Monday, August 26, 2013

recovering from a road trip

We just got home from our summer trip.  Road trips/vacations are fun, but when we get home its time to pay the piper.  Often times we get home late at night, dump some stuff in the living room/by the door and head to bed.  We wake up to a big mess, a van that needs to be cleaned out, mountains of laundry, an empty refrigerator (or worse yet, one that was not emptied before the trip. Ick!) and some tired/grumpy people in the house.  I've posted before about how we do road trips, and travel in our trailer.  

I've been thinking through how we can make the transition home go a bit more smoothly, more enjoyable.  I've put a couple of these things into practice already (with recent trips), and they have helped.  Knowing I'll be coming home in the 3rd trimester, and that I'll be exhausted, motivated me to plan ahead and strategize a bit more this time.

Leave the house as clean as possible (and be the first one in the door when you get home)- You will be bringing a huge mess in as it is.  Walking into a clean house is like a breath of fresh air, and if you can manage to be the first one in it will remind you that its just the stuff from the van that you need to deal with.  The day before we leave I have the kids clean bathrooms and floors.  Before we leave the house the day of the trip everyone makes sure their rooms are clean and any of the last minute trip messes are cleaned up. (if you have someone watching the house or just a really awesome friend, maybe they will do a bit of clean up while you are gone?)

Plan for your meals when you get home, This one tends to be a hard one for me.  Our trips are long so most things in the refrigerator would be bad before we get back.  I'm not likely to remember to pull anything out of the freezer when we get home at the end of the trip.  Eggs last a long time in the refrigerator, make sure there are some for breakfast before you leave the house.  It is easy to wake up, make some scrambled eggs and maybe some canned fruit (or pull some breakfast sausage or muffins from the freezer); oatmeal is another easy breakfast (we generally don't do boxed cereal, it is expensive and really not at all healthy).  If you have someone house sitting or caring for your animals they may be willing to pull something out of your freezer to thaw so that you will have a homemade (freezer meal) thawed and ready to cook when you get home.

Put away as things come into the house.  This seems easy, but so often what happens is everyone just dumps things by the door (in the living room) and heads out for another load.  Make the goal to handle everything as little as possible.  Don't drop those sleeping bags!   Take them to the closet they live in, and put them away!  Take the laundry bags right to the laundry room (we have a darks bag and a lights bag), start a load right away instead of just dumping the bags!  If you've been able to do laundry along the way maybe your suitcases will be full of clean clothes?  (I think I had that happen one time, it was so nice!)

Grocery list and Meal plan all ready to go- I'm often so busy planning and getting ready for our trip that I neglect to plan ahead for meals or make my grocery list.  Being able to come home to a prepared meal plan and grocery list means one (or is that two?) less thing you need to think about.

Plan a vacation from your vacation We always add an extra day or two (this time three) of leave (for my AirForce husband) to our trip for recovery.  That gives us two adults at home supervising the clean up effort and managing tired children.  It also allows one of us to go shopping without everyone in tow (while the recovery effort can continue at home).  Besides the cleanup effort we do nothing else.  We sleep in that day or two (or three), make no other plans, make simple meals, and rest as we go about the business of cleaning up.

Be realistic; it takes a week or two to recover from a long trip (with a large or small family).  Even if you are able to jump back into your regular schedule in a couple of days remember that everyone will be tired and adjusting to being back at home.  Little ones will be fussy, bigger kids will be grumpy until they catch up on sleep (and you will be too).  Everyone will have enjoyed some extra freedom and distractions and will need to be reigned back in.  Chores and routines will take longer as you work back into them.  Clean up will take a few days even if you are diligent in getting things put away as you come in (it seems there are always gifts, purchases, or random things that have a hard time finding a home).  Be realistic, you just are not going to be back to "normal" right away.  With this in mind it is easier to have a good attitude as you work your way back to normal (whatever that is!).

What do you do to make recovery from your trips a bit better?  I'm still working on this, but I really think that the "vacation from your vacation" and being realistic in your expectations are two of the most important parts of making this happen.  I'll be giving all of this more thought in the coming year so I'm ready for our next trips.

No comments:

Post a Comment