Spring Break is almost upon us, and us parents likely won’t even make it halfway through the break without wanting to collectively chant, “Is it over yet? Is it over yet?”
Sure, the kiddos need and deserve a break from school, but us moms might need a break from them after a few days. If you need to get those kiddos of yours out of the house for a bit or need to get away to enjoy some “me” time, here are a few ideas on how to accomplish that without letting your kids know what you’re up to.
Hey… don’t judge us. Free range parenting is totally a thing.
1. Bribe The Ever-Loving Heck Out Of Them
As Dana Hinders said, bribery gets shit done. I myself can report that bribing your children is totally justified, especially if you use it for a good cause. Got a trustworthy neighbor who is elderly or disabled, or possibly just extremely busy? Or maybe just really nice and you feel like you need to return some neighborly favors? Or maybe just… trustworthy? Bribe your kiddos to go help them with chores or yard work.
Make it worth their while. You can pay them by the hour, or maybe just make a list of chores equal to the cost of one item of clothing from their favorite store (taking out the trash equals a pair of their favorite socks while mowing the lawn is a pair of their favorite pants or a hoodie.) You’re going to have to buy them new clothes anyway, and look at you now, encouraging your children to be helpful and kind members of society!
2. Do The Unmentionable…
Plop them in front of the television, and don’t feel bad about it. You watch more television than normal on your days off, so it’s not at all bad for your kids to indulge in some extra screen time during their breaks. I promise they won’t forget everything they’ve learned so far this year if they spend a day or two vegging out on movies.
I understand that not all television is ideal for kids of all ages, especially not daytime television (if you’ve ever had to explain to a child why a thirteen-year-old girl would ever want to get pregnant and have a crack-addicted baby, you know what I mean… thanks, Maury Povich).
Having cable or satellite programming makes it easier, but these days many families are choosing streaming services over traditional television. Many of these services have parental controls that are easy to set up, and children can search freely and find movies and television to watch without you worrying that they’ll find something they shouldn’t.
If you’re worried about your bill skyrocketing, consider getting a data plan that offers unlimited streaming regardless of how much data you purchase. This means one child could be watching a movie on their smart phone, another a musical on the tablet, and the last kid streaming their favorite show on the television, all without using up any precious gigs. This also means that they will all be happy and quiet and not fighting over what to watch next.
3. Send Them Splashing
It’s finally spring and there’s nothing kids want to do more than enjoying the warm weather and hopping into the pool after a long, cold winter. But…
Oh, my! Kids at the water park unattended? What an awful idea.
Of course, it’s an awful idea. But you know who loves waterparks? Teenagers. Even young adults. Got one in your family or family friend? A responsible one? Don’t pay them to come babysit. Instead, offer them plus a friend of theirs a free day at the water park in exchange for keeping an eye on your little ones for a short while.
You pay their entrance fees, they spend the first half of the day watching your kiddos and then get the second half to enjoy the rides and slides all to themselves. Responsible young adults will jump at this opportunity, and thank you profusely for your kindness. You take a bath and drink a bottle of wine.
Just make sure to go over all of the important rules beforehand, and maybe even print up a customizable list of water safety guidelines for your helper to study (before you quiz them mercilessly on it.) Pack lots of water. Make sure everyone knows how important it is to stay hydrated while out in the sun.
And lastly, stress the importance of sunscreen, which is important year-round (not just in the summertime!). Kids need more sunscreen than adults, so grind it into their heads that they need to reapply every hour. The last thing you need is a bunch of whiny, sunburnt little critters nipping at your heels after you’ve had a glass of wine.
Is It That Bad?
Are you there? You know: there…pulling your hair out? You need days, not hours, to recuperate from having them at your heels all day every day
It’s okay. It really is. We all get there, and if we do, it’s okay to ask for help. Their grandparents’ parents, they love your kids. Your siblings too. Your friends, probably do too. They can take them for a weekend. Maybe they can come over for a few days and you can go somewhere else. Really, anywhere else.
Maybe mention that the kids miss them, or have been talking about them. I’m not saying to manipulate or lie to your loved ones, but it’s okay to buffer your request with a list of ways their help will be beneficial to everyone involved.
And hey. I understand that not everyone has these types of resources around. I know that not everyone has family close enough to help out on a whim. And I certainly recognize that not everyone wants their kids to be around their family for that long, but I’d be willing to bet you’ve got friends who would be more than willing to help you out.
You Can Do It!
Spring Break is going to be over soon. You’re almost there. You can make it.
Consider this a test to see how well you’ll fare having them home all summer?
Lastly, remember don’t feel guilty about doing what you need to do.
This article originally appeared on Divorced Moms
Photo credit: Getty Images