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A harsh reality for mothers is accepting this: “your kids don’t need a perfect mom, they need a happy one. “I’ll never forget the first time I read it and stopped in my tracks. Lord knows this job is almost impossible when we’re emotionally spent. We spend so much of our days tending to the needs of our precious babies that finding a moment to ourselves is almost impossible. The truth is, the daily requirements of motherhood will eventually take their toll, and it’s a heavy one. So, what can we do to combat mom-depression and anxiety? A momcation, that’s what.
Say it with me “MOM-CAY-SHUN!” Say it again, but this time with excitement and enthusiasm. Because A momcation is precisely what it sounds like. It’s a trip moms take with other moms, minus the kiddos and they do whatever they want, when they want and how they want. It’s like your own personal perfect reset button.
Vacations with kids are as stressful as they are exciting. Even if you’ve become an expert at navigating airports while pushing luggage and a stroller or, keeping kids quiet on planes, traveling with kids can just be very overwhelming and exhausting.
The longest night of my life was during a 13-hour flight to Bangkok from San Francisco, with my husband (who took 2 Benadryl before take off, Thanks Honey) 3-year-old Violet and 8-month-old Iris. No one was comfortable, Violet feared the toilet on the plane and Iris didn’t want to be held, so by the time we landed at our destination, I was already over it. If you’re like me and have grown to accept hotel bed co-sleeping, big day packs, and stroller friendly attractions, then I’m sure you need to read on.
You need a break, trust me!!!
These short adventures are an excellent way to avoid or recover from parental burnout and use the “me time” as a reset.
An article inPsychology Today defined parental burnout as a “‘unique and context-specific syndrome resulting from enduring exposure to chronic parenting stress.’ Its primary symptom is overwhelming exhaustion relating to one’s role as a parent.”
Another article in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect suggested parental burnout can lead to sleep problems, a stronger effect on conflicts within couples, and a specific impact on child-related outcomes (neglect and violence). If you think you need one, then you do. It doesn’t need to be extravagant, or abroad, it just needs to be away. Here are a few tips to help you plan and make the best of your momcation
Choose your momcation destination
If you’re wondering where you should go for your momcation, the best answer is, “Anywhere!”, whether it’s a cruise, a road trip, a vacation abroad, your ideal location is just somewhere that gives you the opportunity to do the things you want to do on your time.
For example, if you are a group of foodies, plan a restaurant tour in a city known for its cuisine. Look for events like festivals and concerts happening and plan your trip around them. Scout out cheap flights during airline promotions and sales to find destinations within your budget. A love of jazz, history and a South-west Airlines flash sale landed us dead smack in the middle of the French Quarter for our momcation.
Do whatever you want!!
Dining out with small kids isn’t easy for parents and sitting quietly in a crowded restaurant isn’t exactly what a kid had in mind for a fun night out either. You only have a short amount of time before little ones get restless and start to explore the underside of a table and lord help us all if the kitchen is backed up. Spills and tantrums, potty breaks and singing, dining out eventually gets more natural, but not easy. *Sigh*
Your momcation is the time to dine out on your terms! If you have kids that are too little to order for own meal and you usually share your food with them, use this opportunity to order your food just the way you like since you don’t have to take those tiny taste buds into consideration.
Just imagine the variety!! Spicy, savory, extra saucy! Pick a small or intimate restaurant and look for a prime table. If you see a beautiful painting hanging, ask the hostess to seat you close to it. If you’d like to soak in the views of the street or gawk at the pedestrians, ask to be seated by a window. After all, it’s not like you need to worry about whether people can get passed a highchair or anything.
Eat slow and savor every drop of your meal that you consume while not having to continually tell someone to sit down or get out from underneath the table. Have adult conversations with your party or even strangers at the tables around you. Catch up on grown folk’s business, gossip, cuss (tactfully of course), cackle! Enjoy these moments of uncensored mental stimulation. You need it!
No kids, no problem with another glass (or few) of your favorite wine. I hardly ever drink when I have kids in tow, other than an occasional glass of wine or a simple cocktail at dinner. I have for a couple of personal reasons for this, but mainly because my kids are still young, and they get into everything (my baby is a climber, and I’ve pulled her down from our bookshelf before.) Its so important that must be on my A game always.
Momcations are for letting loose and indulging. Let your superpowers recharge while you sip on a bubbly you can’t pronounce or choose a drink from the menu because it comes in a pretty glass. Live a little and responsibly but make a potential hangover worth it!
Go to non-kid friendly spaces
It’s no secret that fragile, expensive items are kid magnets, so why even bother browsing. I won’t tell you how many antique stores and boutiques I’ve had to avoid while on vacation because of the old retail policy of “You break it you buy it!” Fortunately, that ’s what Momcations are for! You can go wherever you want, including fancy shops and are free to wander with no tiny hands to monitor!
Packing: Momcation must-haves
- A make-up bag filled with favorite items. (Including a bold lipstick)
- A pair of versatile heels suitable for casual brunch, fancy dinner, and a night on the town.
- Portable charger (see best electronic gadgets for travelers)
- Cozy pajamas
- Little black dress
- Hydrating Face mask
- Bathing suit
- Good playlist, podcast or book
- Tummy pack (Alka- seltzer, simethicone and tums.) Just in case you have a wild night with your gal-pals.
- Cute, lightweight jacket
It’s for the greater good of everyone!!
A recent study published by the Wisconsin Medical Journal showed women who took vacations are less likely to become tense, depressed, or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriages. Also, that odds of marital satisfaction decreased as the frequency of vacations decreased. It also gives other family members the chance to bond with your kids and is a good way for a little one to get over separation anxiety.
No matter how or where you decide to momcation, the point is to give yourself an opportunity to put yourself first and reacquaint yourself with the person you were before you stepped into the role of “mommy.’
After all, signing up for motherhood never meant to lose yourself in the process. So, make sure you take your momcation and come back and share pictures and comment to tell me that I was right.
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Until next time moms!