Mayim MishegaasMayim Mishegaas

Six Things I Learned on Vacation With My Kids

Observations from a quick escape from L.A.
By Mayim Bialik     Published on 01/27/2016 at 11:10 AM EDT

I took a quick weekend vacation to Mexico with my kids, and it was a relaxing – and an educational – experience. Here’s what I learned on my quickie vacation…

  1. My kids think I’m a mean mom. I don’t let them have their own phones or laptops like other kids have to use on airplanes. This makes me, in their eyes, a mean mom. Instead, we played cards and had snacks. On the flight home, we played a matching game on my laptop. (Does that count as a not-mean-mom thing to do?)
  2. Women’s bathing suits are mostly ridiculous. And by ridiculous I mean impractical. And those new kind of bikini bottoms where your butt cheeks are sort of half hanging out but it’s not a thong – what the heck is that? So few women actually can look presentable in those. I was perfectly comfortable and barely had to put on any sunscreen in my nerdy “modest” bathing suit (I wear a skirt and leggings and 3/4 length matching shirt made of sunscreen material that is very lightweight and dries really quickly). So many issues solved.
  3. Nature is the best classroom. My kids had a terrific long day on the beach with no technology, very few toys, and barely any interaction with me. They dug in the sand, they explored the sand bars and tide pools, they discovered critters all over the place, and they collected shells and bones. They gained confidence in their ability to entertain themselves, they learned a lot from what they found and from the adults around them, and they didn’t complain they were bored. Success.
  4. Being vegan is hard. When we are outside of large cities, eating vegan can be hard. We ate a lot of salads and pasta and guacamole. And our fair share of french fries. We didn’t sample a lot of the local fare in the way of fish and seafood. We didn’t get terribly adventurous. We also didn’t eat any processed soy products for 2 whole days and that was a good thing. I reminded my boys that I am proud of the choices we make as a family, and that being vegan isn’t just a thing to make them nuts. It’s a decision to not eat animals because it is important to our family. I know it’s hard, and I tell them I know it’s hard. Just like being observant of the Sabbath is hard, or being kosher, or any of the other sorts of things people are or do because of strong personal convictions can be hard. I don’t demonize people who eat other ways, but when I read an article in the airplane magazine saying that the World Health Organization has declared hot dogs, beef jerky, and sausage “carcinogenic,” I made sure to let my kids know that we are on the side of the WHO on this one.
  5. Fewer choices, fewer issues. I brought one tiny suitcase for the three of us for two nights away. I brought enough T-shirts and underwear and socks to last two nights, and one pair of pants for each kid. And a swimsuit. And a toothbrush. Done. One kind of toothpaste as opposed to the three different ones we use at home (don’t ask). One pair of shoes and flip-flops. One hoodie. This led to no fights about clothes because there were no other options. That made things easy, especially in dealing with my 7-year-old who sometimes feels the need to try on several T-shirts before deciding which one is most comfortable for any given day. Fewer choices meant you get what you get and you don’t get upset. It was a nice break!

    Mayim's tiny suitcase for 3 people
    My tiny suitcase for 3 people
  6. Bravery. Kids constantly surprise you and force you as a parent to reconsider what you thought. It’s a gift I am sure people without children can learn, but I can’t imagine it being as potent as it is for me with kids. I was sure my younger son wouldn’t kayak since he doesn’t like the water at all for anything other than swimming (we’ve tried). I waved goodbye to my Firstborn who went on a kayak with my best friend and her daughter; about 30 seconds later, Little Man announced that he wanted to do it too and could we go. I wanted to say, “Are you sure? 31 seconds ago you didn’t want to go. What changed? Are you sure? Are you really sure?” Instead, I said, “Okay.” We got a kayak. We got on and never looked back. We had a great time. He felt so brave. He taught me so much. Never think you know someone. They can always change. Or at least 7-year-olds can.

I’m glad to be home. I did laundry and let my kids watch a movie so I could veg out a little and catch up.

I hope they remember this vacation for a long time. I know I will.

Michoacan folk dance performance of “The dance of the viejitos (old ones)” at my hotel
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