Avoid A Major Letdown With These Simple Family Tips

Summer is perhaps the busiest travel season for families.

The kids are off of school, extracurricular activities and sports wind down, and parents have some vacation days coming.

But when you’re a busy mom, it’s important to plan for your sanity after the vacation is over.

Adults and kids alike are full of excited anticipation when a long vacation is coming up.  We actually enjoy preparing activities, packing our bags, and getting ready to get away from it all.

Of course, getting away means you’ll eventually have to get back to reality – work, cooking, cleaning, bills and emails – and it’s a major letdown.

It can be especially difficult for moms.  We often work all day and come home for a “second shift” of home and childcare responsibilities.  

And sometimes being away for a time makes all the things we do every day seem overwhelming when we come back.

But just like someone can prepare ahead to leave work for a week or two, preparing an advantage for ourselves before vacation can alleviate some of the post-vacation letdown.

Obviously, it takes a lot of effort to pack for the kids, gather things to keep them busy in the car or on the plane, arrange for pet care, and figure out who can keep your plants alive while you’re gone.

But with a little extra effort while you’ve got that pre-vacation adrenaline going, you can make sure that the transition when you return home is smooth.

First, plan on getting all the laundry, cleaning, and bills caught up before you leave.  That way, you come home to a clean house instead of a mountain of work.  You probably prepare well in advance at your job, so why not do the same for your personal workload before you leave?

And while coming home to a clean house helps, you’ll still have all that unpacking and laundry to do when you get back.  A good tip is to give yourself a deadline – a day or two – once you get home before you make yourself tackle all those clothes and souvenirs.

Plan to set out a few outfits for the kids while you’re doing your packing and leave them for the first few days back home so no one is searching for (or whining about) what to wear!

It’s a good idea to give yourself another day off when you return from vacation.  

This may mean requesting an extra day from work instead of going back the day after you return – or if you’re a stay-at-home mom, it may mean that you and the kids plan to watch movies and order takeout the first day back so you can recuperate and rev-up to get back into a routine.

If you’ve got small children who aren’t likely to let you relax the first day back, put together some fun busy boxes before you leave for vacation.  

Planning out some easy crafts or purchasing new activity books, puzzles, or a game gives the little ones something fun to do, and (hopefully) gives you some quiet post-vacation time.

Another way to avoid the post-vacation letdown is to plan a fun day away the first weekend after you return.  It can be something as simple as going to the pool or even taking another day trip somewhere special so you have something else to look forward to.

For Mom and Dad, vacation is wonderful, but can also be exhausting.  The packing and traveling, keeping the kids busy and entertained, and sharing a hotel room as a family can be stressful.

Once you get home, plan a date night so you can both take a little break from all that togetherness!  

Or give each other a day to go out and do something relaxing – a spa day or girls’ night for Mom; hanging out with the guys watching a game for Dad – so each of you can decompress.

Then when it comes time to jump back into the routine, divide and conquer!  Depending on what your preferences are, Mom can get the unpacking and laundry done while Dad restocks the groceries – or vice-versa.

Remember, coming back from vacation is tough for everyone.  Routines are off – you’ve probably been going to bed or sleeping in later, not eating as healthy, and keeping the day full of activities.

Allow yourself some time to decompress before you have to jump back into the “daily grind,” and give yourself time to catch up.  Whether it’s work or chores around the house, it doesn’t all have to get done the first day you return.

Do what you can to simplify your schedule the first few days back.  

It may sound like a good idea at the time, but coming home to a full schedule of play dates, errands, doctor’s appointments or lessons isn’t going to be very appealing once you get home.

Most people suffer post-vacation letdown because they don’t prepare as much as they are able to and are met with a mountain of to-dos when they get back.

Plan ahead so that you have less on your plate than you normally would when you get back, and make sure that you include some fun and time for self-care when you return.

Above all, remember that while vacations are special, the most important memories you create with your family happen on the “ordinary” days the rest of the year.  

So, enjoy every minute!

Do you have any planning tips for avoiding post-vacation letdown?  Leave us your comments.