Life with a 4-year-old, a 1-year-old and another baby on the way is pretty exhausting a great many days. Oh, what I wouldn't give for a proper vacation right about now! I would love to lay on a warm beach somewhere and read a book with a tropical drink in hand, listen to nothing else but the peaceful sound of waves lapping against the shore and feel the sweet, warm breeze.
But the odds of such a vacation happening any time in the (even remotely) near future are unfortunately slim to none. The upside though, is that once you are in the throes of the chaos that is child-rearing, your idea of "vacation" becomes quite a bit more relaxed. Here are five little things that seemed totally simple before having kids that feel like an absolute vacation now that I am a parent.
Taking a shower is something that used to seem like one of life's basic necessities, but since becoming a mom I've come to learn it's rarer than I thought. I've learned to treasure showers like luxurious spa days. Steamy water, a squeeze of my kids' baby shampoo and 15 minutes of uninterrupted silence? Ahhh... Does life get better than that? Who needs cucumber facials and paraffin dips when you have the sweet solitude of a cramped shower? Who cares if you have to dodge all the bath toys in the process? Alone time—and not smelling like the bodily fluids of small children—is absolute bliss.
A solo trip to Target? Now that is the stuff tropical vacation relaxation is made of!
Pooping in solitude used to seem like an unalienable human right, but your kids have shown you that this assumption could not be further from the truth. Going to the bathroom without a child standing super close to me has become my version of Moby Dick; it's an ever-elusive idea that I am constantly chasing. When the heavens do actually open and I get to use the bathroom all by myself, it feels like the ultimate luxury. Sad, but true.
3. Going to a movie ... in an actual theater!
Netflix and chill is the mantra for parents everywhere—except when we say it we actually are watching Netflix and chilling (i.e. probably falling asleep on the couch). Getting out to go to see a movie in an actual theater feels like a pipe dream. But on those rare occasions when you do manage to secure a babysitter (for an actual date night and not just something you're obligated to go do) and you actually see a movie while it's still in the theater, you will feel like you won the lottery. Those two hours of Hollywood entertainment will give you refreshment like you haven't experienced in ages (or, you know, since the last time you went to the movies like six months ago). Bonus: You'll feel in-the-know about pop culture for about 20 seconds, which will give you some new playground chatter with the other parents.
4. Getting out of bed time duty
Maybe bed time is a sweet, precious endeavor in other houses, but in ours it's kind of an ordeal. Someone is always crying about something or whining for more water or getting up again because they "really do have to poop this time." Bedtime feels like a marathon many nights, so on those nights when I have plans or work obligations and my husband has to tackle it solo, it sort of feels like my own little piece of heaven. Like tonight, I'm working in our office with the door locked, and as I hear my children hassling him for "one more story" I can't help but feel like working is my own little mini getaway.
All of those other things I've mentioned are good stand-ins for a proper vacation when you're a parent, but seeing a movie and peeing alone are sort of like vacationing in the continental U.S. I mean, it's an awesome break, but it's not the most glamorous vacation of all time. A solo trip to Target though? Now that is the stuff tropical vacation relaxation is made of! No kids and endless pretty things to look at (Oh Nate Berkus, you just "get me"!), not to mention the snack aisles and the fact that they stay open late. Can I just live here? Target, thanks for the being the best mini-vacation my tired mama heart could ask for!