Staycations - Last Year's News?

Filed under: Opinions

Winter turns to spring, spring turns to summer, and here we are ... still stuck in a recession. Last summer, we tried to make ourselves feel better. "So we can't go on a vacation!" we'd say optimistically, "Let's try that staycation thing instead." You know, where you stay home and pretend you're a tourist in your own town!

Here's what I learned last summer: Trying to have a vacation at home is like trying to eat a healthy salad with a hot fudge sundae stuck in the middle of it. What I mean to say is that vacations are for getting away. They're for escaping, for avoiding responsibility. You can't actually do any of that unless you find someone to feed the cat, then pack your bag and leave your life behind for a few days.

When I wrote about staycations for ParentDish last year, I got a call from a producer at "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." I think they thought I was some sort of staycation expert, and they wanted to interview me for a skit. Not because they were impressed by my helpful tips, mind you, but because they wanted to make fun of me. I didn't get to go -- because I'm not an expert on anything, let alone staycations -- but they did still manage to poke fun at the idea, though they had their own word for it: holistay.

So has the staycation become nothing more than a joke? Maybe.

The reason staycations don't work for our generation of parents is because email, text, and other forms of portable technology have made it so simple for work to come home with us. I can't get through a weekend -- let alone a whole week -- without one of my daughters giving me guilt for opening my laptop, "Mo-om. You said you weren't working this weekend." Whoops. It's hard to separate work from home when you're connected 24/7, or when home is also your workplace.

But it's not just our careers that get in the way, it's everything else. The garden needs weeding, and oh look, there's that paint we bought for the kitchen, and weren't we going to have the car looked at? Suddenly it's Monday again and that list of fun things to do got lost in the shuffle before we could even start it. It's hard to take a week off and devote it to fun when your responsibilities are there, staring you in the face.

I've got nothing against spending the summer at the local pool, zoo, or beach. That's how we'll be spending our summer, in fact, with the exception of a few, short in-state trips. That's what's so great about raising kids; they usually care less about where the fun is, just that everyone's having it together. But I think it's okay to acknowledge what we're not doing: Going on vacation. Leaving life behind isn't in the cards this summer ... maybe next year, we'll see. But instead of a putting pressure on myself to by calling it a staycation, I think I'll leave the clever labels to someone with more energy.

What about you? Did you ever try a staycation? How did it work out for you?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.