I waved as our old blue truck rolled down the road away from where I stood, planted on the sidewalk alone. There I was staring down my first solo stay away from my husband and sons, and the only thought I could muster up was what on Earth was I thinking planning a weekend to myself in the city?
Would my kids be okay without me? More like, would I be OK without them?
The answer to both questions was of course, yes, but in that moment I couldn’t help but have doubt because, well, you know—”time off” doesn’t exactly come easily (or often) to us motherly types.
As the inevitable mom guilt crept in around me, I noticed something else nudging at my peripheral too; a sweet, sweet sensation that I think the kidless variety might refer to as peace. Or perhaps it’s quiet. Freedom, maybe?
And it felt so good.
It’s no secret: moms are on the clock, around the clock (and around, and around, and around). We are forever chasing, dressing, rocking, refereeing, packing, chauffeuring, negotiating, teaching—you name it.
It’s what we do, it’s what we know. And honestly, as much as it exhausts us, this being with our kids and tending to everyone’s needs at all times thing? It’s our comfort zone.
And according to developmental psychologist Dr. Nava Silton, not only is taking the occasional break from our role of motherhood acceptable—it’s downright essential.
Silton—who, wouldn’t you know it, is a mom herself—understands first hand the toll that the mental, physical, and emotional load of this gig takes on women around the globe. As she explained, “Motherhood can be very stressful— whether it’s financial stresses, time stresses, or just trying to get a whole lot done in a very short period of time.”
So, the million dollar question: what’s the remedy for all of this stress?
It’s a trend that has been coined the “momcation”, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: a getaway meant to give moms the chance to unwind and just be.
That weekend I took for myself? It was the momcation of my dreams.
I read. I watched some TV. I went shopping for myself. I went to bed early and slept in late. I didn’t ask a single person if they needed to go potty. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, and didn’t have to prepare, negotiate bites, or play clean-up crew for anyone else’s food. I made the frequent flier list of the local Starbucks drive-thru—not because I needed the caffeine to battle my exhaustion, but simply because I could. I would go as far as to say that I had total control over my schedule for the first time in three years, but better yet—I wasn’t on a schedule at all.
It. Was. Heavenly.
What else did I do during my time away? I video chatted with my family before bedtime. I saw reminders of them everywhere I went. I bought a couple of unnecessary “just because’s” to surprise them. And truthfully? I missed them every second—you know, in the way that I missed their presence, but didn’t at all miss the mom responsibilities I was getting a much-needed break from.
Most importantly, I felt like me again; not mom-me, not wife-me, but just me.
Here’s the thing: even though we can’t ever fully turn mom-mode off, we can turn the volume down and become reacquainted with other parts of ourselves that might have been buried along the path of motherhood.
So go, mamas. Go solo, or go with some mom-friends who are also in need of the break, but whatever you do, just go on the dang momcation. You do so much for your family, Heaven knows you deserve to do this for y-o-u.
I promise you’ll come back a more refreshed and recharged version of yourself, and the (newly relaxed) smiles on all of your faces when you get back to your family will be the best reminder of all that this crazy, overwhelming, and all-encompassing life . . . it is so worth it.