Vacations with kids are not for the faint of heart. It is seven days of no rest, no reprieve, and all toddler-all day. As a working mother I can count on one hand, oh wait… two fingers, how often I have spent an entire work-free week with my children. Two times a year-yes you read that correctly! One week at Christmas and one week during our annual summer vacation. Months leading up to those two weeks I plan, prepare, and look forward to the adventures we will have as a family.
It is during those weeks with the boys that I am reminded how much their little minds can soak up. I witness their personalities diverging. And I am always surprised that they are still one another’s best friend. Those weeks spent with my family are full of fun memories and experiences but are also met with tantrums and skipped naps. I learn during those two weeks that my patience still needs work, my parenting style might be a little too laid back, and I continue to work on finding the sweet spot of balancing discipline and love. I have also developed a newfound respect for stay at home moms who are able to navigate the highs and lows of toddler life every day, all day long!
At the end of each of those vacations as we begin to travel home, my mind moves from family fun into work mode. What meetings are scheduled upon my return or what deadlines are approaching? As my mind is buzzing with to-do lists a twinge of mom guilt surfaces. Am I being selfish prioritizing my career? Is it really quality time with my boys when we spend our mornings getting ready for daycare and our evenings getting ready for bed? The mom guilt quickly subsides when I reminiscence on the past week’s escapades.
I am sure this is an unpopular opinion of the moms reading this post but I am thankful I get to return to work after those seven days. I get to return to adult conversations, I don’t have to share my lunch, and I get 45 minutes of a peaceful commute to get lost in my thoughts. Mostly, I am thankful that my lifestyle affords me the choice of quality over quantity in time spent with my boys, that I have a great daycare center who loves my boys like they are their own, and that my children and I are thriving in our current arrangement.
Did you know:
- According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 76 % of employed mothers work full time (2016).
- The 2010 US Census reported that 61% of children under the age of five were in some sort of regular child care arrangement (relative care, day care center, in home day care, head start, nanny etc.)