Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus
thinner_close_xCreated with Sketch.

10 Ways Moms Can Actually Relax And Enjoy A Family Vacation

Here are 10 things to do to actually enjoy your summer vacation and ensure that you feel refreshed and renewed - rather than worn out and weary - when it's over.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

A summer vacation is the perfect time for busy wives and moms to relax and rejuvenate. But a vacation can wear you out too, especially if it's filled with non-stop activities, lots of kid "stuff," and little or no time to relax and unwind. Believe me, I can remember some vacations when our boys were younger that left me feeling more exhausted than I would have been if we had stayed home!

But it doesn't have to be that way. You can relax and have fun on a family vacation, but you'll need to be proactive to make it happen. So if you're planning some time off in the next couple of months, anything from a week at the beach to a few days of "staycation" at home, here are 10 things to do to actually enjoy your summer vacation and ensure that you feel refreshed and renewed - rather than worn out and weary - when it's over.

  • Make plans that include relaxing and unwinding. If your goal is to rest and recharge, plan with that goal in mind. Talk with your husband and figure out ways to maximize fun and relaxation and minimize stress. Don't spend half your vacation time driving or flying to and from your destination. And don't cram high-excitement activities into every waking moment or try to visit every attraction in the area. Schedule some down time and low-key activities. For example, many children enjoy swimming in the hotel pool or playing putt-putt with the family as much as (or more than!) spending hours each day at an amusement park. My kids used to love swimming in the hotel pool; on some trips they probably loved it more than some of the "fun activities" we planned!

  • Plan to let things go. Many of the things we worry about from day to day simply aren't important on vacation. Elaborate meals, matching clothes for the kids, perfect hair and makeup, synchronized schedules, neatness and perfect organization just don't matter when you're on vacation. So decide ahead of time to let them go so you can relax and enjoy a break from your everyday responsibilities.

  • Share the work. Nobody should have to do much work on vacation, but a few things have to get done. But don't do all of them yourself! Talk to your husband (and kids who are old enough to help) and divide up the work. Take turns cooking dinner (or go out), supervising young children, washing dishes, taking out the trash, and straightening up. Do the minimum needed to keep things running smoothly, don't do it all yourself, and let go of the things that don't really matter.

  • Catch up on sleep. If you're running low on sleep (and most women are), take advantage of opportunities to sleep in or nap. If your kids don't sleep late in the morning, alternate getting up early with your husband, so that one of you gets to sleep in each day. If the kids pass out after a busy morning or afternoon at the beach, take advantage of it and enjoy a nap yourself. And don't stay up late every night just because you don't have to get up and jump into your regular routine in the morning. Go to bed early at least a couple of nights and enjoy an extra hour or two of sleep.

  • Plan activities that allow everyone to be active while having fun. Although it's important to rest, it's also important to move. Plan at least one activity each day that gets everyone in the family moving - swimming, hiking, biking, walking on the beach. Find the active resources near your vacation location and try them out. For example, check out the fitness center at your hotel and local bike rentals, hiking trails, water parks, playgrounds, miniature golf courses and climbing walls. My family's favorite vacation place rents bikes for a reasonable price, so we always take at least one long bike ride during our vacation. And if you can get away for a few hours with your husband, plan a fun and active date or do something a little bit adventurous.

  • Do something you really want to do. Vacation shouldn't consist entirely of running from one kid-focused activity to another. Plan to do one or two things you really want to do, and encourage your husband to do the same. Maybe you can go go to the beach by yourself or go antiquing one afternoon and he can play golf or go fishing one morning - anything that gives each of you a break and a bit of personal time. Or if you're vacationing with family members, ask them to babysit so that you and your husband can do something fun together.

  • Stock up on healthy foods and snacks. Make it easy for family members to grab fruit, frozen fruit pops, yogurt, cheese, 100% juice and other healthy snacks. Everyone in the family will feel better eating healthy food, and you won't have to monitor the kids' snacks to make sure they're not eating too much junk.

  • Eat the vacation foods you really enjoy, but avoid run-of-the-mill junk food. Eating fried shrimp at the beach or ice cream at the boardwalk adds to the vacation experience, but downing a bag of potato chips in the hotel probably doesn't! So be sure to enjoy the foods that say "vacation" to you and your family, but try to avoid unhealthy foods that don't. For example, my family is under the impression that homemade pound cake is a required vacation food! So I'll make one to take to the beach with us, but I won't stock up on junky sweets and snacks - things we'll eat if they're around, but won't miss if they're not.

  • Enjoy some vacation sex. Vacation can offer the perfect mix of extra time and relaxation that makes it easier to enjoy sex and intimacy. For many women, just getting away from the pressures of daily schedules and responsibilities makes it easier to relax. So decide ahead of time to prioritize sex during your vacation - it's fun and relaxing and builds joy and strength into your marriage. Try some essential oils to help you get in the mood.

  • Relax and enjoy! It's vacation - there's no right or wrong. Just relax and have a wonderful time with your family.
  • Also published at CalmHealthySexy.