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I’ve got five kids, I’m a queer feminist, and I just might be the only life coach in the world who doesn’t believe in the Law of Attraction.

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Why most women HATE their vacations


I’m in Calgary, darlings! I’m having the best time.

But left to my mind’s crazed devices, I can manage to turn even a vacation into a slog of chores and tasks and obligation. (Not this one. This one is indestructible, it’s that joyful. But in general.)

I know I’m not the only one who does this, because I hear your secret thoughts. Oh yes I do. Some of you are not enjoying your summer. Not one bit.

For instance, consider the wisdom of The Onion, which recently ran this headline:

Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties In Closer Proximity To The Ocean

Admit it, it made you laugh because it’s true.

For too many women, ‘vacation’ just means a different set of hard physical chores, with some awkward socializing and fraught family drama thrown into the mix and a pile of email waiting for them when it’s done. FUN!

Now me, I’m not doing any household duties at all right now; I’m happily sponging off my friend and letting her do all the heavy lifting, even though she has three kids, is pregnant, and also has a broken finger. Yup, I’m just that kind of gem.

But recently I did something that counts as a pretty good form of self-sabotage and it has to do with vacation planning: I agreed to go camping.

Okay, I know that might sound so bad. Yes, it will be an adventure, and I love all the people I’m camping with, and nature will be very beautiful and itchy ahem inspiring.

But here is the dark and secret truth that I know in my heart:

Reader, I LOATHE camping. It’s just all the worst unpleasant parts of normal life, all the same chores of feeding and cleaning and bathing and keeping the children alive, except everything is harder. Much harder. With a bonus of disgusting laundry, bug bites, and hours and hours of drive time.

Do you know why I agreed to go camping?

Because I am tired of being the priss. Because all my friends love it and I want to fit in. Because I’m a little embarrassed that I don’t know how. Because I have this notion that I owe it to my daughter to make her suffer I mean enjoy the great outdoors. (Even though she doesn’t really want to go either.) Because camping is so virtuous and wholesome compared to the things I like to do.

In other words, I totally caved to SOCIAL PRESSURE.

And the thing is, most of that social pressure was in my mind. My friends are probably rolling their eyes at me right now.

Now probably for you social pressure doesn’t involve tent pegs and lugging water. Quite likely social pressure shows up as beloved relatives planning the annual big family reunion. Or the traditional girls’ trip to Vegas that you actually kind of dread. But you might actually feel better about this trip after listening to something like the Talk About Las Vegas podcast. Some podcasts have the ability to make every situation better but it doesn’t make up for the fact that there are a lot of social pressures that get the best of me, like the shopping-disguised-as-tourism excursions that your in-laws love but you find kitschy and depressing. Or lots of sticky kid-centered activities that were clearly designed by a sadist with too many popsicle sticks.

Admit it, just for a moment, in your dark and secret heart.

What do you really long for?

Me, I like swanky hotels, picnics no further than 10 feet from a car and bathroom, and lying on lawn chairs doing Absolutely Nothing for about twelve hours a day. I like solitary baths and concerts under the stars and long hours spent in total silence gazing at the great outdoors through a big picture window. I like silk dresses and Provence, and the ocean in any form but especially all-inclusive resorts that serve frilly umbrella drinks.

My friends, mysteriously enough, actually LIKE camping. They like to use porta-potties and carry their food on their backs and prepare amazing, exquisite, artisanal meals without the help of electricity, running water, or refrigerators. (Clearly we are different species.)

So they should by all means go camping! They will love it! And in the future, I should definitely say no. (Though we’ll see! Who knows??? Maybe I’ll love it. And maybe Chanel pigs will fly out of my ass.)

So listen, honey, if you’re going to do something for other people, and you really want to because you love them and it’s aligned with your values, then great, go for it.

But don’t call it a vacation.

A vacation is something that fills you up. That nourishes your soul. That involves LESS work than usual, not more, unless it’s the exact kind of work you adore (see the baffling chef folks, above) in which case it doesn’t even feel like work.

And in the meantime, I want you to secretly start plotting a REAL vacation. Something that lights you up. A villa in Italy; or have a look at Jamaican villas if you’d prefer a different location, or even a week in your bedroom with the shades down watching The Good Wife; seriously, whatever sounds delicious.

It’s a tiny revolution, but a worthy one nonetheless. What if every single one of you reading this committed to really filling herself up this year? Even if it was just for a few days? Don’t you think we’d unleash something pretty amazing?

I certainly do.

much love,

P.S. Camping is next week. I’ll keep you posted.

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I write things for women with big, gorgeous, COMPLICATED lives. I help women become epic fucking badasses… but I still retain my right to cry at every diaper commercial ever made.

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Sustenance for the journey -- notes from a fellow
traveler to remind you of your own magic.