You know how every so often you hear someone say "I NEED a vacation!" Maybe you even say it yourself and imagine a deserted island where you can lay in the sun with a nice juicy novel and, well, relax. I've been known to say it even. And now I get my wish! Next week we will be departing for a week long vacation to visit my husband's side of the family in Ohio. This is our first real vacation since having children, if you don't count the overnight trip we made a couple years back to a zoo a few hours away. And it's a long overdue trip, as we haven't ventured back there since moving three states away 7 years ago.
But I'm tired just thinking about my "vacation". I have many plans to get things in order before leaving so that we can return from our trip to a clean house and just zonk out for a few days. I keep making lists in my head of what we will need to pack and what we must not forget to bring. I dread thinking about spending ten hours in the van with three small children who are not used to traveling anywhere over an hour away. I'm nervous about farming our pets out to people while we are gone and especially nervous about the puppy who is still working on housebreaking and the dog which is much like Houdini and escapes the house whenever possible. I hate to think of how crabby the kids will probably be trying to adjust to a week away from home and sleeping in strange beds and just the disruption of their daily schedule. I imagine them whining and clinging a lot...to me. You see, hubby is looking forward to this trip (as he rightly should be - he misses his family) and doesn't even seem to be thinking of all that could go wrong.
And this, my friends, is where women and men are totally different. Men roll with the punches and take it as it comes and women prepare for the worst. We plan, organize, and think everything through to the last detail. We are the ones who have to remember to stop the mail while on vacation, remember to pack that extra package of diapers and not forget the wipes, decide how many pairs of underwear and sets of clothing we need to bring for each and every member of the family. Don't forget the toothbrushes and toothpaste. Remember the special blanket the kids like to sleep with. Make sure a fun goodie bag is packed for the van ride. Hostess gifts? Check. And the list goes on. So far, the plans leading up to the "vacation" have not been very relaxing.
But, while I am preparing for the worst, I am also hoping for the best. I keep reminding myself that for a whole week I won't have to be cleaning my house, or doing piles of laundry, or making three square meals a day and countless snacks. My mother-in-law is a great hostess and makes elaborate meals and entertains the children. We will get to see family and friends who we haven't seen for years. The kids will get to meet aunts and uncles and cousins that they have never met before. My husband will get to show off his children to many family members that have never met any of them before. So there is a silver lining.
But the question still remains...is there such a thing as an actual vacation when you are a mother? Because it seems to be quite stressful just preparing for one!