ALONE, not with family. These trips we take each year as a family are usually not a vacation for any mother who has to take three different backpacks as a carry-on on a plane in order to avoid forgetting snacks, someone’s favorite blankie, headsets, bottles, change of clothes, diapers, etc. that she sometimes has to sacrifice even bringing a purse with her own items. If you need a tampon, it’s probably getting stuffed in the pocket of your kids’ stuff (and you better pray they don’t chuck it out in public).
Difficult to plan. We don’t get a chance to breathe so it’s difficult to plan the perfect mommy getaway. Do we want to bring girlfriends along or just cruise solo in a hotel at a bed & breakfast? All of this requires some thought that moms usually want to put in, but if your kids aren’t all in school yet and the constant needs and whining of the little ones prevents you from even being able to pee alone, you could just decided this is too much to accomplish. But it’s not.
The solution: Stay awake later than usual one or two nights and plan step by step what you’d like to do. Maybe on one day decide where you want to go and one the second day figure out where you will stay, and on the third, calculate how much a flight will cost or if you can use rewards (most airlines allow you to accumulate miles if you fly with them often), etc. If staying awake later or waking up earlier isn’t an option, hire a sitter for an hour or two. You are used to doing things quickly and multitasking, you can do this if you get uninterrupted time!
Guilt. Parents usually feel guilty going anywhere without their kids because they’ve become such a part of their lives, it feels like an attachment is missing on a machine when you go somewhere where they’re not. This is especially true for moms.
The solution: Understand that you’re worth it. You’re so valuable, and you deserve a break, if you can make it happen. Your kids will live, and if they’re in capable hands, you should be able to relax. Tell yourself it’s for your family, too. If you practice self-care, they will thank you for it later, and everything else on your list will be done with better energy and focus since you made time to recharge.
Money. Everything costs money so there’s always going to be struggle to use good judgment on where money should be spent (even if you’ve got lots of it…how else would millionaires stay rich?) It makes sense that when saving for your children’s college tuition, groceries, pet’s vet bills, car repairs, perhaps a new home, next year’s family vacation, Christmas gifts, and other seemingly more important things, a mini getaway for yourself doesn’t appear to be priority enough to make the top of the list, but if you’re the one managing most of the household responsibilities, and you can come up with something that won’t break the bank, but might just mean that Christmas gifts won’t be as extravagant this year, then why not?
The solution: Rearrange
Permission. It seems that moms want to escape all the time. You’ve heard the mom talk about how she just wants to sit on the couch and drink some wine without anyone asking her to do something, or the friend who really would enjoy spending a weekend somewhere but doesn’t want to take the kids. If they could, they would, but there’s usually someone–whether it’s a boss saying she has to meet a deadline or an in-law who’s claiming it wouldn’t be right to leave, that won’t allow her. It’s time to start doing the opposite and encourage moms to take the vacation they not only need but also deserve.
The solution: Be okay not being in control. Delegate or say no to people and be okay with them stomping their feet.
Husbands/Dads. When they have to go to work, and you’re the one who handles everything around the house including the kids, they don’t really like when you hop on a plane and leave them alone with all of that responsibility. But the truth is they can handle it, and if they can’t or don’t want to, they’re perfectly capable of asking for help while you’re gone. They know how to text their mom or a buddy who also has kids for backup!
The solution: If you’re the sole caretaker at home, and there’s no way for your husband to take time off work so you can get a day or two for yourself, hire someone. I know money can be tight, but some investments are worth making. If you can plan ahead and save up for this, it won’t be a big deal. Even without money, maybe you can ask someone in your family to come for the weekend or for the time you’ll be gone, or take the kids to them. Plenty of grandparents will usually help with overnights, especially if they see you’re taking the time as a mom to take a breath. Self-care is vital, and older women and their spouses get it. People are kind if you explain to them that you need this, and if you make yourself vulnerable enough to reach out for help.
Maybe during these times, a vacation is harder to imagine than ever. Skiing on the Alps is a dream that’s farther away and out of reach than last year, and perhaps Disney is not going to happen with or without the kids. But a night or two at a cabin where they do yoga retreats even if they have to practice social distancing or having dinner with a gal pal in the patio of a restaurant is still doable. Most hotels are also now open again. You can even try going to a state in the US where the COVID-19 rules are a little more lax. Just open up your computer and think outside the box, but don’t make it impossible. Time is passing and you don’t want to be 40 and realize you never took a vacation for yourself!