A few weeks ago, I drove myself to the airport and flew to my hometown of Austin. I had one carry-on, zero children, and a two-year stash of Southwest drink coupons. (I ended up sleeping the entire flight. Still have the coupons.)
My three college roommates picked me up at the airport. Two of them are also moms. All four of us work. Yet, for 48 hours, we were abandoning all duties and going off the grid.
Jk. We checked our phones every five minutes.
The reason for my trip was a 24-hour, city-wide scavenger hunt that Type A/Extreme Planner Friend convinced us would be the relaxing-yet-fun break from reality we all needed. And she was right. It was crazy fun.
We fell back into our old roles and our old jokes. The only part she got wrong was “relaxing.”
It was a whirlwind trip from the time I took off on Friday to the time I landed back home on Sunday afternoon. It was also completely worth it.
There’s something so freeing about sleeping in a friend’s guest room, sans pack-n-play. Or spending an entire lunch talking about nothing related to children. In a weird way, it makes time stand still. It makes you feel young (we did crazy, random things!) and old (until about 9 pm!) at the same time.
My momcation wasn’t just about friendship and me-time and taking a break. It was also about making all those seemingly me-centric things a part of my child-centric life. We weren’t just a group of old friends reminiscing; we were a group of life-long friends making new memories.
So, just how possible is a momcation? Let’s start with a few tips for making your time away attainable — and worth your time.
How to Make Your #Momcation Happen:
- Don’t dip in to your retirement fund. I was fortunate to be able to fly somewhere for the weekend. I made it affordable by booking in advance and staying at a friend’s house when I arrived. Because it was a trip to my hometown, I had free lodging and free rides everywhere. If you want to really get away, pick a place you can drive to and stay in a hotel. Or, book a cheap-to-mid range hotel (booking.com or hotels.com FTW) and take a staycation near your home.
- Do it with (a small) group of friends. This way you can split expenses like gas, groceries, and hotel rooms. Also, it makes “just hanging out” an inexpensive form of entertainment. Choose a small group; too many people and you might slip back into mom mode trying to wrangle the group for dinner. Close friends or old friends are awesome, but don’t underestimate new friends you get along with well. Old friends (or family) mean endless stories to rehash, while new friends mean new and different stories to share.
- Plan ahead. Or don’t. This is another case where there are benefits to both scenarios. Planning ahead ensures you have time to lock in childcare, make reservations, and check off the to-do list that could be lingering in your mind while you’re away. However… doing something with only a few weeks notice gives you less time to stress about being away and potentially back out.
- Tell your trusted partner/ grandparent/ sibling they can handle the kids. Because they probably can… for 48 hours, at least. I firmly believe that, barring work obligations or medical issues, anyone else involved in the raising of your children can and should have to handle them on their own at some point.
- Take the infant with you. So, you recently had your first (or second. or third.) kid. Awesome! Take them with you. Maybe you won’t be as unhindered as you would without a little one— but this is also the time you need to relax and recharge the most! Breastfeeding is more fun when you’re hanging out with friends. It may have to be super low-key, but there’s a really awesome time, somewhere between 3 and 6 months, when traveling with your babe is actually pretty OK.
- Bonus Tip: Lower your expectations. You’re a mom. Your bladder may be weaker and your mind more preoccupied than ever before in your life. If you get to sleep through the night, have a couple of good (adult) conversations, or experience something not referenced in a childcare book, then your momcation was a success.
Hopefully, this came across as empowering and not gratuitous. The idea is to remember that life is stressful and busy, but it should also be enjoyable. If a Momcation isn’t in the cards for you, focus on that fantastic family trip you’re going to make happen.
Have you ever taken a #Momcation? Where to?