Let’s be honest, “self care” sometimes is just not enough to fix “parental burnout” or “mom burnout.” While a bubble bath is nice, it isn’t going to do shit to lessen your mental or emotional load. Sometimes you just need to pack a bag and take a Mom Vacation, aka a “Momcation!” Luckily, I have a very supportive husband so I didn’t have to “justify” my recent momcations, in fact, he encouraged me to go! However, if you need to make the case to either yourself or your partner for a weekend off of parenting, I’m sharing my 8 Reasons You Need a Mom Vacation in order to convince you to take some time off so you can do you!
Disclaimer: this article is not for ALL moms or caregivers. It isn’t for moms who have absolutely no desire to leave their children. It’s not for moms who are currently nursing and would be stressed out by being away from their baby or having to pump. It’s not for moms who are perfectly happy with their current workload. Maybe you don’t consider being a stay-at-home mom to be “work,” but it is. And if mom guilt is making you think you shouldn’t want to be away from your children or that other moms will judge you for wanting to be away from your children, well, maybe you need to examine that guilt, let go of it, pack a bag, and go!
In the last several months, I’ve taken two solo mom vacations. Both trips were very, very much needed. One was solo, just me, myself, and I when I drove up the California coast for a weekend in Los Alamos, California. The other was a 5-day photo safari to Marfa, Texas with a good friend who is also a mom, so while the trip was not alone, it still counted as a solo mom trip because there were no husbands or kids allowed, but of course we were both Face-timing them every night.
Here are my 8 Reasons You Need a Mom Vacation:
- You Simply Need a Break
There’s a reason why you get vacation time when you work a job. You simply need a break!
Did you know that stay at home moms work an average of 98 hours a week. That’s a 14-hour day. Every day. Even on weekends. And probably even longer hours on holidays! Stay at home moms need a vacation, too. In fact, we deserve a vacation! Same with working moms who put in long hours at a full-time job and then come home to … well, more work.
But a family vacation isn’t super relaxing. (I should know, I just got back from a family vacation and we’ve decided to never do it again! Just kidding. But maybe not for a long time.) There’s still the mental labor of planning the trip: figuring out where to go, booking the tickets, making reservations, packing for multiple people, making sure no one forgets anything! And then the whining and crying doesn’t magically stop just because you’re on vacation. It’s not always fun. It’s sometimes exhausting. It’s not exactly a “vacation.”
So that’s why you need the Momcation: a trip by yourself, or with a like-minded friend, where you get to do what you want to do, eat where you want to eat, and get a good night’s sleep!
- Recharge Your Batteries
You know the emergency instructions on an airplane that instruct you to first put on your own oxygen mask before helping your child? That’s because if you don’t help yourself first, you’re going to pass out and then you won’t be able to help those that need it. The same applies to you and your kids at home. At some point, you need to help yourself first because if you’re too impatient, irritated, or tired to deal with the day-to-day tasks of raising kids, then it’s simply not helping you or your kids.
I know that for me, after I’ve had a break, I’m much more relaxed, I have more patience, and I’m more willing to set up toys and activities for my kids to play with. But when I’m in need of a break, I’m more likely to fall onto the couch after my kids go down for bed and binge watch 5 hours of bad tv.
So recharge your batteries! Get your patience and good attitude back! You’ll be a better mom for it. Remember, self care is not selfish!
- Find Yourself Again
In the last year, I’ve let a lot of my hobbies go because all I really have the energy for at the end of the day is watching tv. I haven’t worked as much, this blog has been neglected. I haven’t even photographed for fun! But during my trips to Los Alamos, California and Marfa, Texas, I took over 5,000 photos. That’s a shit ton of photos. And it was fun!
I LOVE taking travel photos! I love it more than food photography and blogging. It’s MY thing. But it’s hard to take travel photos with two babies in tow. Even if we go somewhere with the twins, I don’t like lugging around my camera in addition to the stroller and diaper bag. It just gets too much to carry. But when it was just me traveling solo, I remembered just how much I loved taking photos!
Sometimes you need to get away from your kids in order to discover what you’re passionate about again. In the last two years, my passions have been sidelined by figuring out toddler eating habits and home organization (so many books and toys!), so it was really nice to get out and do something that I just love to do.
- A Good Night’s Sleep
I think my interrupted nights began with my twin pregnancy. It’s hard to roll over in the middle of the night and get comfortable with a huge baby bump. Or you have to get up in the middle of the night to pee. But then the baby (or in my case, babies) comes and it just gets worse. You get NO sleep between breastfeeding, pumping, changing diapers, etc. And then eventually there comes a time where you may get a few nights of a full 7-8 hours of sleep, but then a sleep regression hits, or teeth start cutting, or someone gets sick. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve slept more than 5 hours uninterrupted.
Wait, I can. It was in Los Alamos on my solo trip when I made sure to bring my white noise machine, I was able to relax, I had a glass of wine before bed, I read my book, and I slept! For a full 8 hours. It was glorious!
- Your Partner Will Have a Better Appreciation of What You Do
As I said before, I’m very lucky to have a very supportive husband. He helps out around the house, does the dishes, works hard to support us so I don’t have to work full-time, etc. And he always thanks me for doing such a great job with the kids, learning all their new leaps and phases, learning how to feed them solids and introduce new foods to their diet, keeping up-to-date with their doctor and dental appointments and vaccinations, etc.
But when I went to Marfa, Texas for 5 days, he had the twins all by himself for a few days and even went to a Mommy & Me class with them where he told all the other moms at the class that he “[doesn’t] know how she does it.” It was nice to hear. Yes, he was supportive before, but after spending a few days in my shoes, I think he had a better appreciation of what I do all day long and just how hard it can be to keep up with twin toddlers, laundry, dishes, and household chores!
- Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Since dating my husband, I haven’t really traveled anywhere by myself. Before him, I was jetting off to Paris and traveling around Europe solo. Driving up and down the California coast visiting friends. Or moving to Melbourne, Australia and traveling around New Zealand and Fiji.
It’s not that traveling as a couple is a bad thing, I always say that if you find someone you travel well with, you should marry them, but I just got really comfortable traveling with my husband.
So, it was a weird feeling when I set off for a weekend in Los Alamos, California by myself. It was weird when I ate dinner at the hotel restaurant that night by myself. It was weird touring the Field of Light outdoor art exhibit by myself. Breakfast by myself the next morning. Antique shopping by myself. Visiting a winery by myself. It was all outside of my current comfort zone, but I was fine and it was probably good for me.
- A Momcation is Good for Your Kids, Too!
If your kids are younger, then they’re going to get to bond more with your partner. They’ll learn new things, new words, and play new games, etc. It’s good for them to experience day-to-day life with someone else!
If your kids are older, it demonstrates to them that you prioritize yourself and your self-care. It shows them that the world doesn’t revolve around them. And, if you have a daughter, you’re setting an example as an independent woman who can do things by herself and explore the world on her own!
- You’ll Love Coming Home!
Have you seen your kids get super excited whenever your partner walks in the door from work? Mine usually yell “Dada! Dada! Dada!” and run to him with huge smiles on their faces. Yeah, if I go out and run errands, I rarely get that level of excitement upon my return. My kids are too used to me.
But they did after my 5-day trip to Marfa! I loved it!
Remember, a Mom Vacation doesn’t have to be luxurious, you can tailor it to your budget and time constraints. Whether it’s a week in Hawaii, an extra day tacked onto the end of a work trip, or a day and a night staycation in a local hotel where you can take a shower, order room service, and binge watch some tv, it’s just a break where you get to do what you want to do. You deserve it, mama!