At this very moment, I am enjoying a pedicure while my kids are home alone packing their bags for the next few days.
We are leaving for a mini- vacation tomorrow and I realized as soon as I sat down, and dipped my toe in warm water as the scent of lavender crawled up my nostrils, the reason I’m so relaxed has nothing to do with what is about to happen to my feet.
I am in a state of bliss because in less than 24 hours we will be on holiday and I am not running around in a sweaty haze (like I was not long ago) the night before a vacation. Nope, I have teens now. Teens who are old enough to take some of the load off my shoulders.
As in, they can pack for their damn selves. If they forget their bathing suit, it’s on them. It’s not my problem; I couldn’t care less.
Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, I reminded them 10 times not to forget their suits because I have visions of us frolicking in the outdoor pool together as the sun sets in the distance.
But really, it’s not like when they were little and if something was forgotten, it was my fault. I had to suffer the consequences by listening to them break down which happens often when you need to remember to pack 6 pairs of underwear for each child, millions of tiny socks, children’s Tylenol, butt cream, their favorite lovely, Benadryl, snacks for the car and plenty of fluids.
Heading out for vacations with little ones means you have to do all the laundry before you can even begin to pack.
Vacationing with teens means you tell them to wash the clothes they want to take with them and pack them. That’s it.
Getting ready for vacation with little kids means doing a full grocery shop because you have a picky eater, will be in the car all day, or want to be prepared if your layover is longer than expected.
Vacationing with teens means you tell them to eat up all the food in the house because you can’t leave it behind or it will go bad. This works well since teenagers are human garbage disposals.
Yeah, your teens might not be as stoked about a family vacation as they were when they were little, but they don’t wake you up at 2:30 in the morning because they are out of their mind with excitement and wondering if it’s time to leave yet. You get to wake up, take your shower and get ready in peace.
When you have teens, you aren’t giving baths, washing hair, clipping finger nails and cleaning ears the night before a getaway. You don’t fall into bed the night before you are to leave already exhausted from the preparation wondering if you are going to have enough energy for the vacation.
And once you get to your destination if they are bored, or complaining, or need a nap, or just a general pain in the ass, you can leave them in the hotel room, or let them explore on their own to recoup. As long as we all meet up that evening for dinner, mama is happy.
I remember the days we had to lock up the fun around 7 pm or so while on vacation. Toddlers and young kids have an expiration date even though they don’t agree and try to fight with every ounce of strength. You finally tuck them in and tip toe around.
Now, my teens stay up later than me. And there’s so much comfort in listening to them laugh at the television and look over pictures they’ve taken throughout the day on their phones as I drift off to sleep. Also, when you are vacation with teens, they sleep in, which means you can sleep in, too.
Vacationing when they were younger had its great moments, but it was hard and exhausting. And now that my kids are older, I can honestly say there’s nothing like whisking them away and getting out of our routine. We truly connect; we are refreshed; we are reminded of all the things we like about each other.
And I have to say, my kids actually get to see me in a happy place, actually enjoying vacation because I’m not responsible if they’ve forgotten to bring enough underwear, or their sunglasses, or they’ve eaten too much ice cream.
When your kids reach the teen years, you get to take your vacations back. And it’s glorious.