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Working Mom Tip: Five Tips to Prepare for Vacation #TGIF

The Gulf of Mexico, from a vacation long ago

"Summer time and the living is easy…"- "Porgy and Bess", George Gershwin

Those lyrics make me think that Gershwin didn't have any children!
If you live in the East Coast, winters are long and grey so you appreciate summer more than you appreciate your own birthday. Still as a mom, especially one that works full time and has school aged childen, summer wreaks havoc on your schedule. Schools are still based on an antiquated assumption that children need to be home in the summer to farm. So, every year at some point between the end of May and the end of June, the school year ends and the kids are free.

That "gift" to the kids is a curse for the working mom. If your kids are under thirteen, ain't nothing easy about the summer. Instead, you have to scramble to find a supervised activity for them or your tail is going to jail! Chances are this activity is something expensive and exotic designed to give your kids "enrichment opportunities". And unlike school, your kids can't take the bus. So, you're driving around more than usual.

Well the 4th of July is upon us, which means that you've been working your summer schedule for a week to a month. With all of these extra duties, mama needs a vacation! In order to do vacation right, you have to prepare. 

Fourth of July Fashion from a few years ago

Five Tips to Prepare for a Great Summer Vacation

Prepare Your Automatic Message Reply: You're probably an important person on your job. So, it's important that people know that you are away. Here's a great article about how to prepare a great message. Seven Examples of Professional Out of Office Autoresponder Email Messages

Inform Your Boss and Relevant Colleagues: There's a lot written about preparing a maternity leave memo. However, I've seen less about preparing a vacation memo. One of my colleagues started it here and I think it's a genius idea that promotes clarity and teamwork. It also makes it easy for the place function in your absence. The things you include are your current projects and contact people also how to handle any routine questions that arise while you're away.

Inform Your Clients/Customers: If your livelihood depends on keeping your clients happy, don't just disappear without notice. Also, don't become a slave to your smart phone while you're away. Just because you can be available anytime anywhere, doesn't mean that you should. Take a real unplugged from the world vacation. You and your family will be better for it. Before you unplug though, send this email... The One Email You Must Send Before You Go on Vacation

Packing Done Right: Last month, the Today did a segment saying that the best part of a vacation was planning for it. Again, I don't think the folks who did that study had young children! Sometimes, thinking about everything you have to do can make it seem like it's not even worth it. Trust me it is. Having a list to work off of can make packing super easy. Trust me, lists work. Although we are special, at the end of the day, we all need the same things. It's just that some of us, like my friend Monica will have Jimmy Choo strappy sandals in her beach bag--because you never know! The Mother of All Packing Checklists

Plan Your Travel Carefully: Traveling with young children is a delicate matter. You have to take into account their needs and temperaments. If your children are under 10, they thrive with a predictable schedule. In contrast,  traveling is all about disrupting that routine. That is why there is always some kid crying at the airport. If you don't want it to be your kid, pick the time and method of travel based on what would work best for them. I've learned the hard way. In May, we traveled to Orlando. I booked connecting flights because it was cheaper. I'll never make that mistake again. My toddler has a one flight limit!

Bonus:  Be sure to pack clothes that you know you love to wear. Don't just take new stuff. If you leave your favorite jean shorts you'll miss them. Trust me!!! 
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