As Mother’s Day approached this year, I found myself in the perfect storm of pregnancy hormones, low sleep, teething toddler mayhem, family gathering requests, and the general overwhelmingness that has haunted me this pregnancy. And as the eye of the storm passed me by, I lost it.
I just COULDN’T DO IT ANYMORE.
That’s when I asked Brad: CAN I GET A VACATION?
As a stay at home mom (SAHM), gone are the days that you simply call out from work when you’re sick or just need some personal time. If you are sick, you must scramble to get coverage for someone to care for your child(ren), pack clothes, diapers, food, blankets, cribs, etc., write out a plan on what is typical of their schedule, and then still figure out how to take care of yourself. And that’s just in the worst case scenario when you are sick; forget trying to pull that kind of day just to have a break from the life SAHM-hood.
I needed a day where I could do the things I wanted to do on my terms. I wasn’t looking for an exotic trip to Hawai’i to sip mojitos in the sand (yes, that would be amazing, but let’s be real!), but just a chance to do normal things that I took advantage of before kids. Things like:
- Sleeping in
- Heck, sleeping through the previous night without interruption, and then sleeping in
- Eating all of my my meals while they are still hot and/or freshly prepared
- Eating without having to feed someone else
- Going to the bathroom without 1. gathering toys to distract a toddler, 2. forcing a toddler to stay in his room, or 3. giving up and bringing the toddler in with me and then making googly eyes and faces while peeing in their presence
- Showering for as long as I want
- Drinking coffee while it’s still warm and while sitting in one place
- Having quiet time during the day (without the naptime-ending-deadline) to read, crochet, watch TV, browse the internet, or just Stare At A Wall Because That Can Be Just as Comforting Sometimes
- Simply Stated: Eat, Sleep, Pee, Shower, & Think All By Myself.
Yes, I realize this whole idea is selfish. Everything is me, me, ME, and avoiding everyone else’s needs and desires. But after my perfect storm meltdown, I needed some recuperation. With that in mind, I tell you to read this carefully: I have been pregnant or nursing since March 2011. From the day this is posted, that would mean my body and everything I put in it has had another human being depending on its sustenance for over 2.25 years, or twenty eight months. That’s like earning an associates degree in crazy bodily changes and child-dependening-on-you-for-their-most-basic-needs – plus a minor in mobile diaper changing and nursing like a ninja . By the time I’m done with this second round of pregnancy and nursing, I’ll be close to having my Bachelor’s!
Please don’t read these meandering thoughts as, “woe is me”, especially since I fully decided (with Brad) when to get pregnant both times and how long to nurse, but the years put into this whole process do indeed add up. Parenthood is an incredible experience. I wouldn’t change our situation for the world. I just could use a day to myself to stare at walls or eat meals without interruption.
And so the idea of a Momcation came to me. The concept is simple, really. Work out a day (and the evening prior if possible) to have time to yourself away from motherhood and the day-to-day grind. In an ideal world, I would take a weekend away at a spa and blow money on pedicures, manicures, facials, massages, ridiculous amounts of food, lattes, etc. etc., but that isn’t being realistic. Finances are a factor. You don’t need to spend tons of money to have time to yourself. Get creative. For childcare, switch with another mom or have the kids stay with family. Figure out some basic things you could do with your time (that AREN’T errands – no need to be productive on your Momcation!), and just enjoy the day.
So this is how my Momcation went…
Brad has a very irregular schedule and we have a lot of weekend plans generally, so looking at the calendar we had to plan a month ahead of time for a day he had off and could take over Quincy Duties beginning the night before. Once the day came, I packed one bag with a change of clothes and toiletries, then packed two more bags with projects, and grabbed my purse.
I stayed at my dad’ and step-mom’s house for the night in their guest bedroom.
Papa and Chris are really great about being supportive, but giving you space, too. They went to bed earlier than me, they were up way earlier than me, and so their place made for the perfect (FREE) accommodations for a night to myself and a leisurely morning and afternoon. (Thank you Papa and Chris!) Their house has the usual amenities plus a three seasons porch, craft room, wireless internet, and is situated on a large chunk of peaceful, quiet greenery with a foresty backdrop.
I budgeted twenty bucks for food for the day. I understand that this amount can vary from region to region and appetite to appetite. But it worked for me to get a cheap (late) breakfast, small lunch (heavy on the decaf latte, light on the pastry), and a burger and fries for dinner. I went for cheap comfort foods, and everything hit the spot.
I didn’t want this day to be a budget buster, so I thought about things I wanted to do that didn’t have to cost a lot of money. With that in mind, I remembered a few gift certificates I hadn’t spent from Christmas/Birthday, worked on my Etsy shop, and listened to great music. I documented most of it through Instagram, but here’s a quick breakdown:
My day included some pampering…
As you can see, a cut and style can make a big difference but so can a full-night’s rest and a few extra minutes to put on decent make-up.
I also did lot’s of browsing, with a bit of purchasing…
And I took the time to take outdoor photos at Hotel de Papa & Chris, and post products to my Etsy Shop…
Going into it, I stuck to what I knew I would do: Eat, Sleep, Pee, Shower, & Think All By Myself. Anything beyond that was gravy, or whipped cream, or cherries, or (even better!) a beautiful blend of Whipped Gravy Cream with a Cherry on Top! And it sure was a whipped gravy cream kind of day!
This Momcation will not clear out every last little stress or worry, but it gave me some fresh air to breathe before jumping back into the day-to-day. Special thanks goes to Brad for being so supportive and understanding, Quincy for being an awesome little man with Dada all day, as well as to Papa and Chris for your help, and for the friends that encouraged me in pursuing this Momcation!
After making it through my blissful Momcation, here is what I recommend:
- Keep things simple.
- Make a loose plan and don’t necessarily stick to it.
- Leave your child(ren) with someone who won’t stress you out
- Don’t hype up the day beforehand – just know it’ll be good.
- Absolutely no errands. Do what you WANT to do, not what you have to do.
- Get creative if you’re on a tight budget – look for free events in your community, lean on family/friends, try using a Groupon… relaxation and quiet time doesn’t have to cost much.
- Treat yourself, you’ve earned it.
Have you had a chance to take a Momcation/Dadcation/Mecation recently? Or are you now inspired by this post and are investigating how to work one out? Good! Tell us about it in the comments! Guys out there looking for the perfect gift for the mother of your kiddos? Set up a night and day for her to get chill time. And same goes for the dad’s out there! Time to relax and refresh our souls is so vital and will make the days when we come back so much more balanced than if we keep burning ourselves out and not taking a little bit of time to stare at walls and eat cherry whipped gravy cream.
Relaxed and refreshed,