Diary Adventures of LagosMums: DALM | Hacks for How To Have a Really Relaxing Holiday
Summertime and vacation go hand in hand like a burger and fries or akara and pap. For many parents having a relaxing holiday when it involves children seems more like a myth than a reality.
This is especially true for parents who travel with young children. Many times summer travel does not include any help and you will usually hear mothers say that they need their own holiday from the summer vacation.
The Summer Picture
For many Nigerian parents, high on the list for how to spend the summer is to travel away from home for some weeks with their families.
Most of the families do not travel with their domestic staff and many times without their spouses.
Mum travelling with young children, no domestic staff, no spouse…It is not a holiday is it? It sounds purely like stress! And it is a shame that after counting all your coins and adding it up to travel, you come back more stressed out than before you traveled?
So the question is; is it even possible to have a relaxing holiday when you travel? The answer is yes and no. Yes you can, if you make some adjustments.
Holiday with Young Children
If you have very young children you could decide that you will not travel alone with them while they are very young, or at least not alone with them. We forget it but for kids, being away from home can also be difficult for them to adjust to. Consider the possible change in time zones and a tired mum; it can be a recipe for stress.
So perhaps while the kids are younger you decide to travel closer to home or do not go for such a long time. Lastly, you can plan your travel to places where there are friends and family members; thereby allowing you to take turns watching your kids.
On my side when the kids were younger the truth is that it was hard to have a relaxing holiday. As they have gotten older and with more experience; I have learnt some hacks over the years for a truly relaxing holiday.
The first hack is a digital detox.
This was a new hack for me! this was the first summer holiday that on return I could truly say that I was rested from the holiday. The biggest change for me was that I went on a digital detox! Someone asked me “you mean you did not go online at all for the whole summer?” The truth is that when you detox you still eat, but in much smaller quantities and are more intentional on eating right. Same when it comes to a digital detox.
Once I got off the digital detox, what I learnt was that we are fighting a losing battle. See getting online is like truly going down the rabbit hole. It is designed to keep you online. Perhaps you check your email, then you google something. Following this then you check your WhatsApp messages and then start scrolling your feed on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.
Or you could decide to watch a video on YouTube and then the next one auto-plays. After this, you remember that you have not checked twitter yet. Oh, and there is now a notification showing you that the email sent now has a reply! Suddenly you check and it is 2 hours later. Your children who have been entertaining themselves are now cranky because you have ignored them for so long and on top of that they are hungry.
You mama now feel guilty that you spent so much time online. Then you jump up and since you do not have Mary Poppins to prepare a meal, you need to quickly prepare a meal. You can see how this is not exactly a recipe for a fun time.
This holiday, I decided that I cannot fake being in control of my digital consumption. I took a real digital detox and sometimes for a full week I did no social media.
We all, cannot blur the lines between work and home life. So I put an out of office message on my email box which read Work-Life Balance 😀 This helped me to manage their expectations and I also did not have the pressure as an entrepreneur to always feel the need to respond to emails.
It was drastically different. My business is also digital media so you can imagine how much time I spend on digital for both work and life. Going off was one of the best things I could have done.
Apart from the natural fact that the children were older; my biggest hack for a relaxing summer holiday was the digital detox.
My husband also complained because I was not even reading his WhatsApp messages! But in the end at the end of the holiday, I can report that I am well-rested. I am back home to work and ready to face real life.
It is important for me to continue to monitor my digital consumption. I spoke to a friend and she asked if I enjoyed my holiday, I said yes I did thanks, I feel really rested. She answered with wow you are the only I have spoken to who has said that. We all really need to be more intentional to make rest a top priority.
And for the mums with young children, teach them responsibility early so that you can enjoy as well. The kids can make meals for themselves now; so thankfully I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to make meals. They were also enrolled in camp and this kept them busy and learning for hours every day.
We explored and did things that were fun and educational as well. The holiday was not all about shopping and spending.