Being a busy mother of a very active 5 year old boy and 7 months pregnant with another baby boy due in October, has left me feeling a bit overextended these days. The best prescription was a vacation in a secluded rural area in New England to help me recharge and reconnect with my family.
One of the first things I noticed was that there was NO cell phone service where we were resting ourselves in the rustic wooded remote location in Maine. It was a bit of adjustment at first since my cell phone and all of its many functions have become a part of my daily tasks, and sometimes it is just glued to my hands. It was a habit that happened slowly over time and once I removed the cell phone because frankly it did nothing now without service. I had no use for its map, email, texting, or phone call cababilities. I was a freed and liberated woman!
What was I going to do with all this extra free time? I decided it was time to find out what life is like without the cell phone and I wondered if it was going to be better for me and my family.
The first few days were a bit tough for a us all since my son was used to having his morning cartoons and we didn't have a television where we were staying. I think his exact words were, "This is crazy!" Well yes, but he has no idea that people live like this everyday. It was time to get creative with our activities. It was a perfect way to encourage connection through actual conversation and interacting without the modern conveniences of our everyday life.
1. Use Nature-Since we were in such a beautiful place with so much natural scenery and landscape we used that to venture out and experience all that it had to offer. We went frog hunting, pretend moose hunting, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, boating, and lots of site seeing. All of these things cost almost nothing and are priceless in memories for our family.
2. Let Go of the Normal Schedule-A few days into our vacation I realized that there was no need to keeps our schedule as rigid and tight as I run it when we are home. It was becoming a push and pull and I soon realized that letting go was more beneficial for us all. It allowed us to feel unweighted and if we collapsed in bed at 10 pm everynight at least I knew it was because we were having so much fun. It was all for a good cause. I also let go of nap time. I knew he still needed one of course but we just decided that he would sleep when were out traveling in the car. I knew he wasn't getting the best sleep, but the adventurer in me knew that my son would survive on 30 minute nap in the car better than if he didn't have any nap at all. The flexibility allowed us to travel to different places and see things we wouldn't have see if we had rushed back to have a nap. We did always make up the rest time later in the day when we were all exhausted so it balanced out anyway.
3. Sit Back and Just Watch-Usually I am going going going and on to the next activity or destination with my son. While on vacation I sometimes found myself just sitting back and watching my son and husband interact and I have to admit that seeing them in such a joyful and serene state pleased me very much. I really made an effort to be present and take in every second that I could of our adventure as a family. I also knew that this was the last family vacation we were take as just us three. Next year we would have a new member to our family and it would most likely never be like it was. I was grateful, excited, and hopeful for the next chapter. I wanted to remember all of those moments just the way they were.
4. Document the Moments-One the things I pride myself on is that I love to take photographs especially of my loved ones. My husband happens to have a gift for photography and captures every moment too, so between the two of us we have plenty of photographs that we have aquired quite a collection. The photos are our most prized possesions in reality. The memories and moments that have been forgotten due to time are all rekindled with a look back.
At the end of everyday while we were on vacation I would ask my son what his 3 most favorite things about the day were. Almost every single answer was moments he had spent with his father and me. That was proof enough for me that unplugging and really spending quality time with my family was so worth it.
Until Next Time,