You know what's not really happening for the mommas? Alone time. No matter how precious our people are, someone is always needing a boob, a snuggle, a butt wiped, a boo-boo tended. It's...a lot. Even when it's great. Still a lot.
If you happen to be a member of the half of the world who recharge by time spent solo, this whole "they even follow me to the bathroom" thing becomes too much pretty quickly. I know mommas who do years of this without a break. If this is you: Momma- NOPE. Because as wonderful a momma as you are, surviving is just not the same as thriving. Pouring out of an empty cup is totally possible- but it's wicked exhausting, and nobody loves what comes out of that cup.
So here's what to do: Make recharge time a priority. And not just in your head- I mean in actionable, realistic plans. As long as baby is ready for a few hours away (read: can take a bottle)- you're ready. A mere 24 hours can be life-changing when you're starved for alone time. Here are a few ideas to send you on your way- all you'll need to do is pack your bag!
Version A: Switch homes with a friend. when your friends are away for a night or so, stay at their house, and offer the same when you're on vacation.
Version B: Offer to house sit! Whether or not someone is looking for a house sitter, it’s worth explaining your desire for a getaway and seeing about feeding the cat or just making sure everything is intact for a night or so while they’re gone.
Version C: Does a friend (without little ones) have a guest room you could crash in? Bonus if this friend is someone who could possibly be the caretaker for your child while you’re retreating.
FIND A RETREAT CENTER OR MONASTERY
Often these places charge as little as $10-$20/night for an overnight stay. A great place to start is monasterystays.com
Camping alone (or with girlfriends) can be a great way to get away, as long as it doesn’t feel like too much work. If you’ve just had a baby- or you’re just not into roughing it, many campsites offer cabins, sometimes with amenities like kitchens and full baths- and usually at a seriously great rate.
Groupon or Travelzoo
Groupon and Travelzoo are my go-to sites for great deals on all things getaway. Look for local deals to get great prices on overnight stays with free add-ons and amenities.
Do a day trip
The possibilities are endless, but here are a few:
a. Head to the library. If you can find one with a coffee shop or a cozy chair to curl up in, all the better.
b. Do a spa day. Websites like LocalFlavor.com and Groupon often have great deals that can cut the cost in half for manicures, massages, and the like. If not, you may be able to find a hotel that will let you use the hot tub and/or sauna for a small fee. Add a drop-in Yin yoga class (if you’re cleared by your healthcare provider) to complete the day.
c. Dinner and a movie. Before parenthood, I thought sitting alone in a restaurant or movie theater was basically advertising friendlessness. It is now my most favorite thing. Who needs friends?! I am, for these five glorious seconds, A.L.O.N.E. Yes please.
d. Nature. Find a curated garden, a state park, or just a gorgeous scene out in the wild where you can stretch out a blanket and spend a few hours. Bring a picnic, a journal, and some music.
Being at your house is not the point and most definitely not the same, which is why this is last on the list. But if that’s most comfortable and you really need to get away, here’s how to do it:
a. Arrange some of the activities in Number 5.
b. Find a sitter for the kids. Make sure either the littles are out of the house most of the day, or you are. If you're easily tempted to get stuff done and not relax, head out. But whatever man- do what works.
c. Create relaxing spaces in the house. Have what you need for a long, luxurious bubble bath. Have your robe, candles, music, and favorite movie(s) ready. Order your best food. Have ice cream waiting in the freezer. Do all of the things that you never get to do in mom life.
It's hard, and may sound even slightly impossible to get away. But momma- it's not. And I promise, it's worth the effort. With a little planning and some good help at home, you can absolutely take the break you need. And momma, you totally deserve it.