Family VacationA family vacation can be such a joy. The purpose is two-fold: Quality time with the family, and time away from the hustle and bustle of “regular life” so you can get your batteries charged and have fun doing it!

Today’s article reflects my thoughts on what I learned from my recent family trip to Maui.

Enjoy…

A family vacation helps you refocus

One of my favorite things to do on our family vacation in Maui is not for the faint of heart.  I like to get up a 5 am (before the sun rises) and sneak out of the house for what we surfers like to call “Dawn Patrol.” Dawn patrol is very meaningful to me. It provides something for every parent on the planet:  some “me” time.  No kids, no partner, no distractions!

While surfing, I don’t have to be a husband, a father, a therapist, or a college professor.  I don’t have to deal with any of the “hats” I have to wear each day.  Instead, surfing gives me some downtime to stay in touch with my true self, clear my head, and just live in the moment “hat” free!

I remember it like it was yesterday

Day one of my family vacation.  I had just paddled out to the lineup at my favorite point break in Maui.  (Sorry, surfer’s don’t reveal their secret spots)  As I sat up on my board to catch my breath, I looked over my shoulder and caught a glimpse of the majestic morning sun as it peered over the Maui coastline.  The warm air, the warm water, no wind, pumping waves… pure bliss.

family vacationSuddenly, I heard a gentle splash right next to me.  It was a large sea turtle.  It popped its head out of the water to come up for air while gathering breakfast.  That sea turtle floated next to me for what seemed to feel like an eternity.  We met eyes in the topics and got curious about each other.  I was so awe-struck!.  Sea turtles are so graceful, so beautiful, and they don’t seem to have a care in the world.  I spent the next few moments watching that majestic creature swim under and around my board.

And that’s when the magic happened. That moment got me thinking.  Why do we do what we do?  Why do we move at such a fast pace?  What’s it all for anyway?  It’s a moment I’ll never forget.  I’m in Maui; the sun is rising, the morning sky is majestic, the waves are epic, the water is warm, there’s no crowd.  It’s just me, my maker, and the elements of nature.

It brought to tears then, and it brings me to tears just writing about it.  (Yes, real men do cry.  We just get weird looks for doing it.)

A family vacation helps you get clarity

Why do we do what we do?  After unplugging from things like Amazon prime, going to Target, summer camps, dance lessons, gymnastics, baseball, etc. I realized something.  Each thing has its purpose, but each adds to what Stephen Covey calls “the activity trap.”  It’s so easy to just go through the motions and do things without asking ourselves WHY???

Where does it all lead?  What’s the bigger picture?

  • Too much stuff?
  • Are there too many things on our plates?
  • Do we have too many obligations?

All of that “stuff” can divert your attention from what matters most.  Even more, all that stuff can get overwhelming.

Keep in mind that all that activity isn’t going to slow down on its own.  Slowing down takes parents who are deliberate.  It takes parents who are intentional about slowing life down and living with less.  Slowing down takes parents who have the guts to say “no” to things that add clutter and “yes” to what matters most to you:  downtime, family time, time with your partner, time with the people that matter the most.

Slowing down and living on purpose is NOT easy. It takes reflection time, clarity, and lot’s of deliberation with your partner.  It also requires honesty.  Here’s what I mean.

  • The more things we own, the more time it takes to maintain them.
  • The more activities your kids are involved in, the more time you spend in the car driving instead of connecting (unless you manage it very carefully).

The bottom line?  The more obligations you have that aren’t your top priority, the less time you have for things that are your top priority.  And that’s a sure-fire way to get out of balance.

After enjoying a slower more present taste of life in Maui, I am committing myself to hold onto being more present and intentional about every moment.  I’ve been giving myself more time to get from point A to point B.  I’ve been driving slower and reducing my social commitments.

I’m getting personal here.  One of the biggest issues that my readers ask about each week is help with feeling overwhelmed.  To be honest, I struggle with the overwhelm at times myself.  So, consider joining me in this endeavor.

Here’s my plan:

  1. I am cutting the clutter and getting more intentional about where I spend my time. Some examples may include, reducing screen time, or shopping smarter by purchasing groceries once a week.  Do household stuff smarter by doing laundry once a week instead of “as needed.”  Pu another way, ask other abled bodies in your home to do the laundry for or with you.  Try asking for help with carpooling so you can slow down and get some quiet time to charge your batteries.
  2. I am only putting my kids in one activity at a time.  No more shuttling kids all over town at my expense.
  3. We created a summer bucket list.  For example, I’m going down to San Diego for the weekend to hang out with my mom.  Meanwhile, my wife has the house to herself.  Another example might be to talk to your partner to do something fun without the kids (I’m not talking about sex or naps here).  Instead, chose a fun social activity that requires getting out of bed and out of the house.  Put on something super casual, or super dressy for this activity.  That way, you both get excited… and enjoy it… together!

After coming home from a family vacation, there is so much more we could cover on the topic of slowing down and reducing the overwhelm. But, that’s it for now. I would love to know your tips and tricks to slooow life down so you can be more present.  Please, leave your comments below.

In one of my latest parenting toolkits, “How To Tame Tantrums Without Raising Your Voice” I spend several modules on how to calm the chaos and reduce the overwhelm!

May your summer days be lazy days!

Author: Steve Cuffari For many, Steve Cuffari is the mentor that parents call on to make their parenting style warmer, easier and more effective. He is the founder of InTouchParenting.com, a company devoted to helping today’s parents calm the chaos, raise emotionally intelligent kids, and nurture families that thrive. read more about Steve Cuffari here…

 

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