Monday Mom challenge: De-stress family vacations

Jul 19, 2010 at 2:10 a.m. ET

When the family goes on vacation, it's not uncommon for kids to cheer - while moms practically cry. As wonderful as vacations can be, they can also be a whole lot of work. For mom, of course. Sometimes it can feel like no vacation at all, but rather just moving the families base of operation to a place without all your familiar resources. Yes, sometimes going on vacation can make your life feel even more stressful that the norm. What's fun about that?

Woman on beach vacation

It doesn't have to be like that, though. Really it doesn't. With careful prior planning and simplification during the vacation, family vacations can be vacation for you, too!

Proper prior planning

First, and possibly most important for any trip is proper prior planning. It's not only knowing where you are going and how you are going to get there, but knowing what resources are available when you get there, and thinking out possible scenarios and how you might handle them. Call ahead places if you need to, print out directions and generally have a plan.

The internet is, of course, a terrific resource for all this. The 'net can help you plan, organize, and, with the many review sites out there, help you determine the activities and resources that will best meet your family's needs.

Let it go!

Once on vacation, it's time to let go of control. It's time to let that planning work - and not freak out if something isn't under your absolute control. You've done the best you can, now it's time to step back and go with the flow.

So the dinner plans didn't quite work out and all you have at the hotel are peanut butter crakers, cookies and juice boxes. Will it really be the end of the world if your kids' meal isn't perfect? It is vacation, after all. And does bed time or the time you get to the amusement park have to be so precise? I didn't think so.

Find you time

Amid all this - because even if you are "relaxed" you are still doing much for others - try to find a little time to yourself. Whether it's a late evening bubble bath, or a solo trip to the convenience store to get that juice your little one has to have (and maybe that candy bar you've been hankering for), find time on your own and in your own head.

Family vacations can be terrific opportunities for family time and create strong memories for your kids. Make sure it's a bit of a vacation for you, too.

More family vacation ideas