Summer is winding down around these parts – thank the baby Jesus – and we’re gearing up for back to school. This year will up the ante on the insanity for me. I’ll have to deal with the following:
1- in High School (bus departs promptly at o’dark thirty.. oh the humanity)
1- in Middle School (for those of you on the left coast that would be Jr. High.. ah the “Wonder Years” .. like I WONDER if I’ll survive these years!)
1- starting Kindergarten (separation issues are already effecting.. ME)
1- finishing up pre-school (I’m sorry but the amount of work piled upon the parents – read moms – of the finger painting set is a bit disproportionate. Really how many cupcakes can one be expected to bake in a 6 month period?)
So what have I chosen to do with the last few waning hours of the dog days of summer? Why TRAVEL of course! Because, seriously, what I really need is MORE laundry, “Are we there yet?”s, over priced bottled water and squabbling over who gets the “good” pillows in the hotel. Believe it or not though I do have a few tips to help cut down on the volume of “Happy” pills required to enjoy on-the-road family bonding time.
Location, Location.. LOCATION!
Sure a Griswold family cross country jaunt in the trusty suburb-a-mobile to WallyWorld SOUNDS like a great idea, but in all honesty a shorter trek will save everyone on therapy in the end.
Try checking out the “local” attractions of the state next door. Our kids – even the brooding teen – get a kick out of the “Welcome to North Whatsawhozit” sign. There is just something that inspires the ole wanderlust in kids when they’ve left the state they call home.
Never underestimate the power of packing
Okay I realize that the only way we can allow our offspring (and significant others) to pack for themselves, is by giving into the fact that they’d then look like hobos riding the rails away from the dust bowl to a beach vacay circa 1982… nothing like torn flannel and neon orange wayfarers to make a mom proud. That said, they’ve got to learn sometime, who says 43 is too late? Delegate some bag stuffing duties. TIP only let them pack things that won’t be seen in public.
Read set.. Go Bags
Alright, all joking aside this is a serious tip, so much so that I just provided it on camera to a blogger doing a gig for South West Airlines (sans parenthetical commentary) . Let everyone build their own go-bag. This bag should contain things like
- Age appropriate books (no Harlequin romance novels for the 11 year old no matter how big a fit she can pitch)
- Playing cards (it’s amazing what even little ones can come up with when given a deck of cards, little brats took me for $20 in blackjack last trip)
- Paper, crayons, pens … all the implements of the unplugged imagination (no it’s not an urban legend, the imagination is real)
- Treats. Let them pack some things you might not normally let them indulge in, it helps to keep them excited about opening the bag (thus giving you a few more moments of peace before the calls of “I’m borrreddddd mom!” begin)
The key here is to let them pack their bag a day or two in advance of the trip. The anticipation of getting into their bag goes a long way towards keeping them occupied while you get settled in the plane, train or automobile.
We’ll be off soon.. but I’ll still be posting.. mommy needs her sanity breaks after all. I hope you’ve had an outstanding summer!