So here I am, on vacation with my family (down at the Jersey Shore for those of you familiar with the awful TV show with the same name), enjoying, or supposed to be enjoying, the beach.

We were lucky enough to be able to find an apartment for rent, which is right next to the beach.  This is so convenient, since we don’t have to worry about eating out every single meal while on vacation (which as you moms know, is not as healthy as preparing the food at home).  It’s also convenient for when the little ones are tired, and we can just call it a day and walk up to our apartment.

The problem is, I find that I am spending more time in this apartment than on the beach, usually  with one, if not both, of my children.  In fact the only “alone time” I have had since we arrived, is a two-block walk to buy some bread for lunch the other day. 

I feel as if I have been constantly cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, nursing, baby minding…. pretty much everything that I do at home (except for my “day” job).

I should mention, here, in the USA it is pretty “normal” to feed the children a cold lunch, such as a sandwich and chips or fruit.  My French mother did not bring me up this way, nor am I doing so for my family.  My children always have a warm full meal for lunch and dinner (the only concession I have made to my own upbringing is breakfast…I will give my son a cold cereal for breakfast, esp on days when we are in a rush).

My husband, who is not complaining about the warm nutritious meals every day, said “why don’t you take some time for yourself?”  Although well-intentioned, that question made me want to explode!

How can he expect me to take any time for myself when I am physically attached to the baby at the hip (there are times were she will not even let me put her into the stroller to go for a walk)?  Or a 4-year-old who is currently going through some jealousy/regression issues and constantly calling out “maman, maman” (just like his little sister does) every chance he gets?

I have been managing to get about an hour of beach time every other day, after everyone has been fed their lunch, and the kitchen and dishes have been cleaned, at the sacrifice of the baby’s afternoon nap.  She doesn’t mind, since she loves the beach, but what that means is that she will be going to sleep much earlier that evening. I need to have dinner ready by 5:30pm or 6:00pm, so she has some dinner before falling asleep for the night.

That being said, although I have been doing a lot of work, I have also had a lot of fun on this trip.  My daughter has walked for the first time, my son has learned to “ride the waves”, and play a little more independently in the surf.  My daughter, too, played in the water for the first time (and loved every moment of it – even being slathered by sunscreen and eating the sand).

We rented bikes with a baby seat and a tandem attachment – which I highly recommend for when your child is 4-6 years old and does not know how to properly ride a 2 wheeler yet – for “family bike rides.” I rode a bike for the first time in 20 years (and discovered that I am not as young as I used to be, and a few things hurt after a while).  🙂

We went to the amusement park and rode in mini roller coasters and bumper cars and ate way too much ice cream.  So even without any alone down time, I have been having fun with my family.

As if on cue, my husband has just walked in (as I am typing this) with a dripping wet, cold 4-year-old in tow and went back to the beach for some alone time to enjoy the sun and relax. He’s left me to bathe and entertain my little man and watch my still sleeping baby.  He walked out with a smile saying “A mother’s job is never done!”  My thoughts exactly…. and I wouldn’t have it any other way!  **Sigh**

How do you make time for yourself, either on vacation or at home?  Do you ever feel your vacation is an extension of home life, or do you just let it all go?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Maman Aya of New York, USA.

Photo credit to the United States National Archives, which states that there is no known copyright restrictions for this photo.   

Maman Aya (USA)

Maman Aya is a full-time working mother of 2 beautiful children, a son who is 6 and a daughter who is two. She is raising her children in the high-pressure city of New York within a bilingual and multi-religious home. Aya was born in Canada to a French mother who then swiftly whisked her away to NYC, where she grew up and spent most of her life. She was raised following Jewish traditions and married an Irish Catholic American who doesn’t speak any other language (which did not go over too well with her mother), but who is learning French through his children. Aya enjoys her job but feels “mommy guilt” while at work. She is lucky to have the flexibility to work from home on Thursdays and recently decided to change her schedule to have “mommy Fridays”, but still feels torn about her time away from her babies. Maman Aya is not a writer by any stretch of the imagination, but has been drawn in by the mothers who write for World Moms Blog. She looks forward to joining the team and trying her hand at writing!

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