You should take a “mami solo trip”, said my husband. I looked at him with curiosity, bewilderment, and excitement. I’ve gone on one solo trip in 2019. It was a short two day last minute getaway to a nearby hotel. It was lovely, but rushed. I came back determined to take a yearly getaway, but as most of us say now, then the pandemic hit.
During lockdown, there was no escaping of any kind. My family and I were face to face 24/7, trying to figure out how to manage schoolwork, work, and just life. All the while trying to stay safe. Thankfully, we were safe and I’m extremely grateful. This pandemic affected many. I want to acknowledge that our family has privilege and know that many did not. According to the website Fulcrum, there is an unchecked privilege that continues to affect marginalized community. You can read more here. There is more work to be done to heal from the impact of this virus.
I also name that those of us who were home with children faced our own challenges. Overnight, we set up home desks for school work and balanced our own workload with an endless amount of snack times. (There is something about a child being home that makes them crave snacks more than at any other time.) I know I can say I spent my days exhausted by the demands of the day and the evenings worried about the virus’s potential impact on my family.
By the beginning of 2022, I was beyond drained. Burnt out from work, home responsibilities and children, sleep was elusive. Never feeling rested, I needed naps more and more to get through the day. In addition, I’m living with two auto-immune illnesses (will share more later), that add to the drain. So when my husband suggested a solo trip, I was hesitant but elated by the idea. I felt all the mom’s guilt about leaving my children with my husband to deal with all the responsibilities while I was off. Doing what? Resting?
At first, I resisted. I didn’t want to be that mom. I know I talk about self-care and self-love, but with two active boys who attend at least three activities a week, who was I to let go of that responsibility? However, as the weeks dragged on, I started realizing that if I didn’t take this trip, I may not have the energy to care for the boys. Going how I was going, I will short circuit every wire and not be any kind of mother to my kids.
So, I searched for local destinations. I wanted to be far away enough that felt like a vacation but close enough that I could come home if needed. I settled on Beacon, NY. It is not an exotic destination by any means, but it was exactly what I needed. With its quirky shops, beautiful outdoors and amazingly friendly people, I could slow down, listen to my thinking, and just be with me.
I’d forgotten how much fun I have by myself. As an introvert by nature, I crave alone time to recharge, but in a busy household, that is scarce. Going away was scary, but it’s the best decision I could have made for myself and my children. I came back ready to be present with them. My first day back I took them to get ice cream and to the playground. That night, we made dinner and put together some craft kits for experimenting.
One trip away is not a solution to managing the challenges that arise day to day, but it surely is part of an overall system of care that I need to be my best self. If you plan on taking a trip, here are some things to consider:
- Decide childcare. If you have the privilege of having a partner, then discuss your needs beforehand and create a plan for the care of your children while you are away. If you cannot work with a partner, is there a friend or a relative who would care for your children for a few days?
- Stay local. Sometimes we believe we need to travel to the other side of the world, but really there are so many places to explore within a 30-mile radius of wherever you live.
- Plan for alone time. As much as we crave alone time, it got too quiet while I was away. The urge to call my children every hour, just to hear them scream, was strong, but I resisted because I knew I needed this time. I planned walks, special dinners, and a spa service so I can fully be present with myself.
- Have fun. Going away isn’t just an escape, but it’s an opportunity for you to be your own person again! What do you enjoy doing for fun? How can you check in with yourself? What fresh adventures can you discover?
If you have taken a solo trip, I would love to hear about your experience. If you haven’t, let us know why not and maybe we can find someone in our community to help you plan one!
Con mucho amor!