Updated: Aug 24, 2018
“Me Time” when you’re a mother might be yet another ploy to make a woman feel guilty. Not only are you focusing on and sometimes struggling to keep your kids thriving, working hard, maintaining a household, keeping up with friends, and possibly holding down a committed relationship; now you’re expected to make sure you get “me time”?! You might be thinking . . .
What clock or calendar are you looking at?!
As a blogger for women I have a certain responsibility to make sure my female readers feel heard and taken care of, I suppose it didn’t occur to me that “me time” could be complete BS when you’re a mother. At least adults and puppies let you go to the bathroom in peace! Toddlers have NO boundaries! After all, you’re there when they go potty, it only makes sense they supervise you when you go!
But when the idea of a Momcation was mentioned to me, I thought how could a mother possibly go on a vacation alone or even with friends? Not because I was shaming her but because I can only imagine the separation anxiety she would experience. Plus, if she does go on vacation from work, wouldn’t she want the family to go, too; after all this could be the only consecutive paid time off she gets from work all year.
There are countless reasons to go and countless reasons to stay home. So many other bloggers have belabored their top ten lists on why you should go and other alternatives so I won’t mention them here but I will definitively say, GO.
But then, of course, that begs the question: Where?
Personally, I enjoy visiting places that offer beauty and preferably an extremely different culture than my own. Here are my top 5 places to go and why:
Vietnam: The conversion rate here is fantastic, you can get by with $1,500 for a week’s vacation including airfare (from CA), food, and an AirBnB. Furthermore, they are home to the world’s largest cave and Vietnam is rich with ancient history. In November I will be visiting to see the caves in Ha Long Bay, The Perfume Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature.
Colorado: This has always been my favorite state. The Rockies mountain range is breathtaking and the outdoor activities have such a wide range from tame water sports like aquabiking to white water rafting to challenging mountain climbing. Or, if you want to relax for the week, Colorado offers several hot spring resorts.
Caribbean: If dancing, partying, and having a really good time is your thing then go to the following link for beautifully curated trips to the Caribbean by my friend, Jerae. She is such a firecracker but also a mother, devoted wife, and a whole party in a person all by herself (plus she accepts payment plans)! Fair warning, though, you might find island life and island people to be too good to leave! https://islandvibestravelllc.com/brex-in
Italy: Europe should be on everyone’s bucket list, especially if you’re of European descent, in particular Italy. Between the food, old world energy, architecture, people, and hospitality, there is almost no drawback to going to these countries. However, it can cost a pretty penny and when you go, you should go the right way - you’ll need two weeks at minimum! To get started, see my late father’s dear friend who also curates high level travel, Ning Bond: http://wellarrangedtravel.com/welcome/
South Africa: It should be noted that every country in Africa is beautiful and deserves visitation but I can’t recommend what I haven’t seen nor have a friend who travels there often! I have, however, been to South Africa and It. Is. Gorgeous. I visited Cape Town, Johannesburg, and East London. With 11 official languages, world renowned wineries, rolling hills, authentic safaris, stunning beaches... not to mention home to one of the 7 Wonders of the World; South Africa is one of my favorite places I’ve visited.
Can’t afford it? That’s OK!
Start saving for your vacay now anyway. Even if it’s $20/month. Everyone should be planning something they look forward to that’s just for them.
Make part of your trip an opportunity to give back and start a kickstarter! I know this trip is for you but some of us find it hard to travel without giving back, so if you’re that type of person, this might be your way to go! Habitat for Humanity is just one organization that does this: https://www.habitat.org/volunteer/travel-and-build/global-village; there’s also [X] Without Borders like Doctors WB or Engineers WB, etc.
Add an accountability factor: Ask friends to go with you and make a commitment to each other.
No matter where you’re going, make an appointment to get your passport - even U.S. domestic travel will require this by 2020 - so when you’re ready to go, you can!
One friend of mine doesn’t plan trips but she saves money, then she watches a discount travel site like Kayak or Travelzoo. She just went to Greece on a whim last year!
Meanwhile, here's how to have a free mini momcation and increase your “me time”, if that’s even a thing:
Breathe. I know, it’s been said and done before, breathing is nothing new. But when was the last time you took three deep breaths in your nostrils and out through your mouth, then felt your entire body melt? Do it now and you’ll notice how tense you really are on a minute-to-minute basis. I asked a friend once how she maintained her cool while working a busy bartending shift and she said, “I’m always meditating!” Ever since then I
1) remember to breathe; 2) deliberately slow myself down; 3) take deep breaths often.
Take a walk or a drive outside of your normal comfort zone. I used to live in Richmond, CA so I know “taking a walk outside of your comfort zone” could translate to danger - don’t do that! The key here is to get away from the norm. If you can incorporate nature as well, you will renew your mind and spirit. Bring your kids, dogs, partner and/or boyfriend/husband/manbear along with you if you have to.
Wake up a half hour earlier than you have to. Yes. I know. Do it anyway. You can begin doing this incrementally if you want to, start with 5 minutes early and work up to 30. The real recommendation is an hour earlier than you have to, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. This act is quite possibly the biggest power move in my life I have ever tried and it works!
The first time I tried it, I woke up at 4 am on accident and couldn’t get back to sleep so I decided to get some work done on my site, blog, and write part of my first mini book. I had to be at an appointment by 11am so I just stayed up. I cannot tell you how much I got done during that time and how amped I was for the rest of the day. I have since woken up an hour earlier or more than I have to in order to do at least one thing that is for me. It truly feels like you can face the day when you’ve given to yourself first.
That’s truly what this is all about - giving to yourself first, especially as a mom. Everyone constantly wants and needs something from you and although you’re likely happy to give it, you should give to yourself too and before anyone else gets a chance to take. Personally, I didn’t know I needed this until I tried it. Once I started taking time out for myself, I was addicted.
Try it by either taking a breath or taking a vacation, either way I want to hear about it!