There is absolutely no question about it… I need these “rules” more than anyone. But… my hope is that if you’re taking some time away from the daily and weekly grind to spend time with your family, that these prove to be helpful.
1. Love the Season You’re In!
You’re taking a family vacation. This is not your honeymoon, this is not a marriage retreat, this is a time to explore, enjoy, and have fun as a family. Too many people put too much pressure on their vacations. Relax. Have fun. Take a deep breath. Build memories with your kids. Our kids will remember if you and I choose to have fun with them on their level. Family vacations ARE crazy. Parenting IS full of the unexpected! Having a great vacation takes work from us as parents, but before we blink, this time will be gone – so enjoy this season.
2. Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact!
If you have to fly somewhere with the family… I will pray for you! I do have a rule for my wife and I… If we don’t make eye contact with anyone, we’ll never know how crazy they think we are!
In his humorous book, Little Victories, Jason Gay, a sport columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a parent as well writes this:
“When you travel with small children you concede your edge. You are now a suboptimal traveler. A problem. People don’t want to sit near you. If you walk onto an airplane with more than one child under the age of five, the rest of the people on the plane look at you as if you’re walking on with a herd of wet goats.”
I was on a late night flight recently and a mother was traveling alone with three kids and she did awesome… And she never made eye contact with anyone. Ha. See it works.
3. Spend MORE and Spend LESS!
Your kids will not remember if your vacation was a 5-Star or a 1-Star experience. They won’t. I remember my parents taking me to a Residence Inn and a Holi-dome (Holiday Inn with a pool and sauna!) and I literally thought I was the son of a king. They even ordered Pizza Hut for us and that convinced me we were royalty. Seriously, spend less time researching the perfect spot, with the perfect view, with the perfect foodie spot according to Yelp, and spend way more time, energy, and focus on being a kid with your kids! (Now if it’s just you and your spouse, treat one another like you’re royalty, but if the kids are along for the journey – just be a kid and they will be fine ordering pizza every night and eating a tub of ice cream from Publix!) Spend more time away from your phone. I know… iPhones are addicting (literally), but put the thing down. I know you want to capture every moment, just be sure you don’t miss every moment behind a screen!
God Bless you and your family this summer!