Article By Lakshmi Vijaykumar, Senior Research Consultant – AVTAR Group
For most of us working mothers a vacation or a holiday turns out nightmarish when travelling with kids and elders from the family. If you are in an “inclusive” family then it’s your prerogative that you extend the holiday invitation to your in laws/parents (that get seldom declined), for after all they have been the caregivers of your younger ones while you were at work. Come on, they need a break too..!!!
So what happens during a vacation with your husband, kids and elders – all-in-one holiday. You not only have to take care of the needs of your little ones, but also cater to the demands of sixty somethings. The menu listings are different, type of activities differs, sightseeing will have to be tweaked to suit everyone, and the indispensable travel budgets will go up and down.
More often, you will end up building logistics on food, travel, others’ leisure time and focus less on what you wanted from the much awaited vacation.
Here is a list that will help you prioritizing your to dos and to don’ts while on a vacation with the entire jingbang so that you enjoy the break as much as others travelling with you do.
A certain amount of planning well and ahead for your trip or a vacation will save you from going through a series of confusions that may otherwise occur. Especially if you are travelling with extra baggage. List out the things that you want to starting from booking tickets in advance to going through everyday activities including the places you may want to see during your stay on the holiday. Always keep buffer for last minute inclusion.
It’s your vacation too…
Don’t forget, this is your holiday. Your children look forward to that exclusive time that they don’t get otherwise owing to your busy work schedules with you. And as a guilt-stricken working mother you are wanting to make it up for all the moments and hours that you may have missed being a part. However, it is OK to fulfill a few wishes from your kids. After a long sightseeing day if your kids insist on getting to the pool, just simply say NO and lounge in the room or the bar with your husband. Or, for example your elders want you to take them to the evening concert at a nearby place instead of having a quiet dinner in the room choose the latter. Its alright to not always oblige them.
Yes, it’s your husband’s holiday too. But if he is a couch potato who likes to simply watch TV on a holiday, insist that he takes the kids to the pool on one day or go for a walk with the elders while you do your own thing. Then on another you could take turn to do an activity with the kids or engage the elders while he gets his “me-time.” This round robin way during a vacation helps you in not always being in charge of everyone and everything around you. Else, you end up feeling as though you are on a working holiday.
Amid being a working mother, a caregiver for elders and various other roles that we play on a daily basis, many of us forget that we are wives too and not just errand girls. In the middle of innumerable conference calls, endless meetings, work travel and of course the kids at home, we tend to ignore the quality time that one should spend with spouse for a healthy family life. Vacation is the best time that you can steal few hours away from the hustle bustle of daily routine, squeaks and shrills of kids exclusively for each other. You start looking at your elders travelling with you as a boon. Get them to pitch in to babysit your kids for a couple of hours so that you get some time to each other.
Pack, pack and pack well
No matter how much you feel intimidated by the amount of stuff that you have to lug on a holiday, ensure all the essentials including readymade food, medicines, woolen if travelling to a colder location, shoes, and books for kids, elders and yourself are packed in the suitcase. Again as a working mother all this isn’t possible in a day or two. So plan well in advance and start accumulating things as and when you come by and time permits. Get all the non-perishable items first in the suitcase. The food packets can wait till the last. For everything else like for example stocking medicines, don’t wait till the last day before travel to put everything together.
Learn to enjoy
You know you have to get back to the daily grind of long working hours (both at home and work) — the kitchen stove will beckon you on return, the washing machine will scream with a mountain of clothes to be laundry-ed, pile of dust on the wall unit or couch will demand an immediate attention, laptop screens will flash and blind you with innumerable unread mails, but while on a holiday remember to SWITCH OFF completely. I mean switch the damn mobile handset off, put on your silly hat on and just break free to do all the crazy stuff that you may have ever wanted to do.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal and may not reflect those of this organisation.