As a stay at home parent of three children aged three and under, I often feel completely and utterly indispensable. While the feeling of being needed can be empowering at times, I couldn’t shake the desire to “check out” for a couple of days. Sure, I got a break when I was at the hospital after the birth of my baby (you’d better believe I stayed that extra day) but I wanted a chance to go be myself for a couple days. Ideally, I would have brought my husband along with me, as he is equally in need of a break, but without nearby family that was impossible. Instead, I set off with a group of my girlfriends to Kansas City for a 48-hour whirlwind trip of BBQ, racing, tattoos and piano bars. I returned rejuvenated, relaxed and reconnected with my non-mommy self. Here are some lessons that I learned from my trip on how to pull off an amazing girls’ getaway.
Set Your Partner Up For Success
My husband is great with our kids but doesn’t have much experience handling all three alone for hours on end. Face it ladies (and gentlemen) the learning curve of a stay at home parent is steep, and throwing somebody else in for a couple of days without proper instructions or training can be a disaster. I spent some time leading up to my trip cooking up meals for my family to eat while I was gone and made sure that the fridge was full of grab on the go snacks. Even though my husband is competent, I wrote out detailed instructions on how to care for the baby because it made me less anxious knowing that there was a chance things would get done MY way. I also lined up my babysitters to provide him a break in the action for a couple hours each day that I was gone. I returned to a clean house full of happy people.
Travel With Ladies You Love
I traveled with a group of women that I met online an infertility support group page many years ago. While I’ve only met them a handful of times, these women know many personal details of my daily life. Because I felt completely comfortable being “myself” with them, they were ideal travel mates. You should pick a group of people to travel with that share your interests (like running or singing loudly off key) but who would understand if you want to go off and do your own thing – like run a 10K or sleep while others are running. Moms make great travel companions.
Make a Plan
Moms are trained to anticipate the basic needs of food and fun, so with 15 moms on this particular trip, we had no shortage of planned meals, snacks, and scheduled fun activities. In order to accommodate different arrival times on Friday night, we pre-ordered and paid for takeout BBQ at our VBRO (which was coordinated many months in advance). Sleeping arrangements were made based on anticipated wake up times, pumping schedules and snoring frequency. Making these plans in advance allowed us to truly enjoy the limited time together, without figuring out logistics.
Do Something Crazy
The best part of the weekend for me was shaking off my mom persona and reclaiming the person I was before I had kids. For some women on the trip, that looked like fire bombs and karaoke till 2:00 am and for others, it was getting coordinating tattoos (yes – we really did this). Stepping out of the safe and responsible role of parent was the most restorative part of the experience for me. There was something about being “off the clock” that made it possible for me to be spontaneous in a way I haven’t been since becoming a mom. I am already counting down the days till my next get-away.