How To Take A "Good" Vacation

Have you ever wondered what defines a "good" vacation? This may seem like a trivial question, but it's one I've been wresting with this summer. 

My family and I just returned from a wonderful two-week vacation in Montana and Idaho. Initially, I was hesitant about making this journey west. First, it is a long drive for the kids and honestly, a long drive for me too. Also, planning and packing for a big road trip takes a lot of energy and at my house, I'm the one who has the job of making sure everything is ready. Finally, I knew that once we arrived, I wouldn't be sitting on a quiet beach or eating at fun restaurants. I'd still be doing many of the same things I do at home, like preparing meals and washing dishes. 

Needless to say, as the day grew closer to us leaving, I began to wonder if this would be a vacation at all or just another trip. 

Photo courtesy of Miki Wick

Photo courtesy of Miki Wick

The vacation started as a trip. I was consumed with plans and details, but then something hit me on the second day. It dawned on me that I had the power to decide whether the next two weeks would be a vacation or not. So, as our car wound through the rugged Bear Tooth Mountains, I made up my list of what I wanted our time to be filled with. 

Here's what I came up with: 

Vacation is a time for...

  • Connecting with those who are most dear to me, but who all too often get lost in the shuffle of daily life. 
  • Disconnecting from technology, work, routines, and relationships that are good but not my top priority. 
  • Experiencing a piece of God's world that I don't get to be a part of every day. 
  • Free Space to remember who God is, what he has done, and what my life is really all about. 

As I've wrestled with what defines a "good" vacation, I've decided I want to take a whole lot more vacations, and fewer and fewer trips. I'm realizing too that a vacation doesn't need to be complicated. A simple walk with no agenda, a hike in the mountains with those I love, or an afternoon drive for huckleberry shakes can all be vacations if we simply let them be spaces filled with our presence. 

Why "Mom Guilt" Is A Threat To Simple Living

You know the feeling— the unrest, the need to continually multi-task, the pulling at your mind, the guilty conscience of a mom who also has dreams. 

We spend our days cleaning up spilled chocolate milk and changing diapers, tripping over legos and refolding the same blankets 37 times a day— but what about when we have jobs to go to, or writing to get done, or that side project that we can never seem to finish because we can't get 10 minutes of peace and quiet? 

I know "mom guilt" all too well and I think the balance between a healthy mindset and a guilt-ridden one is hard to strike at times. With my two girls at home, running SL & Co., working another job from home 4 days a week, and somehow managing to throw a salad and chicken nuggets together for dinner, I know as well as anyone that having dreams outside my role as "mom" can be tough

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that we neglect our kids to get work done, or that we give up on our side projects, dreams and jobs because they're getting in the way. I am, however, here to say that the guilty feeling that we shouldn't sneak in an hour of work during a movie, or take a night to ourselves to focus on what re-fuels us could be eating away at your chances of truly living simply. 

Here's why. 

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At its core, mom guilt says that because you're a mom, you're not allowed to do anything other than "mom things".

It sounds ridiculous when it's spelled out in front of you- but it's a real struggle most moms face. I've heard of so many women giving up on their passions because they felt like the roles mama and entrepreneur (or insert your passion here) couldn't apply to them. They felt like they had to choose either/or. 

And while certainly, it's true that if something is going to cause you to truly neglect your children, or make being a good mom impossible, it's okay to say no. But more often than not, I think the mom guilt that holds us back is nothing more than a fear that we can't balance it all. That we're not enough. 

And that, my friends, is simply not true. You have God-given passions for a reason. These dreams that linger on your mind before you fall asleep at night? They're meant to be pursued- and motherhood isn't an either/or gig. In fact, pursuing your passions will make you a better mom- a more satisfied, passionate, inspirational one. 

The beauty of simple living is that as you seek to de-clutter your thoughts, home and heart from all the things you don't need, you'll be able to balance more of what's important. 

You'll learn to cut out the unnecessary "obligations" and prioritize what's truly important. And as you begin to make time for yourself, and make time for that side project, you'll find yourself being an even better mother to your children.

So let's thrive together as mothers AND creatives, shall we? What are the passions that get your heart beating? 

How can we keep each other accountable to keep pursuing them when it gets tough?