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What a trip to Yosemite taught me

family trip vacation Dec 19, 2023
Yosemite National Park

We kicked off our holiday break here with a family getaway to Yosemite National Park. This trip was supposed to happen months ago with just my husband and myself, but when our childcare fell through, we decided to use our lodge credit now and take the kids on a family trip there instead. 

Was it totally different than what I originally envisioned? Yes. Traveling with kids is usually more of a trip rather than a vacation. Months ago, I was looking forward to peaceful hikes, quiet dinners, maybe a massage. When we decided to go with the kids, I had to recalibrate my expectations. I was still excited to see the magnitude of Yosemite, but I would likely be hiking less and providing snacks and water to my crew more. Nonetheless, visiting Yosemite as a family was a pretty epic experience and one I'm reflecting back on today as I sit here and write you this blog post.

Here are some of my key takeaways I'm leaning into as I reflect on the past few days, but also the past few years (end of year always does this to me). 

  1. It all happens for you, not to you. I'm a mom of four boys. Did I ever dream of being the ultimate boy mom? If four boys doesn't make you elite status level, I don't know what does. No, I didn't. I envisioned playing with Barbies and coloring and getting mani-pedis with at least one daughter back in my twenties and beyond. And yet, here I am. Having panic attacks more often than is probably healthy because my boys are climbing and jumping and doing things that scare the shit out me. Traveling to Yosemite with my four kids was like inviting Anxiety to come along and even giving up the master suite so she could comfortably enjoy loitering. I practiced a lot of deep breathing, walking away while my husband took the lead on their explorations, and re-centering myself while my boys climbed rocks and trees and tasted waterfall water. I didn't want to ruin their fun while having a nervous breakdown. I am learning how to better manage being anxious and a mom of four active boys, and this trip was definitely a big test that I think I passed with flying colors.
  2. Stop comparing. I tell people all the time that comparing yourself to others will never feel good, and yet I find myself stuck in comparisonitis more often than I'd like. On our Yosemite family trip, it often felt like either someone was tired and didn't want to walk (mind you-we probably hiked a total of three miles over three days), was hungry and didn't like the food or snack selection I had diligently packed, or was not happy to hear, "No" after asking if they could scale a granite mountain. I'd look around and see peaceful families, totally zen and enjoying a five mile hike or toddlers who smiled excitedly for pictures instead of whining that Mom has her phone out again. I wondered what I was doing wrong. And yet, I knew comparing myself to someone else wasn't necessarily going to get me there. It was a good reminder that comparison is the thief of joy and I was letting it steal that from me if I was looking around at different families instead of at the beauty surrounding me and sharing it with my own. 
  3. Self care isn't selfish. I'm rolling my eyes as I type this because I feel like this expression is so played out, and yet I experienced this reminder SO HARD on this trip. Often, on "vacation" with my family, I'm off routine, don't have childcare, and forget about my regular self-care rituals. While that might work just fine for some, it has consequences for me. I was able to spend about 40 minutes alone in our cabin one afternoon reading a fantastic book-in silence (like real, middle of the woods silence), and it basically refilled my cup and four others on reserve. So important, especially on a trip. So, even if it sounds cliché, I'm preaching the self care here because vacations with kids usually aren't self care in themselves.  
  4. You may not be where you want yet, but you're so much closer than you were. I've been leaning hard into this lately-mainly because as a high achiever, I often have a hard time being present and celebrating where I'm at. I often find myself back in #2 comparing my success or our family's vacations or any other thing I'm working toward achieving and yet as I look back on this year, I've been able to make some massive progress and actually AM living the life I wished for years ago. For example, I've always said I wanted to be able to travel quarterly with my family. We went on four trips this year together. Yes, three of them were road trips and not Hawaiian vacations or international adventures, but they were pretty epic. My business doubled in revenue this year. DOUBLED. I drop off my kids from school and pick them up daily. I'm the room mom for my middle son's class. I see friends without feeling guilty for taking time away from my family. I work out consistently and feel good in my body. I am the higher self I visualized five years ago, and even if I've got a new and improved version of her for the next five years, I need to pay homage to the fact that I'm here now, at a rest stop that I used to think was the final destination. 

This is likely one of my last blog posts of 2023. I'm so grateful if you've been on this journey with me for a while or if you're just joining now. Motherhood is a whirlwind. Working motherhood is a rollercoaster. And as terrified as I am of heights and uncertainty, here I am-facing it daily. Thanks for coming along with me. It's so much better with company.

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