Taking A Break From Springtime Stress

Spring break may be a bit of a misnomer.

When you’re in school, you live for this time off. What’s not to like about no homework and quality time with friends and family?

I remember while growing up how much I looked forward to going somewhere with my family. But I also recall how stressed my mom would get packing and traveling. I used to wonder how that was possible when we were about to visit an amazing destination. Now that I’m in her shoes, I can see why.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not about to complain. I feel very fortunate to be able to take family trips with my husband and two healthy, curious children. We all love to experience new cultures. It’s one of my priorities as a parent to expose my children to new people and places every chance I get.

I just have to figure out a better system for prepping for the trip. Maybe it’s because I’m a newscaster who’s used to deadline pressure or I just think I can squeeze far more errands into an hour than I really can, but I really cut it close for our spring break snowboarding trip. How close?

Well, I was buying a new camera at Costco at 5 p.m. when I set our goal time to head to the airport at 5:30. Doesn’t sound that bad until I mention that I hadn’t packed yet – for me or the kids.

In my head, I just had to “throw it” into our bag. I already had accomplished the hard part. I laid out all our clothes, toiletries, etc. That can be a chore in itself when you’re packing for the snow.

Coats? Check. Snow boots? Got ’em, two pairs for options. Hats, helmets, gloves, comfy clothes for apres-ski, etc.

I can’t forget that other modern travel essential: iPads, and all the chargers.

I was on the ball, or so I thought. Weeks before our trip, I was on top of the kids’ snow gear. I did a dress rehearsal to make sure they had not outgrown last season’s outerwear and boots. Phew, we’re in the clear. I even ordered my daughter two beanies featuring her favorite Disney characters, Elsa and Anna from Frozen. I double-checked their passports since we were traveling to Big White in Canada. All good.

That is, until crunch time. I managed to pack in record time (although I did forget the kids’ toothbrushes and a new fleece jacket I bought just for the trip for my son), but I didn’t account for extra time for children who want to exercise their independence on every task before we can leave for the airport.

In other words, we didn’t get out the door until 6 to catch an 8:20 international flight. But it turned out to be a blessing because we avoided Friday night rush-hour traffic and made it to the airport with time to spare.

In fact, our flight was delayed two hours, so we suddenly found ourselves with a few hours to kill. I’ve got to say it was a foreign concept for someone who’s always in a rush.

Right at that moment, my husband suggests we leave the airport to go get dinner and return.

I considered the prospect for two seconds before running a few scenarios through my head. What if we get caught in road work, traffic, can’t find parking, the security line backs up, our tired kids throw a tantrum? You name it, it came to me.

Nah, I say. Why do we want to press our luck? Let’s kick back, grab dinner at the airport, watch the planes take off and take a breather.

My takeaway: Spring break is supposed to be a vacation from stress, not the cause of it. I will now add that to the top of my internal vacation checklist!