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Staycation Revelation

March 22, 2013

By now we’ve all heard the term “staycation”, the idea of a break from reality without the airfare.  As this week’s spring break approached, I found myself resenting the fact that I wouldn’t be spending mine on a white sand beach, that I didn’t need to dig out my passport or my bikini.  Work was breaking me, my kids were testing my patience, my husband was getting on my last frayed nerve… I wanted a VAcation, not a STAYcation!

Frankly, I’m sure my family was wishing I would take a trip as well.  For the past month or so I’d been, to put it mildly, a bitch.  I’d let the stress of juggling work and home get to me and I’d taken it out on the people who deserved it the least and meant the most.  Funny how we can be perfectly civil to strangers in public but impatient and grouchy with the people we love at home.

It all came to a head last weekend, when my big-hearted, level-headed hubby sat me down for a come-to-Jesus.  To make a long conversation short, he told me I needed to snap out of it and realize how my behavior was affecting my family.  He was on edge, our kids were acting out, our normally loving home environment was anything but.

At first I was defensive.  Did he not understand what it was like to have so many balls in the air?  Did he not realize the pressure I was under at work?  Did he not recognize how impossible it was to meet the demands life constantly placed on me?  And then it hit me: none of that was a valid excuse.  And none of it was my family’s fault.

I made a promise then and there to be kinder, more aware, more patient.  And a staycation was just the place to start.

The next morning when the kids woke up, I made a conscious effort to be present with them.  I left the to-do list gathering dust and played outside.  I cudddled.  I giggled.  I took my two favorite people to lunch and listened to their stories over French fries and root beer.  I was a Mom to them in a way I had ceased to be recently.  And it felt great.

The change in them was immediate.  The bickering stopped and the playfulness returned.   When my husband came home he noticed right away that we were having fun.  We were enjoying each other’s company.

I vowed to do the same with him.  I stopped what I was doing and welcomed him home with a real hug and kiss, not a perfunctory peck on the cheek while I was attending to ten other things.  I focused on the positive things from my day instead of venting about what had gone wrong.  I connected with him instead of treating him like an annoying roommate.  I remembered how much I love having conversations with him and snuggling on the couch, and I made sure we did plenty of both.

It’s kind of amazing how simple it can be when the fog lifts and you see clearly what’s really important.  Life will always have its challenges.  Work will always have its stresses.  But family is what truly matters.  I may have lost sight of that temporarily but a gentle reminder from my husband and a staycation with my kiddos were just what this mama needed to get her attitude adjusted and her priorities back on track.

You can have your tiki hut on the beach.  I’ll take a happy family any day.

P.S. I am not delusional.  I fully realize this is an ongoing process, not a state of being.  Tonight both kiddos were cranky and I had to draw on my patience reserves.  I felt myself starting to get wound up but I took a deep breath and kept my cool.  I know I won’t always.  But today?  I got this.
Now where’s that cabana boy with my mojito?

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