning or running errands and fighting with other family members to help? Research a couple of housecleaning and/or errand services in your area and compare their rates. Figure out how much you would have to save a month to pay for an annual deep-clean service, and start putting your small change in a bucket or jar for that. A month or two prior to your next spring break, book the service to come out a two or three days before the break, so you will start out feeling like it's a break! Everyone deserves a break, right?

2. Did you get tired of hearing how bored everyone was, or alarmed that they stayed glued to the TV/computer for a solid week? Check local publications for activities that you missed this week, and put them on the calendar for next year. Don't overload the week with activity, but definitely have something everyone can anticipate. Plan a date night swap with friends with kids of similar ages: the kids have two nights of fun together (plan to make it fun with popcorn, games, sleepover if appropriate for your two sets of kids, etc.), and each couple gets a date alone together in the middle of the workweek without having to worry about homework and bedtime (for the kids anyway!). Depending on your situation, you might see about whoever has a full-time job also being able to vacation as well.

3. Does it seem like more work than the regular routine? Depending on the size of your family, ages of children, and job situations, it may ACTUALLY BE more work! Plan for it! Go get pampered at the salon the weekend before, clip takeout coupons to use a couple times during the week, and freeze all your leftovers (Especially breakfast! oatmeal and pancakes freeze very well, and you reheat/toast.)for the entire month before, so there will be cooked food available. Pick up a stack of disposable plates, cups, bowls, and utensils to keep dishes down if your children are very young, or farm out one key chore (dishwashing/trash) for your older kids to "own" all week long, and have a favorite reward for each for cooperating and helping YOU take a break. Do everything picnic style. Have  a cooler full of juice boxes, water bottles, and cold snacks like yogurt all ready to go BEFORE the break starts.

4. Do some or one of the things mentioned above REGULARLY, and you will thank yourself for it. You are going to be fatigued, because you are a hard-working busy mom. Plan for it, and give yourself a break, too! Everyone's situation is different. Will you comment and let me know what ideas you have gotten inspired with for your next spring break or holiday?

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