Vacation Mom sleeps late. OK, not late by teenage girl standards, but later than usual, until after sunrise.
Vacation Mom relaxes and drinks her coffee in the morning, and maybe even brings you a chocolate croissant if you're lucky. Vacation Mom makes plans, but isn't so tied to them that she's in a rush or is inflexible if something better comes up. Vacation Mom actually listens to her children and takes time to engage with them and do things they want to do. In short, Vacation Mom isn't stressed out or distracted.
So, what's the secret to keeping Vacation Mom around after the vacation is over? Like all significant learning experiences in my life, I am trying to better hold on to the lessons I have learned as I transition back to my routines. I heard once that we grow and learn the most from two things in life: Travel and crisis.
Crisis, of course, we don't choose or plan for. It just happens. But we always learn something from a crisis and, hopefully, we become the best versions of ourselves.
Travel gives us opportunities to experience new things, new places and new people with the flexibility that most of us don't usually employ in our everyday lives. Yet, as soon as we get back to work and into our daily routines, it's hard to hold on to that sense of freedom and that open-mindedness that seems to go hand-in-hand with leaving home.
If I had to label what 2016 signifies for me, I would say it's a year of exploration. In middle age, we can see the top of the mountain, and we begin to think about cresting it, and digging in our heels as we go down the other side.
The question I have been asking myself is what does my summit look like? Part of figuring this out is deciding what kind of legacy we want to leave for our children. I know I am the best mother and the best version of myself when I am able to retain the lessons I have learned throughout my life during difficult times, and yes, during joyous times like vacations, as well.
So, while it's impossible for Vacation Mom to get up and go to work tomorrow and make a living, I want to retain the best parts of her. I will start by not worrying about things that I can't change and that don't really matter anyway.
Join me, won't you?
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.