Monday, April 2, 2012

Living on Vacation

What is it about being on vacation that makes us relax?

Is it the break from our normal routine? The feeling that we aren't accountable to our regular responsibilities?

As we start day five of our extended stay in the Pink Palace, I'm discovering that while we are basically on vacation, we have to be careful not to fall too far into that mentality. Yes, it's spring break and we've spent plenty of time by the pool, but for a two week trip with kiddos in tow, we still have to maintain a sense of routine because without it we would all be losing our minds unhappy.

A couple days break from the norm won't hurt anyone, but for the sake of everyone's sanity, sticking to a general routine is making life much easier. Kids thrive on consistency. They simply operate better when they have some idea of what to expect out of the day. We don't follow a rigid schedule at home, but we have a general flow to the day that includes meals, playtime and time for rest. Since we've been here, we essentially apply the same overall scheme to each day with a little more flexibility. It keeps everyone happier when they get meals and naps at the regular intervals they know from home.

Another part of living on this extended vacation is remembering that just because we aren't at home doesn't mean we need to be lazy. There's a difference between relaxation and laziness. Obviously we're taking it easy out here. I personally spent about 5 hours by the pool this weekend which was wonderful and peaceful and fabulous. But I've also noticed that we're just a little more wasteful. At home we use mostly cloth for napkins and cleaning, but I didn't want to deal with packing that type of thing so we've been going full tilt on the paper towel usage. Pool towels tend to go into the wash after one use when they could easily hang dry and go another round. It's only two weeks so I'm not overly concerned, just noticing a trend.

I'm also observing that I personally have been a lot more umm, flexible with what I eat and drink during the day. Being on my own for a good deal and getting less sleep as we all adjust to a different place, caffeine has been my best friend so I've been sucking down the soda and coffee drinks just as fast as I can get them. I haven't been snacking much, but my meals aren't exactly the picture of health every day. It's always funny to me how much more effort I put into making sure the kids get good, well-rounded meals, but lose the focus when it comes to my own eating habits. Why don't I feel the same responsibility to care for myself as I do for my kids? I think it's that pesky vacation mentality creeping in that tells me it's just for now, just a treat because I'm on a break. But all those days add up quickly so I better tune in and watch out.

Do you try to keep up a sense of normal living on vacation or do you let it all go?

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