Miss A Columnist

Shannon Grinstead is a style enthusiast who is always looking for the latest and greatest things for moms and children, and dreams of one day owning an online boutique. After working as a public relations director and pharmaceutical sales rep, she has found staying home with her two little girls to be her most challenging and fun job yet. Shannon is inspired by Hollywood, the New York runways, and amazing women she sees in everyday life in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Whether she is traveling, wine tasting in the country, at a Pearl Jam concert or at her children's school, her style is a little bit Carrie (fashion-loving, romantic, whimsical, neurotic writer) and a lot of Charlotte (conservative, preppy, proper, classic Junior Leaguer.) Her daughters are dressed daily as if it were picture day! Shannon teaches stylish mommy confidence without draining the bank account. She is all about finding a great deal, so she looks forward to sharing tips with Miss A readers on where to shop. Her motto is: "It's not about how much money you don't have, but how much style you do."

Staycation Without Children

(Photo Credit: Madame Noire)

I just had one of the best vacations ever! I’ve been to some of the most amazing places in the world – Paris, Bali, Singapore and the like; however, this time I didn’t travel far at all. No time or money was spent on airfare, car rentals, resorts or expensive poolside drinks. Instead, my husband and I stayed in a lovely home in Ashburn, Virginia – our own. We had a staycation. The best part was that there were no children. Don’t get me wrong: I adore my little girls, but let’s face it, every now and then Mommy needs a break!

Lazy mornings, carefree days, checking off to-do lists while enjoying a quiet spotless house was how I spent the week. Every night was date night too. No checking the time or doing the math to figure out how much we owed the babysitter. Instead, I was able to relax, focus and reconnect with my partner.

(Photo Credit: CaringGrandparents.com)

While we indulged in our staycation, our children had a vacation of their own at Camp Mimi and Poppy’s (my parents.) They were in their own kind of fantasyland going to the beach, movies and pool. They played Candyland and put together puzzles a million times more than I would have. Did they stay up later and eat more candy than usual? Probably. Do I care? Not a bit. Afterall that’s part of the fun of being spoiled by grandparents. Mimi and Poppy enjoyed it too – well, I think. I’ll ask them again once they’ve rested and recuperated.

I recognize that I’m incredibly fortunate to have generous and thoughtful parents who are willing to care for my children. In fact, I have great in-laws who keep them too. How lucky you are if you also have that. Call them NOW and convince them how wonderful it would be for everyone to make plans for “camp.” Many people may not have the same scenario though so here are some ideas to get that much needed break. Consider sending just one child to stay at his or her grandparents’. It’s amazing how having even one less child can seem easier. It also allows more one-on-one time for the other children. How about staying with an aunt or cousin? Even a weekend would prove to be enough time for a staycation. You could consider doing a swap with a good friend. One weekend you could take her children and the next she could take yours. Perhaps Dad could take the kids somewhere overnight to allow you to have the house completely to yourself.

(Photo Credit: VisualPhotos.com)

The idea is to get some free time at home. It does a parent good. Several years ago, when I had just graduated from college I was a flight attendant. Every flight I explained what to do in case of an emergency: “If seated with a child, please make certain to secure your own mask before assisting others.” This is such a great metaphor for parenting. We are so busy taking care of our children that we often neglect ourselves. If we don’t get the air/time/rest/whatever that we need, we aren’t able to care for our little ones well either.

In the words of my yoga instructor, “Give yourself permission to just be. No expectations. No responsibilities.”  This is what it feels like to have a staycation without children. I wish for you to have one too.

Thank you Mom and Dad from the bottom of my heart. Let’s do it again!

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