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Monday Mom challenge: Make it your spring break, too

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Take a break with your kids

Whether or not you go away for spring break - or even if you do - sometimes spring break can feel more like work for a mom than relaxation. And while, as an adult and parent, vacations are never quite as carefree as they were in your youth, with some advance planning and a adjustment in attitude, spring break can be as fun and relaxing for you as it is for your kids.

Woman relaxing in hammock

"Spring break" sometimes gets a bad rap, even though its purpose - a bit of refresh and recharge before the final push of the school year - is positive and beneficial. There are some things you can do to make sure its as much a refresh and recharge for you as it is for your kids.

Stay or go?

The first decision you need to make is whether this spring break will be a vacation away or a staycation at home. Both can work - or be work. Beyond the making of reservations is applicable, the tone for vacation will depend on your level of planning and overall attitude to the time away.

If you go away, learn about what amenities will be available to you - and what won't. Know what there is to do or not do. With this information you can make a general (but not rigid!) activity plans and get a sense of how you and your family will use your time away.

If you stay, think about what you would like to do in this "free" time at home, and what do you need to accomplish it? How can you use this time at home differently from normal - to really make it a break?

Plan, plan, plan

Whether you stay or go, you need to plan, plan, plan.

If you are staying, do your grocery shopping (and meal prep!) in advance. Do all the laundry and wrap up chores. You may even want to stop the mail and newspaper. Do as much as you can in advance so that during your week "off" you can really enjoy yourself, not worry about this or that. Try to plan as if you were going away.

If you are going away, plan for being away and what that entails, yes, but also think about ways you could ease your transition back. Something as simple as making sure there's a pizza in the freezer so you don't have to immediately run to the grocery store can help ease your return transition and keep that relaxed feeling longer.

Give in and let go

After all that thought and planning, once the break begins, leave the to do list behind and let it all go. Go with the flow and let your guard down. Don't worry about timing, don't worry about variations to routine, don't worry about ice cream before lunch. Give yourself as much mental space as possible to just enjoy the time, and enjoy your family.

We can all use a break every now and again to recharge and have fun. Kids get one built into the school calendar every year. This year, this spring break, make sure you take a break, too.

More of our Monday Mom series:

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