What I Learned on My Summer Vacation


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Brooke Foster from Mommy Moi discusses some life-enriching tips she's learned this summer.


I was riding back to Martha's Vineyard yesterday morning, and I started thinking about how much this vacation changed me. It didn't change who I am, of course, but it did change the way I see parenting.

On vacation you have an excuse to slow down. When you go as a family, you all slow down together, and in doing so you're able to spend quality time together.

But it occurred to me today that I should treat everyday like I'm vacation. Because even though parenting is challenging and there are moments when I struggle as a mother just like the rest of ya, it's still an incredible treat to be a mother, especially to my little Harper. I scribbled down a few mantras that I want to remind myself when I get home, long after I leave the Vineyard this weekend. Here they are:


1. Be silly more. I spend a lot of time rushing about my house at home -- I'm always packing us up to go somewhere or hurrying to put lunch on the table or marching Harper upstairs on my hip to get his diaper changed.

I play with Harper constantly, but I do feel like sometimes -- gulp -- I'm so busy thinking about what to do next, that I fail to enjoy what we're doing at the present moment. I watched (my husband) Littles play with Harper the last two weeks, and I noticed that he's able to fully be in the moment with him.

When Harper gets a silly look on his face, Littles takes advantage of it and gets sillier himself. I do this, but I also feel like I'm always thinking about the "schedule," and that's making me kinda boring. This past week I really tried to spend more time getting silly, and it made me and Harper both laugh much more often during the day.


2. Stop checking my phone. OMG. I sometimes check my phone a few times an hour. On vacation I stopped checking it at all. I checked it only a few times a day, and it was so liberating. It helped me be more fully present in the moment, and it made me feel less anxious -- checking a phone all of the time doesn't make me feel more connected to people, it almost makes me feel less so when I don't have any new emails or messages.

My goal when I get home is to allow myself to go online three times a day -- once in the morning, once around lunch, and once in the evening. There's no reason to be online any other time. Period.


3. Take more mental photos. Harper is growing up so fast. On this vacation alone he began saying dozens more words: "boat" "beach" "peach" "night night" "thank you" "plate" "beep beep" "moo" etc. And his personality is shining through more and more everyday. A friend of mine said that Harper just loves life -- everything makes him happy, and that makes everyone around him a little happier. It's true, and I want to savor all of it.

I want to work on recording some of these fleeting special moments. By the following week (heck the following night!), I forget what new things he did. I feel like he's growing at such a clip now I can't even keep up with him. Here's to trying to remember more!


4. Listen to cliche sayings - they're deep. I saw a plaque in a store the other day that read: "Life is a gift. That's why they call it the present." Isn't that one of the smartest things you've heard in a long time? Remember that whenever you think back to a time when things were easier or harder. Whatever you're going through right this second is a gift because you will never experience it again.

5. Never underestimate the power of ice cream.
Every night when Littles was here, one of us walked up to the ice cream parlor after Harper went to sleep for a sweet treat. We tried different flavors -- Oreo, mint Oreo, coffee, coconut, chocolate, vanilla, butter pecan, etc. And we always talked as we ate our ice cream. It was like date night in the form of a sugar cone. Perfect!

Brooke Foster is a New York City Mom of one. She blogs at Mommy Moi.