How long has it been since your last mom-cation? A trip without kids or husband? For me, the answer is: Way too long! I've spent the past six years either being pregnant or nursing a child, so it has been difficult to find the time for any sort of getaway, especially one with girlfriends.
But I'm happy to say that all changed recently when my dear friend and I finally had the chance to get away together. The hardest part of leaving was getting out the door, as I held back the tears while my 18-month-old cried and reached for me. Talk about mom guilt!
As difficult as it was, I'm glad I made the leap and headed to the small, charming town of Ojai for a unique, relaxing getaway at The Oaks at Ojai. Our home away from home was a wellness resort that caters to women looking to refresh, restart and rejuvenate. The grounds were lush and tranquil and the atmosphere completely non-judgemental, providing the perfect backdrop to our getaway. We spent the weekend getting massages and facials, trying fun fitness classes and laughing about memories from our 20 years of friendship.
It was the perfect place for my first plunge into Mom-cation Land.
Now that I've taken my first getaway sans kids, I realize the importance of taking time for myself, catching up on rest and just plain having fun every now and then. Which, as licensed marriage and family therapist Stacey Kinney points out, is good for women's mental and physical health.
“A mom-cation allows moms to escape from the daily eat, diaper, laundry, chauffeur, repeat routine,” Kinney, who’s also a mom of two teenage boys, says. “It can help us re-enter our daily grind with more focus and vitality.”
If you're like me and feeling like it's easier said than done, here are some tips to get you well on your way to really maximizing your getaway:
Focus on you
When you're constantly changing diapers, mediating arguments and cooking endless meals, it's easy to lose yourself in the process.
“Moms are often at risk for losing their sense of self,” Kinney says. “They become someone’s wife, someone’s mother, and end up forgetting what makes them tick. Taking a break can allow them to reestablish that sense of self.”
Catch up on sleep
Whether your children are newborns or teens, there's a good chance you're not getting the amount of sleep your body actually needs. My friend and I were able to enjoy two nights of uninterrupted, eight hours of sleep. That's right—EIGHT HOURS. No baby monitors, noise machines, or early wake-up calls. It was a true miracle!
Try something new
All day long, you're tuned in to your family's schedules, whether it's getting your son to soccer or your daughter to swimming. So why not take a break to focus on yourself and your needs, for a change? Who knows, you may even discover a new hobby or passion along the way.
“Mom-cations can also allow us to explore interests we don’t have time for in our daily lives, with friends who share these interests, and can provide additional stress reduction, as well as connection,” Kinney explains.
At The Oaks at Ojai, my friend and I joined two water aerobics classes that we loved. At home, I don’t think I would have ever tried one of these classes, but I quickly discovered that it’s not only a great workout, but a lot of fun, and definitely something I'll be checking out back at home.
Catch up with friends
We spend 20-plus years of our life cultivating amazing friendships, then, once we begin careers and marriages and families, they all too often take second-billing.
“When you become a mom, you begin a long journey,” Kinney says. “Friendship and laughter can serve as fuel to sustain you along the way.”
I say, bring on the mom fuel!
Find your own momcation
Even if getting away for a weekend isn’t in the cards for you right now, get creative and find ways to re-capture some me-time daily.
“For a busy mom with kids, that can seem impossible,” says Kinney. “Like the flight attendant says, ‘Put on your oxygen mask before assisting your children.’ If we don’t take care of our emotional and physical well-being, we cannot be there for our children.”
Whether it’s a 5-minute phone call to your best friend, an uninterrupted shower, a jog around the neighborhood or your favorite cycling class—it’s time for you, and that’s all that matters.
So what are you waiting for mamas? Grab a friend and book that getaway!