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What's a real vacation these days?

     Sometimes, a real vacation takes place when you least expect it. 

     Over the weekend, I tagged along with my husband on a company retreat. The kids stayed behind with grandma and grandpa. Alone and poolside at a beachside resort, I people watched.

       In his swimsuit, one dad just couldn't let go of his BlackBerry. He typed away even when his toddler son, nearly soaked the device with pool water. Clearly he'll spend his first day back recovering from the stress of the vacation.

      Oh, and then there was the mom who tried to read a novel, soak in the sun, talk to her hubby, and referee her kids' ping pong game. Just watching her exhausted me.

      The whole poolside scene made me wonder whether family vacation for some is a burden or a relief.  

       Here I was, alone with magazine and no one but the model plastered on the pages of a fashion magazine competing for my attention.  I suddenly felt....relaxed. Sure, I missed my kids. Sure I felt like I should be checking my e-mail. But even if I was just a little more than an hour away from my normal life, dropping all the plates I juggle made rejuvenation a reality. 

       What's a vacation these days?  Is it going to a new location with family in tow? Or is it giving yourself permission -- even for a day or two -- to stop multi-tasking and be in the moment? I've redefined my definition.

      This summer, with so much pressure on all of us to produce, will you take a vacation? A real vacation?


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To me, a vacation is where you can relax, get away from your stresses, and not HAVE TO take care of others. You come back refueled and refreshed. Thus, I don't consider going away with the family a vacation--it's a trip. A road show, to put it in business terms. There's nothing relaxing about chasing kids around and having to figure out dinner and sleeping arrangements in a strange place. It can be fun and an adventure, sure, but it's still not a vacation. The only true vacations are the ones where I go away with girlfriends (I should say "one" since I've done it once in seven years) or if my husband and I go away alone and leave the kids with the grandparents. Hasn't happened often, but it's been wonderful.

Overwhelmed Working Mom

Agree completely with the comment above. Just got back from a family vacation, and am completely exhausted. It wasn't relaxing AT ALL. A week at the beach with my parents, husband, and 3 kids (9, 6, and 1). It's actually relaxing to be back at work! I dream of getting away soon by myself!

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