The Benefits of a “Momcation”
Last month, I had the opportunity to take a work-related trip out of state to one of my very favorite places on earth: Old Town Alexandria.
If you haven't been there, it's a quaint old town (ha), full of cobblestone streets and historic buildings and coffee shops filled with delicious pastries galore. It's where I first discovered the beautiful pleasure that is a hazelnut coffee and a spinach and goat cheese omelet — still two of my favorite things in life.
Anyways, so when this event presented itself, I had two options, since the event was a fairly brief affair: 1. I could book my flight to fly in and out as quickly as possible so I could get back to my precious family or 2. I could take the earliest flight out and the latest flight in, giving me plenty of time to do absolutely nothing.
You can guess, of course, that I struggled mightily with the decision. I can't do that to my husband, I argued with myself. We have four kids! Most wives would never even consider such a thing! You are a horrible, selfish person, Chaunie! Maybe you should take the kids. Hmmm, I wonder how many I could fit on my lap?!
Mom guilt is real, you guys.
In the end, I decided to take option #2 and told myself that I'd take my laptop along with me and get plenty of work done so I wouldn't feel guilty. And I did work my fingers to the bone, writing something like 20 articles while I was there. BUT you know what else I discovered?
That a momcation is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
I'm not even kidding when I tell you all that those two days away from my family were the most relaxed I have felt in the past seven years of parenting. Let's not confuse happy or joy or being content with relaxation, because they are not the same, and of course nothing will make me as happy as my family, but I also didn't realize how much I just wanted to take one, big, long, deep breath.
Which is what those two days felt like — one big, refreshing, deep breath.
I wandered the cobblestone streets of Alexandria, I drank way too much coffee (OK, so that's not that different from home, but still, I didn't have to make the coffee), ate whatever I wanted, completely lounged in my hotel room watching all the Keeping up with the Kardashians I wanted, I exercised, and I even (gasp!) blow dried my hair.
It was a crazy, wild two days, you guys.
I completely admit that I've read about other moms taking momcations — booking trips just for them, going to the spa, hiking around, reading books (we moms are an out-of-control bunch) — and I have always, always thought, Well, how nice for you. Most moms can't do that.
And I get that, I really do.
But — and this, like mine, is a big but — what if we changed our way of thinking?
What if we changed our thoughts that it would be a selfish, expensive, total waste and thought of it as a way to be a better mom?
I mean, who wouldn't want to be a better mom?
What if we took a $100 to get a cheap hotel room for the night and just ordered room service and sat in a bubble bath and just did absolutely nothing but what we wanted for a day or a day and a half and that total and complete refresher it gave us could carry us on through the next year of motherhood?
Wouldn't that be worth it?
I don't know, and I honestly don't know if I would do it completely on my own and without the benefit of it being a “work” trip, but I do know that those two days have carried me for a really long time. That break and pause and long, deep breath are still keeping me going, in a way. On those days when I am feeling grumpy and gross and out of shape, I can remember, Oh yeah, it's not me. Left to my own devices, I can work out and drink coffee and be productive. It's just hard sometimes with all these kids!
Like I said, I know it's hard, and I'm not saying it's right for everyone. But I do know that never again will I ever begrudge a mom who takes herself on a momcation, big or small as that may be, because I really do realize now that it's not always about an indulgence, but an investment in being a better you.
Have you ever taken a “momcation?”