On a whim a couple of months ago, I clicked “book” on a cruise. Without my husband. Without my son. Just me and the bump. I’ll set sail in just a couple of weeks for a full seven days away from the day-to-day responsibilities of motherhood. Instead, I’ll be waking up to ocean breezes and water as far as I can see. Sounds dreamy, right?
To be honest, I didn’t exactly set out to book a vacation. After all, my list of excuses are a mile long, including the fact that I’ll be 20 weeks pregnant, and I have an extremely busy toddler. And even though he leaves me feeling drained and exhausted most days, I still miss him when we’re apart for more than hour. We’re a little attached.
But, my mom and aunts had booked the cruise a long time ago, and when a spot opened up to be my mom’s roomie, I just couldn’t pass it up.
After a round of “Could we actually make this happen?” conversations, my husband, Alex was on board with the plan, too (Read: Not excited to be a single dad for a week, but said he’d be ok with me going).
Why I decided to book a momcation
Let’s be real: Motherhood doesn’t stop. Demands and stressors of family life don’t stop. And it’s a wild, beautiful ride that I don’t take for granted one single day. But sometimes, I just need a break.
And I’m willing to bet you do, too.
As moms, it’s second nature to put this pressure on ourselves to be superwoman – to do all the things, to care for everyone – all while never giving ourselves judgment-free permission to come up for air.
But, why? I don’t know about you, but I’m no superwoman. And trying to be her is exhausting – not to mention, flat out unattainable.
We have to stop defining our measure of motherhood by how much we pour into others while depriving ourselves from what makes us feel alive. Instead, can we just give ourselves permission to say, “My well-being is just as important as everyone else’s in my family.”
Take this advice from an excerpt in Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive:
As Tony Schwartz, Founder of the Energy Project, says, with exercise, it’s during rest and downtime that muscle growth occurs. To achieve peak physical fitness, we push ourselves hard in short bursts of high intensity, and then we rest and recover. And that’s exactly how we should live our lives for overall performance and well-being.
Leaving momcations on the table
Did you know that according to projecttimeoff.com 52 percent of Americans have unused vacation days? Some of the most common reasons for not vacationing include: 1) Fear of appearing “un-dedicated” or replaceable; 2) Too heavy of a workload; 3) Lack of coverage, or feeling like no one else could do their job.
Whether you’re a working mom, stay-at-home-mom or work-from-home-mom, don’t these excuses sound familiar? The fact is: It’s hard to get away. Taking a vacation can be expensive. It can be scary to let someone else take over. It can feel overwhelming to be away for an extended period of time. And we can feel like no one (including our husbands) can pull of parenting quite the same as us.
Guess what: It’s still possible. Taking a momcation doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t have to go to a luxurious resort, or head out on a cruise. But, you CAN take a break, whatever that looks like for you. It’s possible.
Let’s set sail on a new mentality
When I was a kid, my mom taught me the importance of taking a break. Nearly every year, she’d leave my dad, brother and I at home for the week while she set sail on a cruise with her gal pals.
Wow, did we miss her! And ya know what: Her absence made us realize just how much she loved and sacrificed for our family. I remember that she’d always come home full of radiant energy, funny stories, and you could just tell that her soul was rested and recharged.
She needed it. She prioritized it. And she – and our family benefited from it.
Schedule your momcation
Ever thought about going on a momcation? Maybe not a cruise, but a couple of days (or more) away from the family? If you haven’t, you should. It doesn’t have to be fancy. And you don’t have to spend a bunch of money.
The truth is, I feel pretty guilty about leaving. It’s not going to stop me from going, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t intend to worry about my guys and be sad about the little moments I’ll be missing here at home.
But, I know that it will be good for my soul, as well as my heart and my mental health. And my family deserves me at my best – rested, recharged, and able to pour from a full cup. So, I’m setting sail. And I hope you do, too, friend. Whatever your momcation may look like.
If you could click “book” on your momcation, where would you go? What would you do? Tell me in the comments below!