You're exhausted and overwhelmed. Being in continuous survival mode has drained you completely. Your battery is flat.
You know a jump start won't do the trick, you need a proper break. If only you could get away from it all, pack up and leave for a change of scenery. For some downtime with your family. To play with your children, to have a conversation with your husband. To spend quality time with your loved ones, without any distractions.
Yes, a break! A family weekend away. That's what you need. But how?
You can't even start to imagine how to make that happen. You feel the stress rapidly building up. All the preparations, deciding where to go, where to stay, what to pack. No, you have too much on your plate right now. Maybe when things settle down a little.
And you don't have the money anyway. Holidays are expensive and the kids need new school uniforms. Better to save up for more useful things. Better use the time productively, not letting time while away doing nothing at the poolside.
A holiday? What were you thinking!
Stop Sabotaging Yourself
What if I told you, you are dead right. A break could absolutely be the answer to your problems and your first trip is much closer than you think.
Short getaways are an effective tool to get you where you want to be - at peace, relaxed and refreshed. Short trips are affordable ways to bond with your children, to deepen the relationship with your husband and to reconnect with yourself.
Living in a fast-paced city with 2 toddlers and a fulltime job, I know all about flat batteries. Until we introduced the Memory-Making Family weekend. In a nutshell: we disappear on an overnight camping trip, just the four of us. 24 hours without distractions. To catch up on life, on sleep and to offload our emotional backpacks. And we return home with a new running battery, bursting with energy.
Sounds simple? It is. And you deserve the same.
So here is your template for a weekend away that:
- will leave you relaxed and recharged
- won't cost you more than $50
- strengthens your family connections
- requires minimal prep and no thinking effort (all lists included in the Toolkit)
Your Memory-Making Family Weekend
1. PREP & PACK
Decide where to go
Choose and book your campground (reserveamerica.com). Turn this into a challenge for older kids, put their tech skills to good use by letting them do the research online. remember you don't need to cover much ground to get away, limit the distance to two hours of driving. This saves you time and money spent on gas/public transportation.
Divide and conquer
Packing is easier than you think, the trick is to allocate tasks. While kids are packing their backpacks, you might prepare food, while hubby packs up the car. Allocate according to strengths. My husband is an amazing cook, but seriously, it takes him forever to cut up veggies, not to mention the mess he leaves in the kitchen afterwards.
Don't own camping gear? Don't worry: either borrow from camping enthusiasts or share the costs with friends and rotate equipment.
2. ON THE ROAD
Keep in mind that once you are on the road, the trip has officially started. This means giving each other full attention. Take in the scenery, sing songs and play games. Leave your phone in the bag and iPads at home.
3. AT THE CAMPGROUND
In my experience it's best to set up the tent first. Then it's time for exploring. Be spontaneous, fun activities will present themselves, let your kids surprise you with ideas. I've spent hours trailing after my son, tracking the trails he made.
At this point, you properly start to relax. The sun sets, announcing the next activity: building a campfire together. Use this activity to sneak in some lessons on danger and playing with fire. Experience is so much more powerful than theory.
And here's something else: After a long day outdoors in fresh air, kids are exhausted and ready for bed earlier than usual. Take advantage to enjoy a date night with hubby, with long conversations over a glass or two.
Astonishing, isn't it? You haven't even been away for more than a day!
See where this is going?
4. RISE AND SHINE
After breakfast, pack up first, then enjoy the surroundings some more. Go for a walk, climb a mountain, visit a waterfall. Plan to reach home by lunch time.
This Is Why You Should Get Your Ass In Gear
Feeling overwhelmed sucks. Especially when you feel you're in a never-ending battle.
But simple changes to your weekend can make all the difference. A change of environment can uplift your spirit, deepen your family bonds and make you feel alive again.
Imagine coming home feeling rested, grounded, loved. Kids jumping out the car, laughing, racing each other to the door.
You made a small investment that will pay itself back over and over again. In peace, in growth, in stronger relationships and joyful memories. Better still, you even managed to throw in a little old-school education. Nobody touched their electronic devices, you all got reminded what it feels like to be physically tired from being active outdoors.
Try it and see what happens. Here's all you have to do: Download the Toolkit and commit to go this weekend. Important not to procrastinate, just pack up and go. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
Treat this first family weekend as a practice run, no pressure, this isn't a competition. Think of it like cooking a new recipe. To begin, follow the instructions and after savouring the result, start adding different spices to suit your taste. Change up the ingredients to keep it fresh. Turn it into a family tradition, every first weekend of the month.
And before you know it, you have changed.
You are not tired anymore.
Karin Louzado is a family travel expert who supports others parents taking the effort out of travelling. A Dutch expat mum of 2 toddlers, she explored over 45 countries without losing her mind, wallet or kids. Download your free guide The Zen of Toddler travel and learn how to simplify family travel.