Have you ever noticed how much rushing we do in life?
Running from practice to practice, to the babysitter and back home, and then the daily, all-time, worldwide, favorite question, “mom, what’s for dinner, I’m hungry. Now?!”. After 2020, staying home for an entire year (with that loving family of yours) have you ever cooked so much in your entire life?
Before the world shut down, I prayed for time to slow down. Longing for more time to clean the house, spend more time with the kids, and how about a date night?? Between all of the obligations of motherhood, running a fulltime small business, and oh, trying to carry on a full conversation with my sweet husband it felt as if I was drowning in stress.
Then, March 2020 arrived.
A year that brought us all hard choices and scary thoughts. We actually had to come face to face with ourselves in that mirror ever morning, because what else did we have to do? We were thrown into this new, weird groundhogs’ day, cooking three meals a day, sanitizing our groceries, teaching first grade, or worse, Algebra. What we did not realize was, a lot of us were getting all that time we had been desperately needing. Then a lightbulb went off.
Before, we had just been surviving, not living.
Traveling as a family has always been our longtime favorite family activity. More specifically, collecting all 50 states. The kids had each been on vacation at 3 months old and collected 20 states by the young ages of 6 and 2.
Yet, we only traveled when we had the time, could leave work, or had enough money. That last one always gets me. How is it that we work so hard but never have the money to vacation?
When lockdown went into effect, we were living in our home state, New York. Along with thousands of others, we our upcoming trip to Disney for the kid’s birthdays was cancelled. Later in the year, we had grand plans for our 10-year anniversary. Saddened and worried, we spent a lot of time wondering when our next travels would be.
Knowing others had it way worse, we did not complain. We started the journey of working on ourselves and our family. During lockdown, we were really living together. While we established a new rhythm in life, we started assessing what we actually wanted out of life.
Prioritizing a calm household and safe place for our kids to live. No more rushing! Before we knew it, we crossed over to a new slow-paced way of living, and I for one was NOT going back. Every night, I prayed the world would be healthy again, but I also prayed that we would never go back to our previous way of life.
Before, we put work on the top of the list and conversation at the breakfast table last. We put getting the kids to school on time first but speaking calmy and nicely to them last. Because all that mattered was what other people needed from us, not what our kids needed from us.
And that, broke my heart.
It was sad, but I knew our family had been given this time to change.
Travel allows us to recharge from our jobs, unplug from life. Spend quality family time. We can play, run, breathe.
What would we do if we could not travel? Thinking we would not get that much needed break as a family, we hitched up our camper, and we did what we do best. Hit the road.
It was not easy, but we went anyways. We had to. Keeping safety in mind, we did not venture far. Keeping it close to home we explored a couple new states in New England. With the rules in mind always, we always opted for car picnics.
We were anxious, but those kids kept us going! They did not notice anything different. They were simply, happy. Happy to be out of the house. So, why couldn’t we be like that? Appreciate life more?
On a normal day, traveling with small kids is a little tricky, pandemic travel is next level.
But the outcome is worth it.
The memories made as a family, will live forever in their minds. The calm and safe environment you make for them, is life changing. Those short 18 summers we get with our kids, is not going to be long enough for me, I know that already. So why am I just surviving until bedtime? Why am I not enjoying motherhood and the time I have with them while they are right here giggling and exploring?
One day, I will wish I had these days back. . I already do. It is hard and it is certainly not easy. There is more anxiety than laughing going on, but life does not have to be that way if you do not want it to be.
Small changes helped us takeback our lives. Setting intentions of what is important to our family and removing what was not, made all the difference between treading water and living life.
At this time, I know I cannot quit my job, nor can we be a full time RVing family, but there are small changes we have control over.
With the kids now being homeschooled we have the freedom to travel anytime we please. As a family we decided to stop spending money on things that make us happy that day, or week, and started giving our money a direction of where to go. Such as, a “school” trip to see Mount Rushmore. This is something I said I would always do, but never had the guts to take two kids halfway across the country.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to not wait. Prioritize life and happiness. Go see those things that you have always talked about doing. If not now, when?
Thanks so much!!
1. Three hours early to the airport or running to the gate? 3 hours early to the gate (although with kids now, probably running to the gate )
2. Pretzels or Lotus Biscoff cookies? Pretzels
3. Excel planned trip or just wing it? Excel planned trip
4. Favorite continent? North America
5. Dream destination? I have to say Ireland and Hawaii