February vacation week is upon us in Massachusetts, and I am stressing out about it.
Winter break in December was brutal. I am a stay-at-home mom of three kids, ages 8, 5, and 2. My kids are at that tough age where the older ones are not completely independent in public spaces and the toddler is, well, a toddler. Also, being outnumbered at three to one can cause some safety issues for us as well. My oldest son is on the autism spectrum and is very unpredictable. So as much as I would love to take my three kids to a museum or aquarium during the February break, I am unable to make that safely happen without the help of a second adult. Honestly, even with a second adult I am not sure my kids, or I, could handle the crowds that accompany the vacation week.
So what am I going to do? Well, for the winter break in December I basically let my kids have way too much screen time, and I struggled to break up the endless fighting that occurred between them. I was overwhelmed, stressed, and had crippling “mom guilt” over their lack of activities. I was short-tempered and snapping at them when the exhaustion and frustration boiled over. I felt isolated, distant, and emotional for almost two weeks. And that took its toll.
I can’t let this happen again.
So I am planning ahead and asking for help from family and friends. Here are a few things I am planning to survive February vacation.
My 5-year-old daughter will do a couple of camp days at our local YMCA. These camps have flexible schedules and are inexpensive and fun.
I will set up play dates in advance. Especially for my daughter — she has a huge imagination and is constantly asking for me to play or interact with her. Simple solution is for her to have a friend come over. Odds are that her friends’ parents need a break from their kid too. It’s a win-win.
We will visit grandparents. Luckily for us our kids grandparents all live locally. So we will pop over and visit for breakfast or lunch. Then I can run some local errands kid-free, which is one of the greatest joys of my life.
If the weather is above 40 degrees, we will go to a playground. I will admit this makes me nervous. I very much dislike being out in the cold weather myself. But I know even a half-hour of fresh air and sunshine could change our whole day. I figure we can drive through Dunks and get hot chocolate and donuts after.
With a little planning ahead, I CAN make this staycation for myself and my kids much more enjoyable. Let’s all get out there and make the most of February vacation week!