Ever been on a family vacation – with extended family? I think you know where I’m going with this! Here, Katie Bugbee shares insights to remember before (and after) you have a getaway with your folks. Share yours below.
We all know what those pre-kids beach vacations look like (I wrote about those days here).
But when we enter the fantastic world of parenthood – and realize “I need help!!” we eagerly say yes when our parents (or in-laws) offer an all-expense paid vacation. It’s only when you get there that you realize there’ve been some changes in your relationships. You’re in that limbo space where you feel super grown-up (#Imtheboss) one minute and like a child all over again (#stillfearmom) the next. Plus, senior level management didn’t get the memo that you wanted them to take the 6am baby shift. That glorious assumption of sleeping in goes out the window on Day 2 (#butyoureupanyway #thatswhenwereadthepaperdear).
So if you’re heading out on vacation with your folks – or you’ve just been – here are some things you can keep in mind – or please add to the list:
- Don’t assume ANYTHING.
- You will always be their child. And that needs to be okay.
- Explain/ask for certain expectations before you leave (like the morning kid shift or a date night).
- Either you’ve been talking in a hushed lullaby-voice for too long, or THEY CAN’T HEAR.
- They are fantastic playmates. Were they this much fun with you? #probablyprobablynot
- Offer to pay for dinners, groceries, your share of the house.
- Plan time for you (or your spouse) to be alone with the parents. Go for a walk, have lunch out. They miss you.
- Yup, you’ll have to bite your tongue and stop rolling your eyes. Because…Did you know: You’re a helicopter parent…Things were “less complicated” when you were a kid… and the Millers are getting new flower boxes..
- They mean well. Truly.
- Plan time for your smaller family unit if you want to have the experience of it being “just you.” Just explain this to your folks ahead of time.
- Take early morning walks or outings, so kid-squeals don’t wake the whole house.
- Have a possible plan for each day. Include rainy day ideas. #getawayplan
- Protect your partner. He/she might love your parents, but there’s only so much an “outsider” can take of another person’s family. No matter how awesome they are (your parents – and your partner).
- Yes, they’ve become more neurotic with age…
- And more amazing.
- And more frustrating.
- Ice cream is always allowed, even when you JUST said no. #wtf
- Be grateful for them, this experience, their love of you and your child.
- Sometimes you just need to keep your opinions to yourself.
- They make fantastic extra hands..but
- You have to make your needs very clear..and
- You should always say thank you.
- Your routine will be back when you get home. #itsjustaweek #orisit
Your rules might be gonzo. Your mom/MIL might “correct” your parenting style a few times. Your dad/DIL might swear in front of the kids. But you can get through this. Happy memories with extended family are a true blessing. The kids are super happy. And your parents are thrilled. At the end of the day (or trip!), that’s the best joy of all. Plus, you’re bonding with everyone in a new way, seeing your parents as more playful, and getting more sleep (hopefully).
Just give yourself a good 300+ day breather before you shack up together again.
(P.S. #24. The feeling might be mutual. Don’t be surprised if they’re writing their own list!)