Take a “Me-Cation” when you can
Being a mother is full-time job. Whether you are a stay-at-home or leave-for-work mom, the job never ends. I didn’t take a real vacation for myself, meaning more than just a quick overnight trip, until last year – when I spent a weekend in Vegas with a group of girlfriends. I didn’t realize how much I needed it, physically and mentally, until I returned. I loved how I was able to do what I wanted and not answer to anyone for more than 24 hours. Feeling confident my husband could care of our then-four-year old (even though they mostly ate takeout and didn’t have to do dishes) alone for a couple days is one of the things that made our marriage better when I returned.
I know not everyone has the ability to take a “me-cation”, but if you can, I highly recommend it.
My definition of a “me-cation”
A “me-cation” is a vacation for yourself. Not with your spouse or child(ren). I know it sounds self-explanatory, and some people would never think of traveling without their spouse or significant other, but the point of a “me-cation” is to get away from the norm so you don’t have to think about your usual responsibilities. I know when my husband tries to “give me time to myself” at home for a few hours, the only thing I can think about it (and usually actually do) is the laundry I need to fold, dishes I need to wash, ideas or thought of what to make or order for dinner, etc. It doesn’t have to be across the country or in another city. It can be as easy as being close to (but not at) home – “a lá ‘staycation'”.
A Spa Day is nice, but a “Me-cation” is better
I remember during my early years as a new parent, I would ask my husband for a nice treatment and day at a day spa, such as Burke Williams. While that was nice, what I should have asked for – in retrospect – was to combine a two or more holidays where he would normally buy me a present (like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day), and combine them into one gift – an overnight somewhere other than home. Don’t get me wrong, a spa day is nice, but it’s only a few hours away with a defined purpose.
Utilize the kindness of your parents while you can
Fortunately, my parents are still alive, able, and willing to take care of my daughter. I’m extremely thankful for that, especially having had my daughter later in life. I was always envious of my sister, who lives near our parents and frequently has date nights with her husband; but my decision to move and stay thousands of miles away from them was my own. I consider myself extremely lucky to have such wonderful, loving, and caring parents who have traveled to me and who I can travel to a few times a year to give me a break. The other benefit of this is my daughter gets to know and be close to her grandparents – something I’ve never experienced myself.
A responsible partner is extremely attractive
After my first real “me-cation”, I felt refreshed, revived, and relieved – three things I needed that only being away could do. For me, knowing my husband could “hold down the fort” for a few days made him more attractive to me. Of course, I only left for my trips after he had lot of practice to take care of our child on my comfort level, which is of course different for everyone. I know I’m pretty particular about things, which he tries to adhere to; but in the end, if I return to a healthy child and happy husband, he is greeted by a happier me.
Do what is reasonable for you
Of course, it sounds ideal but it doesn’t have to be unreasonable. Do what suits your comfort level – whether it’s who you trust to take care of your child while you are away, how soon you do it, or where you go. The point is to have time for yourself, whether it’s a few hours or a few days. Corporations give mental health days. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take one yourself.
Follow my “me-cations”
This summer, I’m taking a couple here and there, in different parts of the country. Stay tuned for my travel photos, tips, and thoughts on the blog and my social channels! Coming soon: New York Me-cation!