I look forward to summer for so many reasons. First, there’s no better weather than the hot, sunny climate here in Southern California, in my opinion. I’m someone who loves to be outside, and these are the ideal conditions to enjoy it! But, summer is usually when the kids have much more free time since school is out. That allows us to go away on vacation without the consideration of their busy school schedules. Simply put, summer in the Breegan Jane household means vacation time, and if you know anything about me, you know where I want to go! Ibiza is my favorite place, and recently, my family has been enjoying what I’m calling “tiered vacations.” It involves a lot of time, a lot of people, and even more fun and festivities! I think we could all benefit from these types of trips. Let’s discuss!
What is a Tiered Vacation?
I have written about the need for vacations, both with kids and without, many times before. Life is crazy, and we all need a reprieve from those everyday stressors that can start to wear on us from time to time. I’ve been blessed to visit so many places around the world, but Ibiza, Spain is the one spot that continues to beckon me year after year. I have taken my boys there since they were little, and over the last few years it’s truly become like a beautiful, tropical home away from home. Because I have so many friends who live in various countries, I don’t always get to see them as much as I desire. But, with several of them living in Europe, Spain is much more easily accessible than the U.S.
We started a tradition of meeting up in Ibiza about once a year to hang out and reconnect. I would secure accommodations for a large group, and invite my friends to come when they could. It was such a joy to be able to spend time with loved ones in paradise. If we stayed in the country for a month, one group of friends would come for a week, and when they left, another would fly into town for a few days. Maybe a few family members would arrive at the end of that same week, and the cycle would continue until we had visited with everyone. In essence, we vacationed with our various friends and family members in tiers. It was an incredibly effective way of maximizing the time, and surrounding ourselves with all our favorite people!
Prioritizing Adult Friendships
Between filming for HGTV Dream Home and other TV projects, virtual interior design consultations with clients, working on the Mekuno Project and all that comes with being a mom, I often find it challenging to carve out time to simply nurture my own friendships. Moms will understand. We tend to spend much of our schedule ensuring our kids make it to every playdate, sports practice and game or other extracurricular activity. That doesn’t leave much room for our own personal needs. It’s hard to maintain friendships with people who live close by, let alone those who abide on different continents! So, arranging a way to get away and connect with those people is necessary.
During our Ibizan trips, we do a lot of everything and sometimes nothing at all. It’s a month filled with boat trips, swimming, dancing and eating. I cherish the conversations I get to have with my friends. We talk about shared experiences in parenting, personal conundrums and business matters. Of course, we can do this via technology even when we’re not in the same space. But there’s nothing like face-to-face heart to hearts! I always leave those moments with my love tank overflowing. It’s a great reminder that we all need to prioritize ourselves a little more. Moms, making time for yourself allows you to be a better parent to your children. You don’t have to fly to Spain, but you do need to check in with your adult friends and grab a coffee or a meal every now and then. It’s good for the soul.
More Than Just Mom
While I wait with bated breath each year for our trip with friends, I’ve noticed something interesting that occurs that I wasn’t expecting. I’m not the only one who benefits from the time with my friends. My kids actually really enjoy it too! I think many parents believe kids only want to hang out with other kids. That’s likely mostly true. However, don’t minimize all that can be gained in the moments when kids sit and talk to adults. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched my sons attentively take in advice from one of my artist friends on how to improve on their drawing. My boys revel in the ability to hear life from my friends’ perspectives, and they get to practice and grow their social skills by participating in engaging conversations with them.
When we take a tiered vacation, my sons get to see what healthy adult friendships look like. They get to see their mom in a new and positive light. Do you remember being a kid and seeing your elementary school teacher outside of the classroom for the first time? It felt strange to see “Mrs. Graham” in the grocery store! All of a sudden, you realized that teachers were real people who had lives outside of science class. I think our kids often forget that we are more than just “mommy.” When they’re allowed to see us interact with our friends in appropriate and fun ways, it gives a great context for what multi-dimensional adulthood looks like! My sons benefit from all the conversation and interaction with my friends, and I’m grateful my friends enjoy it too!
When the Kids are Happy…
“Are any of OUR friends gonna be there?” It’s a question I hadn’t really considered before my boys asked as we were planning one of our summer trips. Until then, I thought about all the fun we would have by just getting a way for a few weeks. But, those words echoed in my head over and over again. I realized that while my sons love my friends, our Ibizan paradise hadn’t actually been introduced to their kiddo friends! So, we changed that and extended a few invites.
One of my favorite parts about Ibiza has always been that it is so child-friendly. I think most people hear about the party aspect of the island. And yes, you can definitely live your wildest EDM party dreams there if that’s what you’re after. But you can also dance the day (or night) away at one of the fun beach clubs with your littles! There are plenty of things to do with children, and ours never get bored. So I knew their friends would enjoy the time. We’ve been having a blast spending time with our homeschool hybrid families lately. From dance parties to fun community service projects, these friends have become more like family. Getting to frolic in the Spanish sun rays with them was amazing.
The Kids Are Alright
So, after a few groups of my friends had to return home, the kids and their buddies gave Ibiza a run for their money, and boy was it a time! Seeing all the kids live their best lives in the pool, on the boats, and at dinner each day made my heart soar. I realized that this tier of the vacation gave me a chance to gift my boys their own little reprieve. That was more than enough, but it wasn’t the only thing I noticed. This part of our vacation adventure allowed me to bond with the parents of our kid group in new and refreshing ways. Everyone’s a little more free on holiday, and it’s so nice to let your hair down and just “be” with other moms and dads. Parents will understand me when I say that it’s always great to have other kids around so they can entertain each other. The other parents and I definitely enjoyed that part. But, it was also lovely to have their company and get to know them outside of our regular L.A. happenings! Tiered vacations provide a chance to grow relationships in new and interesting settings.
I realize that not everyone can take a ton of time off and escape to Ibiza. You don’t have to. But if you have a trip planned, or even if you have a stretch of time when you can plan to have people in town to visit your home, consider inviting people in tiers. It makes the time fly by, and you get to see a little of everyone in your life. We just left the island, but I’m already planning to invite so many more people back for our next trip. So tell me, is this something you think you’d try? Why or why not? Let’s talk about it in the comments.