Less is More: Our Staycation Summer
I had this moment of clarity one morning in the shower. I swear some of my best thinking comes when I’m in there. Some days those five minutes are my only minutes of pure peace and quiet and I look forward to them each and every day.
We as a family had an unusually rough summer. My husband was gone the entire summer and then some. 11 weeks to be exact. As a mom of three kids under five those 11 weeks seemed like an eternity. During the non-summer months, my husband is still typically gone most of the day. He is out the door by 6am and home just in time for dinner around 6pm. However, those additional hours of absence that bled into the weekends were an added weight I was not expecting.
Prior to summer starting I was that mom. Making a list of all the places we’d visit over the summer. Museums, splash parks, play dates with friends. Heading to the beach on the weekend to visit our Mimi and relaxing as a family of 5. I was longing for our summer together to have fun, relax, and explore. After his first week of work travel, I soon realized that the beautiful summer I imagined was not going to happen. Now, I have no problem carting my 3 kids around. I’ll toss them in and out of the car any day. I planned to tackle the daily chores with all three in tow, and maintain a state of ‘busy’ the same as during the school year.
But something changed. Doing 100% everything on my own seem to drain every ounce of my energy from my body and hitting up the museums and parks seemed daunting yet I didn’t want to let my kids down. So I called my older two into the family room and asked them what they wanted to do the rest of the summer while daddy was gone. Library classes, art classes, heading to the community pools. You name it, all of those daunting tasks I threw out at them, and their response was a bit of a shock and full of relief.
“We want to stay at home mommy,” my five year old said with a smile on his face.
Did he really just say this? I asked probing questions and the “Are you sures?”. But they were insistent. They wanted their toys. Their pool. Their home. All the things they miss during the bustle of the school year.
And so we did just what they asked. With a few parks sprinkled in for a change of scenery we had a very stay-cation type of summer. We swam a lot, we played at home a lot, we colored and crafted and enjoyed time together. And on the weekends? We did the same. Our big outings included church and spending time with neighbors.
This staycation summer taught me a lot and gave me so much grace and peace. My kids want MORE of me and LESS of the stuff. My kids want MORE slow-paced days and LESS busy and bustle. The museums will be there. The parks will be there. The pools won’t disappear and the beach will forever call our name. But for now….while they’re little….I’ll let them be little and soak up every ounce of home they want because one day they’ll be off on new adventures and I’ll be missing that messy play room.