I can’t believe I’m saying this out loud. It kind of makes me feel bad but the simple truth is I hate when we go home on leave. Despise it. It is the most stressful time for us. I know it isn’t this way for everyone and some people can’t relate but this is how it is for me.
My youngest daughter hates car rides and has since she was a newborn. She used to scream nonstop for the entire eight hour drive. Let me tell you, that was NOT fun. Now that she’s a bit older she does somewhat better, we’ve gotten her a DVD player that keeps her somewhat entertained for a while but about halfway she is done. The screaming and tantrums start. Not the best way to start or end leave for sure.
There never seems to be enough time for everyone. We rush from one place to the next, doing this and that, never fully stopping long enough to enjoy anything. One night spent here, one night at another parent’s house, then back to the first. No matter how we plan it to work out it always seems to be the same “Let’s pack all the fun in” kind of trip.
The kids get SO off schedule. I couldn’t really care less if my youngest daughters nap starts at 12 or 1. She cares though. A day or two with a shortened nap and a bedtime once or twice pushed back to accommodate a late dinner with someone and she’s gone from calm and collected to something out of a horror movie.
Something awful always happens. One time it was my husband and kids with what had to be the world’s worst virus. The next I fell and twisted my ankle so bad it was bruised for 6 months afterwards. I always feel anxious waiting for the other shoe to drop and something bad to rear its ugly head.
No one seems to understand that while we really would love to stay longer we can’t just extend our trip. At least once every time we go home the day or two before we leave everyone wants to know if we could just stay a few more days. The guilt is immense. I don’t know if they don’t understand how leave works for my husband or what but I hate explaining every time that we’ve stayed as long as we could.
All of the stress from trying to please everyone and make sure everyone gets enough time with us causes my husband and I to bicker over the smallest things. I seriously remember picking a fight with him because he got me a Mello Yellow instead of a Mountain Dew one day. It was like an out of body experience, I knew I was crazy! I couldn’t seem to help myself though I was so stressed out.
During holidays everyone expects us to be at their house at the same time. My parents are divorced. It never seems to fail that everyone seems to schedule things at the same time. One year it was Christmas lunch at one house at 11, followed by lunch at the next at 12, and then another at 1. I never wanted to see ham or turkey again.
Surely I can’t be the only one? Do they pass out instruction booklets for this sort of thing and I just missed it? I have tried everything I can think of to make it more relaxing and stress-free but nothing really seems to work. It has come to the point that I now dread it where I used to look forward to it. I would gladly welcome any tips or tricks you’ve picked up along the way to help out. You just might save Christmas!