School’s…out…for summer!! School’s…out…forever! OK OK, so school isn’t out forever, but Alice Cooper nailed the sentiment of my girls at the end of every school year with his catchy lyrics and head-banging tune. Due to my flexible job, I have been blessed to be able to spend time with them every summer since their dad and I divorced. And I love it. Summer is a time of slowing down. Of relaxing. Of “stopping to smell the roses” for all of us. And…it’s a time for VACATION!
So, how do we work out vacations? Every summer, I get one full week to take my girls on vacation, and their dad gets one week to take them on vacation. Seven days is longer than I am used to going without seeing them, as I try to limit days without seeing them to three or fewer. When we are ready to schedule our vacations, we contact the other parent to let them know the dates we desire and the place we plan to go. Unless there are conflicts with camps or previous commitments, we are pretty amenable to each other’s request. I don’t feel like either one of us tries to outdo the other in terms of the types of vacations we plan or locations where we go. I also believe that neither my first husband nor I have any sense of jealousy that leads us to hope the girls don’t enjoy their time with the other parent.
While schedule-wise I don’t like to go a full week without seeing the girls, I am able to talk to them once or twice while they are gone to see how things are going. Same goes for their dad.
Following are points I think will help any adult in a blended family situation learn to embrace vacation, whether it’s with the kids or not:
- Even though their parents are divorced, most children who live in two different homes generally get two of everything, including summer vacations. This can obviously be a bonus. Mine have experienced the beach, a cruise, another beach, flying on an airplane, another beach, visiting another country, another beach, a trip out west, and, have I mentioned, another beach trip? They are really pretty lucky ladies.
- As technology improves and they get older, it is easier to stay in touch with the kids when they aren’t physically with us. This makes the seven day stretch go by faster for me.
- It is best for the children to make happy, fond memories with each parent. Allow them to feel it. No matter how much it might hurt you to imagine them having fun with the other parent/family, try not to be selfish. It is what is best for them. And knowing they are having a fun time with the other parent should also allow you to relax and know that they are in good hands.
- While on vacation with your kids or while they are gone without you, spend some time reflecting on the positives God provides for your family. Read the Bible if you can or refer to a study guide of some type. I could definitely stand to do a little more of this myself!
So…here’s to summer vacations! Plan a meaningful one with your family, even if it means doing something low-key like camping out in the backyard or saving up to fly somewhere exotic. And when the kids are away on vacation with their other parent, be happy for them and treat yourself to a mini vacation or staycation of your own, if possible!
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
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