As an entrepreneur with young children, the summer can be a challenging time. Business rarely stops and children rarely slow down. Classes are in full swing at our center, coaching sessions continue, school supplies are in high demand, training is still needed…but my family needs seem more pressing when my two eldest are out of school.
This summer we have carved out a week to spend on another Caribbean island with some friends. We are very excited for our kids to have an entire week with their little friends and for us to have an entire week away on vacation with ours! The thing is, vacation can be daunting…it can be overwhelming, and do parents of little children really ever have ‘vacations’ or are they trips in which we cater to the little people?
As a planner, I have been on Pinterest looking for hacks and spending way too much money on Amazon ordering items to make our week away run smoothly. Although fun in the sun and sand brings great joy, it can also bring great fatigue, irritation and a lot of work for momma and poppa!
So, my husband and I decided that we needed a bit of a trial run to get a feel for what a vacation will be like with our family of 5. An opportunity to make sure that we are clear on what our ‘vacation needs’ are. So we decided to go on vacation at home. Right here in the Beautiful by Nature Turks and Caicos Islands. We had no idea how phenomenal of an experience this was going to be.
When we told our children that we would be spending a weekend at a resort it the TCI, they were over the moon with excitement. They started packing their bags. But, as a disclaimer, my children pack bags on a regular basis …but that’s for another post!
We decided to have our resort staycation at The Alexandra Resort in Grace Bay, which is walking distance form Learn and Lead. It is important that I mention this because while on our resort staycation, I still felt far away from my day to day work.
I began packing at 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon, and we were at the resort a little after 3 p.m. A staycation took out the stress of packing, because really and truly, we were staying 8 minutes away from home and if I forgot anything it was a quick drive away. When we arrived at the front desk, the staff at The Alexandra greeted us and my children enjoyed the wet towels, cookies and fruit punch. I especially liked that a staff member took the time to explain to my kids what to do with the wet towels and why someone might need them upon arrival. After all, my island children were surely not shocked with the heat in Turks and Caicos, nor needing a cool down after our 8 minute drive to the resort.
Entering our weekend home was fairy-tale like. My children were immediately struck by the simple beauty of the space, and the view of the pool, garden, restaurants and ocean. My eight year old declared there was no need to return home; my three year went from room to room describing the beauty through his eyes; and, even my one year old seemed to clock more miles walking than he usually does…and his record is hard to beat!
After initial exploration, they enjoyed lounging on the balcony with their books and games. At home they may do the same thing, but the change in the environment was magical. They also had the extra treat of mommy and daddy being ‘unplugged.’ We took time off from the constant digital connection that can create such disconnection in marriages and in families. We were present. Our children were present. It was beautiful.
The rest of the weekend was filled with laughter, great food, friendly faces and some much needed family time. My husband and I were also celebrating our 10th Anniversary. On Saturday, after a day full of fun in the sun, we dropped our exhausted children home to the babysitter for them to sleep and recharge, and we enjoyed some quiet grown up time. A huge plus, when you are 8 minutes away from home!
Staycations, whether staying in your house and taking advantage of what your hometown has to offer, or a hotel/resort staycation have many benefits. This was a first for us, and I am so glad that we decided to do it.
Here are my top 5 tips to enjoying a hotel/resort staycation:
1. Take advantage of the family connection time. Staying on island makes it tempting to remain connected to work or your to-do list. Be intentional about devoting the time to connecting with your family.
2. Have a plan. Despite the fact that you are ‘home’ still decide on what you want to do. Will you take in certain entertainment opportunities? Will you need to bring any activities for the kids? What does fun, rest and relaxation look like to your family? What is needed to ensure that you have that fun and yet relaxing weekend?
3. Have a budget. Decide what you want to spend on your staycation. If you have not chosen an all-inclusive resort, decide what you will spend on meals and activities.
4. Be adventurous. When you remain on island, or in your hometown, there is less need to stress about seeing the sights and fitting it all in. This being said, be willing to try things. Staycations give you the opportunity to be a tourist in your own home.
5. Relax. Staycations provide an opportunity to rejuvenate. Often after family vacations, parents return feeling as though they need a vacation from their vacation. Staycations cut out a lot of the stress that can be associated with the fatigue of travelling. Embrace this and try your best not to replace this stress with others!
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.