More often than not, when my husband suggests a trip somewhere with the kids, I groan a little. I can’t help but put on my mom lens and think of all the work that is involved with going on a vacation with three kids.
I think of the sleepless nights in the hotel room, the packing and unpacking, and the inevitable meltdowns that will for sure happen with one or all of the kids at some point. I guess being a mom has made me more of a homebody than I ever thought possible. I crave routine and structure and a full night’s sleep with everyone in their own separate beds.
Admittedly, my husband is always the instigator of family adventures, and sometimes takes a kid or two off to explore without me. I’m always invited, but sometimes the thought of camping or hiking for days on end, or being in the car for hours just doesn’t sound enjoyable. I have to admit that I’ve said no more than I am proud of.
A couple of weeks ago, he planned a road trip with two of my kids. I opted out (again) and when he came home and the kids were gushing about how much fun they had and the cool things they had seen, I truly felt like I had missed out.
Their childhoods are rushing by me now. I see it slipping away fast. And, I realized in that moment that every moment truly counts with them. Especially the fun moments.
So, the next weekend, my husband planned another trip for our family. When he initially told me about it, I was stressed. All the thoughts that usually creep in were there. But, I knew I had to make this one happen or I’d regret it.
Yes, I spent several hours planning and packing. Yes, I was stressed about leaving work, and responsibility. Yes, I didn’t sleep great. Yes, we almost had a puking incident in the car. Yes, there were meltdowns of epic proportions. All of my usual fears were realized. Because, yes traveling is hard.
But, as I spent four days with my husband and my kids, I realized something new. I realized that they are the best people I could possibly be spending time with. I realized that away from the laundry and dishes, I was actually more attentive to them. I realized that my husband is more relaxed and happy when he’s out on an adventure. And, I realized that I don’t just love my kids, but that I reallylike my kids. A lot.
I realized that my kids are fun to be with. I realized they are growing faster than I’d like, and that my oldest is starting to talk like a teenager. I realized that I’m a lucky mom to have 3 smart, talented, healthy, GOOD kids. Yes, they meltdown when they are hungry, tired, and done. But, so do I.
I realized that the family trip that is full of hard work, sweat, and literal tears, is really the best place to get to know each other.
They made me laugh a lot. My husband and I worked together as a team. We did things together that made us laugh. We climbed mountains, helping each other navigate the path and remembered that our family is the greatest family there is. And, I remembered what this mom thing is all about.
It’s not about reminding them to clean their room, or folding clothes and fixing dinner. It’s about watching them experience things. And, there is no better place to do that than a family trip where you are making memories – together.
So, I’m not going to say no to the family trips anymore. Now, I’m all in for the adventure, because I know that my time with them is precious, and really, there is no place I’d rather be than with my favorite people on earth.
This post originally appeared on Perfection Pending
Meredith Ethington is the founder and creator of Perfection Pending, and has been blogging for over 10 years. She is a mom to three, and is desperately trying to help her kids understand sarcasm, and her need for personal space. She recently turned Perfection Pending into a contributor site to share the voices of all the fellow moms she admires. She is a freelance writer and has her first book coming out soon, Mom Life: Perfection Pending. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where she loves to laugh at herself and admit that while parenting is the best thing ever, it’s also the hardest job on earth.