A mom's job is never done. You're on duty day and night, dealing with crises big and small. You may be Supermom, but the grueling schedule is enough to wear anybody down. Before you burn out, why not try a "momcation"? Simply put, it's a vacation designed specifically for your needs, allowing you a much-deserved breather from the constant responsibilities of everyday life. Here's how to do it.
- Get started: First, drop the guilt. A momcation doesn't replace a family vacation, and it doesn't benefit you alone, so don't feel selfish. When you have time to relax on your own and do what interests you, like hiking or museum-hopping, it makes you happier and rebuilds your reserves for when you return to the family you love.
- Pick your partners: This is a great chance to strengthen bonds with your female friends. It feels good to share stories, catch up on the news, and laugh until it hurts. Maybe you have local friends who'd be up for a road trip, or an old friend or sister who lives too far to see regularly. Regardless, make sure you choose compatible travel partners — not all friends make good vacation companions, and you don't want to end up arguing instead of bonding. Keep in mind that the destination you pick may also play into your travel partner choices. If your friends can't go or aren't interested, don't let that stop you. Go to your dream spot solo or through a company that specializes in women-only trips (see sidebar).
- Plan your getaway: Momcations are usually short; three-day jaunts are common. You can plan it all yourself, go with a pre-planned package, or divvy up the duties with your friends. However you do it, try to keep it simple to avoid undue stress. Some people make this an annual event and take turns choosing the destination. Others plan around special events like milestone birthdays, with the guest of honor picking the spot.
- Prepare for departure: Talk about your plans with your kids at least a few weeks in advance, and remind them of your trip regularly so that your absence doesn't surprise them. You might also explain that it's the adult version of a play date or a few days at camp. From dad's perspective, it gives him some quality time with the kids. You may fear things will fall apart, but more likely, your family will discover they can survive without you (at least temporarily) and will develop a deeper appreciation for everything you do for them.
- Hit the road: No explanation necessary. Have fun!