Every Summer I Look Forward To A Staycation Away From My Family
By Taslim Jaffer
PHOTO © agatha/Twenty20
Jun 10, 2019
Every weekday morning, I whisk my three children off to school and then settle into my routine of exercise and writing from home until — a little too soon — it’s time to pick them up and begin the next parenting shift of homework, activities, dinner and sneaking in a little more work where I can.
Once they are in bed, I take an hour or so "to myself," which can include any number of the following: catching up with my husband, reading a book, throwing in a load of laundry, cleaning the kitchen or listening to a podcast. Some of these events happen simultaneously. I am constantly aware of the clock, as most of us are, because the clock is the dictator of my days and nights.
And this goes on all year long, except during the summer.
During the summer, I don’t whisk my children off anywhere for six hours of writing time. I spend the holidays doing my best to juggle all the things. For moms of all circumstances — working outside or inside the home — the summertime requires an enormous amount of skill to stay on top of everything while enjoying the precious family time that being out of school affords us. There comes a point, around five or six weeks in, that I just need a break from it all.
Enter: The summer staycation.
Eat when you’re hungry. Sit when you feel like sitting. Go for a run for as long as you want, when you want. Because you can.
Three summers ago, I was invited to my friend’s 40th birthday luncheon on a Saturday in August, a day that we were to be away at the family cottage. I decided I would slip away from the cottage for the day and return after the party (this is easy enough to do as our cottage is just an hour away).
“Why don’t you just spend the night at home and come back the next day?” my husband asked.
“Like, just be home…by myself?” I was too busy imagining all the things I would do with my free evening to hear his response.
I ended up visiting my aunts and grandma in a neighbouring city and then met up with a friend in downtown Vancouver (a destination reserved for special occasions when you live an hour outside the city). I went to bed when I wanted to (quite late because I did not want the day to end) and got out of bed when I felt like it. And I loved it so much, I did it again the next summer and the next, increasing my staycation to two nights.
You'll Also Love: How I’m Planning To Slow Down For Summer With My Kids
What I learned is it's important to get a staycation as a mom, whether it’s at home while the family is away, or away while the family is at home. Here's why:
- You can throw out the clock and listen to your own body rhythms! Eat when you’re hungry. Sit when you feel like sitting. Go for a run for as long as you want, when you want. Because you can.
- Being needed is a lovely feeling. Being constantly needed has drawbacks. A staycation helps you remember what it feels like to not be pulled in multiple directions. There are countless health benefits for taking care of numero uno (that’s you, believe it or not). So, it’s for your own good health!
- In my case, I spend a little time on my writing. Working on your staycation is totally optional, of course. (It’s your time!) I choose to do it because I love it and because I can do it when I want. My productivity seems to kick into high gear around 2 p.m., which is exactly the time I need to stop working in order to pick up my children. I work around this glitch year-round, but when I live by my own schedule, I capitalize on it.
- You get to be social, but then come home and be alone. The tricky thing about being an introverted mom is that you want to see your friends, but then you come home to a house full of people needing you and wanting to talk to you. When I’m on my staycation, I meet someone for lunch and return to a quiet home.
- After two nights, I am ready to meet up with my family again. They’ve missed me (a little, because they’ve still been enjoying the lake) and I’ve missed them (maybe even more than they missed me), and I’m recharged enough to enjoy the last couple weeks of summer before we start living by the clock again.
And as for this coming summer, who knows? Maybe I’m due for a whole week!
Add New Comment
Most Parents Have Been on a Field Trip From Hell — Here’s My Story
I’m an Active Immigrant Parent, Not ‘Hard to Reach’
I Ate Hundreds of Crepes To Teach My Son a Lesson
Snacks & Treats
How to make a favourite cookie of the 1946 Canadian army
It’s Different For Girls — What I Learned About My Daughter’s ADHD Diagnosis