As the busy mom of three (ages 12, 10 and 7) and the wife of a service member, time to myself is limited. Frequently I find myself in need of a babysitter, forking over $90 and my right arm just to get away. As the kids have gotten older I’ve found that it is easier to get some time on my own.
Leaving the kids with friends for overnight or a weekend is far my feasible now that they can clothe and feed themselves for the most part. But a vacation? A real-live trip for more than one night away from the kids and by myself? How is that even possible?
The first thing that is probably in your head is “How can I just leave?” Well, trust me, you can and everything will be okay. The dishwasher will probably be loaded the wrong way and odds are something is getting shrunk in the dryer, but guess what? If that’s the worst of it, you’re in good shape.
Your family will survive without you and you owe it to yourself to take care of yourself. You aren’t being selfish and you most definitely deserve it. It was the best thing I have ever done and you need to do it right now!
Here are three reasons why every mom needs—and should totally take—a solo vacation.
Do It for Your Sanity
Leaving your kids doesn’t make you a terrible mom. In fact, I firmly believe that getting away made me a better mom. I didn’t have to think about anyone but myself. I could sleep in, stay up late, visit museums or local attractions without considering if it was kid-friendly or whether they would be bored. Getting away shut off all parenting parts of my brain and let them just recharge for four straight days.
Let’s be real: carting kids around to a million activities or worrying whether the restaurant has a kid’s menu are things that fill our head constantly. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. So, do yourself a favor and give yourself a break.
Do It for Your Kids
Like a lot of things in my parenting philosophy, I start from the perspective that I’m in the business of raising good humans. I’m not in the business of raising geniuses or Olympic athletes or concert pianists. A kid that can make their own doctor’s appointments someday, can sit at a restaurant and hold a conversation with an adult are way higher on my priority list.
Leaving your children either with your spouse alone or with someone else, without you is a key part of that philosophy. They don’t need you to be all over them all the time. They need to be able to manage themselves under the direction of someone else, figure out how to be without you in the house. Everyone is comfortable with different levels of this, but I’ve been leaving my children since they were little for business trips or while visiting family. Find the level you are comfortable with, depending on their age and who you are able to leave them with and do it!
I really believe that this benefits kids in some way. It gives them a little independence and a different experience. It gives them the chance to work within someone else’s boundaries and rules and succeed in doing so.
Do It for Fun!
Truly this is the most important reason for taking that solo vacation. For some plain old fun! When was the last time you really had fun and didn’t feel guilty about it? Going away with your spouse is fun, but going away with a friend or solo as I did, was a different kind of fun.
We, as moms, shouldn’t feel guilty about doing something for ourselves. Even if we think we had our fun before we had kids doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop after. We deserve to enjoy a meal without sharing or spending an arm and a leg to feed the whole family.
Use this time to recharge, relax, sit by the pool without having to make sure nobody drowns or try a new bar every night and stay out until one o’clock in the morning. Whatever fun is for you, find it!
Taking time for yourself, in whatever way you can, will ultimately make you a better parent. It’s hard to do sometimes but in this fast-paced world, it’s even more important to make sure that we stay healthy and happy. Doing so will help us to give our kids the best of us, which is what they deserve.