I’m not Super Mom.
I’m actually a pretty impatient, often frustrated mother. Ask my kids, they’ll tell you.
I’m not a stay-at-home mom. And while I have tons of respect for stay-at-home moms, I’m just not cut out for it. I actually really love working, and admit that being at home with my kids all day, every day is really hard for me. I go a little nuts. I get overwhelmed and overstimulated. But last week, the kids had Spring Break and I took the week off the spend with them. Crazy, right? I clearly wanted to test my “mom” abilities.
With tax season in full swing, Mike couldn’t take a trip like we have in years past. And I didn’t want to go anywhere, with all the business travel I do. Basically I was on my own with the kiddos and we had to come up with a way to fill our time around our own town without strangling each other before the week was over.
So how did I do it? We made a plan. I know it sounds like a simple solution, but I really don’t like to plan my vacation time. I like to just take the days and time as it comes. I’m highly scheduled and organized 99% of the time, so I crave unscheduled time. But I didn’t think this “fly by the seat of my pants” mentality would work, since it would probably allow me to justifying why it was okay for us to stay home and do nothing.
The week before spring break, Shelby and I sat down with our big family calendar and picked out activities for each day of spring break. She gave me a list of things she really wanted to do and we plugged them into various days of the week.
Each night before bed, Shelby would consult the calendar. She knew exactly what we had planned for the next day and what had to happen to make that happen, like get up early or pack a lunch. As the kids were eating breakfast, Shelby would tell Cooper what the plan for the day was. Everyone was invested in the process. And everyone was excited.
We went to Peter Piper Pizza. We went to the zoo. We saw two movies. We shopped and visited the Easter Bunny. We went to the Children’s museum. We got pedicures. We went to the pool. We colored Easter Eggs. We had a birthday party for Cooper. It was an awesome 10 days. So good.
So making a plan got us 90% to success. What was the other 10%? I adopted the mantra “you need to unclench.” I’m wound pretty tight. I try to control all of life’s details. I can be pretty rigid with most things. For spring break I told myself over and over “Unclench. You need to unclench.” And then I’d count to 10 and try to relax.
Guess what? It helped. It all helped. We seriously had the best time. Both Shelby and Cooper are at the best ages. We no longer have to haul a diaper bag where ever we go. We don’t need a stroller. Both kids listen; hold my hand when asked; don’t need naps; and are 100% engaged and excited about everything we do. I learned a valuable lesson this last week. A little bit of planning and patience will go a long way.