Vacation. You plan for months. You push through your work. You drive your business. You plan, you pack, you re-pack. As a Mama you pack yourself, your kids, the medications, the sunscreens, the carry-ons, the snacks, the fluids…the everything. You hang on and you count down the number of sleeps until you’re on the runway taking off to your sunshine destination.
Oh yeah. Vacation! Woop!
Every year my family takes a week off in March and we head somewhere beachy, hot, sandy, beautiful…and all-inclusive. It’s my heaven. And this year, after my first online product launch and a year of massive professional and personal growth, this vacation was desperately needed. By my entire family.
We took off. I sighed. Then I stuffed goldfish in my kids’ faces and plugged them in to their tablets with the hopes of reading more than a single paragraph on the 5-hour flight.
Our first 3 days were glorious. Family, laughter, sun, pool, beach, joy. Exactly the delicious margarita-filled vacation I was hoping for! Go me!
Then, the margaritas became a little…bitter. My husband got sick. And not “Mexico” sick (if you know what I mean). I mean dehydrated, vertigo, panic-attack sick and my big man fell hard. There really is nothing more worrisome than a worried and sick husband. My job…let him know he’s not letting us down by staying in the hotel room, keep the kids happy and make some memories.
Making good memories when things are going sideways is hard work, let me tell you. On a vacation where you planned to sit back, relax and watch your kids frolic while you drank cool drinks but instead find yourself working harder than ever to remain positive, engage your kids and worry for your husband’s health (both physical and mental), it’s easy to get down and wallow.
Check on husband, try to smooth anxieties, stay positive, check on kids, cue crazy-Mama pool antics to make them laugh but worry, worry, worry the entire time. Ugh.
When this happens even the margaritas taste bitter.
There comes a moment when you’re in the middle of being caretaker, wife, Mama and memory-maker that you just want to throw in the beach towel and say “let’s just go home, I’m exhausted”. But…we forge on.
No, this wasn’t the vacation I had planned. Yes, I was worried. No, it wasn’t relaxing. But yes, I’m still in Mexico and can hear my kids laughing and playing. Time to reframe.
At one point I realized that when you go on vacation, there’s this odd kind of pressure to “have a good time”, “rest and recharge” and “enjoy your vacation.” It’s easy to forget that life…actual life…can happen on vacation. And when that happens our jobs as Mamas is to keep moving, keep pushing forward and keep making the memories that you can laugh at later.
We can wallow in the fact that our vacations isn’t ideal. We can feel sorry for ourselves when we realize the rest and relaxation we so desperately need just won’t happen. But, we will, quite quickly, need to pivot, regroup and realign the goals of the vacation. Sometimes, just sometimes, a vacation needs to be just surviving it. And surviving I did.
I drank those bitter margaritas, oh yes I did. I sunscreened my kids. I worried for my husband. I made memories of a trip I will not soon forget. Some good. Some bad. But memories I, for some reason, will always cherish. And I arrived home more exhausted than when I left.
But those bitter margaritas, well, there’s a place for them in all we do. Whether it’s on vacation or back home. We need to adjust, remix and drink them up anyways. It’s what you’re served. You might as well enjoy them.
All that to say: I’m hoping for a mojito next time.