Moms Deserve a Break, Too—Here’s How One Mom Planned the Solo Vacation of Her Dreams

mom solo vacation

Imagine that you’ve just received a deep-tissue massage at a luxurious spa and you’re anticipating doing nothing but lounging on the beach underneath an umbrella. You may or may not be thinking about getting in the water, but for now? Resting your body and mind are at the top of your list for the day. You find yourself smiling and, eventually, dozing off because you’ve finally managed to catch your breath after a long week. Suddenly, you’re jarred awake.

You hop up in a panic, thinking it’s an emergency, only to take in your surroundings. You’re in your bedroom and what you hear is the battle between your alarm and your young child letting you know it’s a brand-new day. This may sound like a scene from a movie, but you may have found yourself jumping out of bed at the sound of a screaming child before—or even the sound of phantom cries when your child is actually asleep. 

Even though the logical side of me knows my toddler is asleep, I still get up to check on him multiple times throughout the night. Obviously, this does not make for a good night’s sleep. Between not sleeping and the overall demand of being a working mom, I was beginning to get panic attacks. I didn’t realize that’s what they were until I thought I was having an asthma attack while sitting at work.

I’d read about panic attacks before but never thought they could happen to me. Isn’t it funny how we think we’re exempt from certain things in life? I’d felt positive I would be able to flawlessly manage work and family life. However, reality proved otherwise. So at the brink of feeling like I’d never get through postpartum depression, I looked in the mirror one day and said, “Mommy needs a vacation by herself.” 

 

I almost decided a solo vacation wasn’t worth it but was urged by my therapist to prioritize myself for once. It made me wonder, do moms automatically put themselves last because it’s inherent or do we think we have to?

 

As much as a girls trip felt tempting to plan, the headache and shortness of breath that came on several times a day required a more urgent remedy—like an extended period of time where I wasn’t in a position to move according to someone else’s needs or wants. In theory, it sounded great, but some challenges presented themselves, like explaining to my partner why I didn’t want to have a family trip.

I almost decided a solo vacation wasn’t worth it but was urged by my therapist to prioritize myself for once. It made me wonder, do moms automatically put themselves last because it’s inherent or do we think we have to? 

Instead of waiting to find out, I sat down and began brainstorming how to do something that didn’t feel natural: go on a trip by myself. Here’s how I planned my solo vacation in the midst of mommy burnout and how it went.

 

1. Considering My Work and School Schedule

My demanding schedule may be a result of my personal ambitions because I juggle a 9-5 job, am pursuing my bachelor’s degree in communications, and take on freelance work. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “no days off,” then you can assume my life looks just like that. Even when I do not have to physically go to work, I’m still working. Knowing this, I had to take a look at upcoming projects and determine when my workload would be light enough for me to step away for a few days.

 

 

2. Presenting the Idea to My Partner

Admittedly, I wasn’t looking forward to telling my partner about my solo vacation at all. We’ve been talking about taking a late babymoon vacation, so I thought he would think I was being selfish for wanting to go on vacation by myself first. As I suspected, he wasn’t thrilled about the idea but softened once I explained why I needed to go. He has been more aware of how postpartum was affecting me and agreed that I needed and deserved a break.

 

3. Choosing a Location and Budget

Once I looked at my schedule and discussed things with my partner, I started thinking about where I wanted to go. Between wanting to be somewhere that’s warm and wasn’t incredibly far, I decided on Destin Beach, Florida. It holds a special place in my heart because my sister and I used to visit frequently.

Then I had to think about whether to fly or drive. I was used to driving to and from Florida (I live in Georgia), but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work to get there. At the same time, I knew a flight could be costly because Florida plane tickets are always a little more expensive. After going back and forth, I chose to fly and factored in the cost. I started saving $100-200 per paycheck for a few months (and sold a few things I no longer needed) and was able to find a beautiful condo that was near the beach.

 

4. Checking COVID-19 Guidelines

This was one of the biggest components of my trip since we’re still dealing with the pandemic and my son is in daycare. Although some restrictions have been lifted, I wanted to make sure I was aware of flight, lodging, and business restrictions.

 

5. Planning My Ideal Days

I knew I wanted to relax more than anything, so I started thinking about activities once I booked my flight. This means I wanted to spend a lot of days being pampered at a spa, lounging by the beach, eating good food, and sleeping.

At the beginning of my trip, I wasn’t interested in being around a lot of people, especially kids. That may sound shocking considering I’m a mom, but I didn’t want to begin the trip being reminded of why I was vacationing by myself.

 

 

6. How it Went

Even though I enjoyed a few days of solo me-time, I found myself missing human interaction. So I went to the beach and different restaurants. We’re not going to talk about how many times I indulged in seafood. Let’s just say I wasn’t counting calories.

The great thing about venturing to places by myself was that I was able to receive peace and human interaction on my terms. I doubt I’ll forget the conversations I had with kind strangers. Several of them who were parents applauded the fact that I chose to do something for myself.

 

7. What I Learned

Deciding to go on vacation by myself was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made this year. It felt odd given that I’ve been focused on working and being a mother. But with the help of my therapist, I’m realizing moms do not get a reward for allowing our mental health to suffer at the expense of showing up for everyone but ourselves. This isn’t to say I’ve mastered the concept of taking care of myself and making time for all of the self-care tips we see on the internet; it’s a learning process and probably always will be.

 

I’m realizing moms do not get a reward for allowing our mental health to suffer at the expense of showing up for everyone but ourselves.

 

Even if you can’t take a vacation right now, when’s the last time you prioritized yourself? I’m talking about beyond spending extra time in the bathroom or shower. When have you truly done something for yourself that made you feel good? That made you feel relaxed? Doing this doesn’t have to look like taking a physical vacation like I did. You don’t even have to spend money to find time to prioritize yourself.

If you need an entire day where you do absolutely nothing aside from binge-watching your favorite TV series, then so be it. You work so hard to show up in everyone else’s lives, but guess what? You matter too.

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