Since becoming a mom (and having them very close together) I have experimented with taking time away to refresh, recharge, and process life. In my research, I’ve landed on a 48-hour time frame for my mommy vacations I believe is doable a few times a year without breaking the bank or making my husband go running for the hills.
Unexpected Benefits of Mommy Vacations
I like to do something every so often. Something I like to call: getting the heck out of dodge.
I can tell that the need for leaving dodge is coming because I start exhibiting odd symptoms I simply can’t account for. Unusual symptoms include:
- feeling personally offended when someone needs a diaper change
- loss of patience for normal things (see anger management activities)
- the constant desire to be alone
- cutting corners with discipline, quality time and household chores even though I dislike the results
- flipping my lid when someone drinks the last Diet Coke (this may or may not happen regardless of my need to get out of dodge)
Basically, when I sense my normal healthy and positive daily attitude start slipping, I know it’s time for a mommy vacation. My husband is very kind and willing to watch the kids so, when budget and scheduling permits, I’ve been known to get away for a while to recharge. When you think about your day to day resume for the stay at home mom, you know that getting some time for yourself is not a luxury but a necessity.
Some friends have followed suit and I am very sure their husbands are just giving me mental well-wishes every time this happens. But really, it’s win win. You get time away, they get to bond with their children and you come back a new woman. Or at least you come back more “you.”
While most moms would agree they like time alone now and again, I’ve found surprising positive benefits to taking the 48 hour (and even 24 hour if that’s all you can swing) mommy vacation. It’s not just being able to sleep in or read an entire book, but actual noticeable differences in attitude and emotional well-being result. Here are 5 unexpected benefits I’ve noticed from my times away.
1. Patience returns
As I take time away I can literally feel my patience returning. My previously intense desire to flee and be alone is replaced with a small (and growing) appreciation for normal life with the kids. Pre-mommy vacation I am snappy, impatient, and irritable. Post-mommy vacation I feel more calm, at peace, and able to handle the daily snags of life.
It seems silly that a time period as short as a weekend can cause such an attitude turnaround, but it’s absolutely true! When you finally have time to relax and get “off duty” the feelings that have been stuffed are able to resolve themselves. I’m not saying you’ll feel like a new person, but you’ll feel like you again.
2. Delight returns
As with patience, mommy vacation actually creates space for my delight in the kids to return. Generally speaking, I feel blessed that I naturally delight in them. Maybe all mothers naturally delight in their children, but sometimes it’s hard.
Responsibilities outweigh cute moments.
The “urgent” takes priority over the spontaneous.
Getting away from responsibilities and obligations for a day or two actually forces you to just “be.” And when you are just being you, the delight with your children comes back full force. I find myself anxiously awaiting my reunion with them and delighting in the things that, two days earlier, would have been inconvenient and annoying.
3. Gives the kids a change of scenery
It’s good for your kids to spend alone time with their dad. In fact I’ve already written on why your husband isn’t doing you a favor by watching the kids. With you out of the way your spouse, family member, friend or babysitter has a chance to spend some time with the kids doing things you’d probably not ordinarily do. New games, new activities, new vocabulary and just a good old fashioned change of scenery.
Sometimes, even for the kids, a change is as good as a vacation.
4. Brings you back to your own identity
Becoming a mother is a major life change. If other areas of your life change at the same time as becoming a mother – career, location, etc. – then the transition can really throw you for a loop. When we’re focused on others all day and barely give our own needs or wants a thought we can begin to lose our own identity. Of course we must need our children’s needs all day! Of course we must sacrifice some of our previous habits by necessity!
However, it’s good to take some time and remember who you are as a person outside of being a mother. What you like to do, what you don’t like to do. Time to find your passions and time to do the things you love that there aren’t enough hours in the day for. Here’s my list of hobbies for stay at home moms or hobbies for the non-crafty.
5. It’s for catching up too
The last time I had away I used for two purposes. Relaxation and getting ahead on writing projects. I was able to do both successfully which meant that upon returning home I was actually ahead. Ahead and rested! If you have something you’ve been wanting to do for a while, scheduling time away to get it done makes all the difference. There are no distractions or other practicalities pulling away at you.
How to do it on any budget…
1. Get out a 2015 calendar
My biggest advice to work your 48 hour mommy vacations into your schedule is to plan them far in advance. Get out your calendar or snazzy planner (I used this planner last year and loved it and here is a great free version I have also used) and start thinking about possible months/weekends that would work. You can pencil in holidays and important events to determine when you can block out time for yourself.
I personally am only able to get away once a quarter. If you go away 24 hours at a time (as opposed to a whole weekend), you may be able to go away every other month. I’d aim for at least twice next year at a minimum. It will be a nice treat to look forward to.
2. Reach out
The most inexpensive way to take a mommy vacation is by reaching out to family and friends. By reaching out to your small group, church community, friends and family you can determine if anyone has (or knows someone who has) a perfect getaway you can take advantage of next year. Even if you have to pay, it will be far less expensive than paying full price elsewhere.
3. Request it as a gift
If you feel uncomfortable asking family and friends outright, why not put it on your wish list? Time away is a great gift for Mother’s Day (even if you don’t go away on Mother’s Day), birthdays, or other “just because” occasions. If your family and friends know that your priority is time away, they’ll know exactly what to give you when the giving is good. Often my husband can tell when time away is needed and he will have set some money aside so neither of us need feel guilty about it.
4. Think outside the box
While staying in a hotel may be the first thing that springs to mind, if that is out of your budget then think outside the box. Do friends have garage apartments or granny flats (a.k.a. mother-in-law suites)? If so, they may be an ideal getaway destination for you. And, if they aren’t being used year-round, you may find it an ongoing offer of hospitality a few times a year.
Housesitting is another option. If you put the word out soon enough you may snag a few house sitting gigs, and a house is a lot more comfortable than a hotel.
5. Scour the deals
There will always be deals, both far in advance and last minute, so be sure to keep your eye out on various websites for opportunities. There are tons of money saving sites for booking accommodation, but a few unique ones are listed below.
6. Do spend it if you’ve got it
Lastly, if you’ve got the dosh to spend then don’t feel guilty. While it may seem indulgent and selfish to spend time away, it’s actually necessary to recharge and refresh yourself. When you have an all-consuming and demanding job – like motherhood – taking time away only helps you return to your home better equipped to lovingly and patiently carry out your duties. It’s not stealing from your family, it’s giving back to them.
An ideal 48-hour mommy vacation will look different to every woman. You don’t have to go full on luxury to feel that you’ve been pampered. In fact, the nicest hotel I’ve stayed in was 4 star and it turned out to be the last wing in the hotel not renovated. Which meant it was basically a 2 star. And you know what? It was fantastic! Why? Because I didn’t have to do the dishes, laundry, cooking, or any child minding duty. There was a bed, a bath, and room service. And that was enough.
Do you ever take mommy days away? Tell me how you do it…
If you are stressed, overwhelmed, or drained… you aren’t alone.
After hearing from thousands of mothers, I’ve narrowed down the Top 5 Biggest Stressors For Moms. Sign up below and I’ll send my FREE series straight to your inbox!
Click here and learn breakthrough strategies that’ll help you feel peace immediately.
New to this community? Start here, friend.