Vacations after divorce present different challenges – but they can be just as rewarding!
Divorce can feel really hard in the beginning, and while it gets easier, it has its lingering challenges – like vacations after divorce. I am here to offer proof that going on a vacation after a divorce IS possible and can actually be quite fulfilling.
When I first became a single parent, my children were 7, 4 and 2, and I felt like there was so much that I just could not do alone with them. Things I used to take for granted, like going to the grocery store, now became an event to avoid because the 1:3 ratio just wasn’t desirable. (Sidenote: I had a colleague who once told me she would brilliantly bring her grandmother along for rides to the store and have her stay in the car with the kids so she wouldn’t have to bring the parade of little ones along with her, keeping her errand short, sweet and stress-free. Genius!) Grocery store trips were the least of my worries though, as what was most challenging were actual trips. Where could I possibly go with three kids by myself and how could I afford it? I decided the first years after my divorce that big vacations were just not in the cards for me. However, I was truly lucky that I had family to help me in smaller trips, and would limit my ventures to a single overnight stay at a hotel with a pool, bringing either my mother or sister as a co-pilot. Lucky them!
Some years passed and I decided it was time to do take a real vacation. I spent time saving up money for a trip, and last month I booked flights for us to vacation during the children’s spring break. I did not feel confident dealing with the logistics of the actual plane travel, car rental, directions, eating out every meal, or figuring out all the details in between. But despite that major lack of confidence, it all went relatively smoothly. The kids and I had a great time, and we made some wonderful memories.
You may be in a similar position where travel is a daunting task, and you feel bad that you’re missing out on “normal” family fun. Here are 5 tips for you to feel more confident and to plan for a post-divorce vacation with a capital V:
1) Don’t worry about not being able to do vacations right away. Whether it be because of the challenges of traveling alone with kids, or because of financial constraints post-divorce, know that there will be a time in the future where it is possible.
2) Ask for help to make other arrangements a realistic possibility. Maybe you can drag someone to an overnight trip with you like I did, or perhaps you know a family vacationing with whom you can go at the same time so there are other adults present for an extra set of eyes.
3) Re-think your vision of vacation time. Maybe you can’t rent a beach house for a week by yourself, but you can do a day trip there.
4) Get your kids involved in the anticipation and planning when you decide you are going to do a vacation. Teach them about saving for the trip and how it takes preparation and thought to achieve this family goal. (i.e. we aren’t going to go to the movies this weekend because that money is going in our vacation fund).
5) Don’t wait for the confidence to do things alone. This is the most important piece of all. The way confidence works is not: Get Confidence, and then Do the Thing. It’s actually that you need to Do the Thing…..and then the Confidence Comes thereafter.
For more advice, check out the article on Accepting Help.
Vacations after divorce are absolutely possible. Like so many other things in your post-divorce life, they may have to be different, but they can be just as rewarding and relaxing and fun for everyone.