Today being Day 3 in a 4-day weekend and my husband being out of town, I decided I would give myself a vacation. I knew I would have to be creative about this 'getaway'; I have three kids in tow, ages 4, 3, and 1. The idea of packing us up in a car and driving didn't sound appealing seeing as how we don't have a huge surplus of funds, nor do I have a huge surplus of patience for a car-ride during a holiday weekend, nor does my youngest have a huge surplus of understanding the need to not unpack things while mommy is packing things. No, an actual physical getaway was not in the cards. So I opted for a vacation from full-time Mommy-mode. The kids were always safe, but my "life lessons guard" was turned off.
The day went as follows:
Church: I let the kids bring... toy figurines (gasp!) to play with during worship music.
Lesson Lost: You need to pay attention during service and stand nicely with Mom while she is singing songs you don't know yet.
Sanity Gained: I got to focus on the songs, while the kids walked their figurines around quitely on their chairs without arguing.
Lunch: I let the kids watch t.v. while eating lunch. I admit we used to do this ALL the time, but I've been working on not having the t.v. on as much anymore.
Lesson Lost: TV will rot your brains and cause you to overeat because you're not paying attention to your hunger level signals.
Sanity Gained: We had a quiet meal together and I was able to get the kitchen cleaned up while they stared at the TV is zombie-like fashion.
Nap: After putting S in his crib for nap, I let G & M play for awhile and then let them chose where they wanted to nap.
Lesson Lost: Our routine is important and life needs to be predictable for the kids.
Sanity Gained: We all did, in fact, sleep for a bit and I got an extra chuckle when I woke up and found Matthew sleeping on the floor right next to the couch.
Pool: I went to the pool without a plan for dinner and we shared a big snack of Goldfish even though we should have been eating dinner by then. Also, I put S in a float that is not Coast-Guard Approved (but perfectly safe) which is not allowed at the pool - although I had seen others do it too.
Lesson Lost: Again, the whole routine thing, healthy eating habits, and following the rules is important.
Sanity Gained: We had sooooo much fun at the pool... and it wasn't very crowded because all the other families were at home eating healthy and timely meals. Additionally, I spoke to the lifeguards about the 'illegale' float and was encouraged that there may be a way for those floats to be used when the pool isn't too crowded.
Dinner: We ate fast food (okay, that's still kind of gross no matter what) and EVEN got milkshakes and EVEN ate our milkshakes before the 'healthy' food.
Lesson Lost: More healthy eating habits.
Sanity Gained: We sure did enjoy those milkshakes AND the kids did eat the chicken and fruit (and fries) after they finished their shakes. "Really, Mom, we can drink these shakes before we eat?!"
Bed time: Well, Sam stuck to his routine, but when G and M came down after 30 minutes of being in bed - which normally would have resulted in some sort of consequence and a stern talking to - I took them outside and we sat on the front porch and watched a storm roll in.
Lesson Lost: Bed time is important and Momma means business when Momma says it's time for our bodies to get much-needed rest.
Sanity Gained: It was so nice to not end the day with a bed time battle and even nicer to have a cozy time on the porch watching their faces light up in the lightning, talk about thunder, and see M give G a hug when she was scared by a particularly loud clap of thunder.
My vacation from always-trying-to-make-the-best-parenting-decision-to-ensure-my-kids-are-learning-important-lessons was a huge success. We had such a fun day. I am writing this with a smile on my face thinking of all the fun we had. Certainly, it wasn't any kind of "big Disney World" fun, but it was Good Ol' Fun. I kind of felt like I was being a grandparent and got to "spoil" the kids. Today's society puts so much pressure on parents to never drop the ball, keep up on all the new "studies" and compare yourself and your parenting style to those in your playgroup. That seems to result in many over-stressed, worn-out and bedraggled parents who are second-guessing most of the decisions they make.
Of course we always want the best for our kids. We want them to learn how to make good choices, and grow up to be responsible, kind, compassionate people. But today's Lessons Lost were trumped by the overall Sanity Gained: Sometimes the best parenting decision is to just relax, have fun, and break a few 'rules' every now and then.