Ah, vacation: rest, relaxation, and lazy days drinking frozen drinks while cooling your toes in the crystal clear water… oh wait, you have kids. And that means your summer getaway has gone from hanging at the poolside bar to, well, something that’s not nearly as peaceful. Even though you have the annual family trip itinerary planned down to the second, you can still carve out a few free mama-time moments that are for you and you alone. Here’s how.
1. Book a suite or rent a house. Crowding your entire family (even if there are only three of you) into one tiny hotel room may seem budget-friendly, but it also means that the only way to get a break from your kiddos, or S.O., is to hide out in the bathroom. And let’s just say that a bathtub is not the best place for a nap. A suite or rental house will give you a few options if you need a minute to yourself or want to get some shut-eye without a toddler jumping on your bed.
2. Pack plenty of toys. When you’re at home and need five minutes to email your boss, text your friends about girls’ night, or just breathe, you break out the LEGOs, building blocks, toy trains, or all of the above. Try the same approach on vacation too. Your tot can pretend they’re the engineer of train town as you sit nearby and flip through a few pages of a breezy beach read.
3. Bring along a no-mess craft. You’d like to eat a meal (or at least part of one), uninterrupted. Your creative kiddo adores everything artsy. But finger paints and markers aren’t exactly hotel room-friendly. Instead, swap the messy markers for an option that has a little less potential for property destruction, like Crayola Ultra Clean Washable Crayons ($10) which wash off most surfaces, including walls. Or, if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, pour tempera paints into a freezer bag, seal the bag on top with duct tape, and let your child “paint” by mushing and swirling the colors around — from the outside.
4. Schedule a class. Yes, there are kids’ classes outside of your hometown too. Some resorts offer specialized children’s programs that provide an hour or so break for parents to snag some time alone. If you’re not staying at a resort (or your resort doesn’t offer kids’ programs), check out what kinds of classes are nearby. There may be a tot art class at a local museum or a morning-long science “camp” at a nature center. This is a win-win for the whole family: Your child gets to do a super cool activity and may even learn something in the process, and you get that well-deserved “me” time.
5. Play switch-off. There’s no rule saying that each and every family member has to be present at all times. Offer to cover breakfast and morning duty while your significant other (or another family member who is vacationing with you) takes the kiddos for the afternoon.
6. Order room service. Mealtime can be kind of a circus. When you just can’t face the prospect of dining stress, order in. Whether it’s room service, pizza delivery, or take-out that your honey brings back to your vacay rental, eating in the privacy of your own place may allow for a few moments of “me” time to eat a meal — while it’s still warm.
7. Take a shower. Bathing is a necessity, but it can also be a luxury. That 10-minute shower you take as your S.O. watches the kids is a prime opportunity to score some R&R. Bring along your favorite aromatherapy bath product and a few LED faux candles (the real deal may be a fire hazard that the hotel won’t allow), slather on a rejuvenating face mask, and relax.
How do you get a few minutes of “me” time on family vacations? Let us know on Twitter @BritandCo!
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