I just had the best solo vacation of my life

I’ve been a mom for 12 years.

In that time, never once have I taken even a one-night vacation on my own – until last week.

I have friends who take girls’ getaways at least once or even a couple of times a year. I watch them longingly, wishing I could do the same – but the time has never felt right for me.

We intentionally practiced attachment parenting with Xage, which meant focusing on time together and a close bond. Detractors of attachment parenting say it makes it hard for women to go back to careers or have a life outside of the kiddo. They’re not wrong.

I have no regrets about our attachment parenting ways, as they certainly formed close and loving bonds between the three of us. However, going back to work and being away from Xage for any length of time was torture! And then, even as Xage got older, our family habit of always staying together just sort of stuck. It felt right for us.

As a result, E and I have never taken a vacation together without Xage; the most we’ve ever spent apart from our kiddo is one night. It’s still a huge dream of mine to take a vacation with my beloved hubby again, just the two of us! Who knows, maybe it will happen this year or next.

Historically, since we don’t have any family nearby, it’s never felt possible for us to leave Xage with relatives. Whenever we go visit our parents, it usually takes the first half to two-thirds of our vacation week for Xage to get to know them again and feel comfortable.

We’ve never felt it would be fair to Xage – or to our parents – to take off and leave them together for more than a night. We still feel that way. So, since a couple’s getaway isn’t really possible right now, I figured I would try for the next best thing: a solo, self-care getaway.

E knew I needed a break. Parenting a child with chronic health issues is challenging, especially during a global health crisis that is impacting everyone’s mental health. Since I dropped my work hours in 2020 to focus on taking care of Xage, I’ve done the bulk of parenting and advocating. It’s been a stressful few years in that regard.

I was more than ready to take off my mom hat and just be myself for a week!

I’ve also been feeling really distant from my parents ever since Covid. We had a wonderful holiday with them at Christmas 2019, but then a ton of time went by with no visits. Although my whole Cali fam did eventually come to see us this past summer, things still didn’t feel as close as they once were. I have been craving quality time with them.

Plus, my parents are getting older so I want to enjoy and spend time with them as much as I can while we’re all still able. The idea of a trip out to California by myself – to focus on my parents, bro, SIL and nieces – felt like a dream.

At first, it seemed impossible; but I talked it through with my closest friend and she reassured me that Xage would be fine; she encouraged me to talk to E. Thankfully, E is amazing and was willing to take on solo parenting duties for a week so I could make the trip. And, even Xage was supportive and encouraged me to go!

We boarded Lamborghini with a professional dog trainer, arranged pet sitters for the rest of our furry family members and then E and Xage headed to Florida to stay with his dad. Finally, it was my turn to hop on a flight to a sunnier clime and spend a week decompressing and relaxing!

My goals for the trip were clear:

  • Bond with and appreciate my parents
  • Spend quality time with my brother, SIL and nieces
  • Let go, detach and untangle a little bit from my beloved litlte fam
  • De-stress, relax and find myself again

I can say it was an unqualified success. I definitely did all of that, and then some. I didn’t expect to spend as much time as I did with my bro and his fam – but I loved every second. I never expected to reconnect and meet up with a dear old friend from middle school whom I hadn’t seen in 30 years or so, but I did one afternoon and we had a blast!

Most of all, I cherished every moment with my little Mommers, who has been my bestie all my life and my A-1 since day one. I loved spending some good quality time with my dad, too, with only minimal head-butting (something we are known for).

I even got to visit Universal Studios Hollywood with my SIL and nieces – an unexpected and utterly delightful bonus during an already amazing and unforgettable trip. It probably deserves its own post, but for now I’ll just say we enjoyed short lines, warm butterbeer and multiple times on the Forbidden Journey ride!

The LA weather was uncharacteristically cloudy, but we had a few sunny days and I got lots of good walks and hikes in with my fam. I spent time outside each morning in my adorable Printfresh PJs stretching, centering myself and greeting the day.

Overall, I loved every day of my trip and wouldn’t change a thing. I would love to make this an annual tradition if E and Xage are willing – although, of course, I want them to be able to see and enjoy my fam and LA, too.

If you’re a mom who has never spent time away from your kiddos, don’t despair. There will come a day when your children are old enough, your husband or other family members are willing to support you, and it will become possible for you to take a trip just to focus on yourself. You are worth the wait!

After 12 years of nonstop togetherness, it definitely took me a few days to figure out how to stop worrying about E and Xage – and to disentangle myself a bit and learn how to focus on just ME for a while. I literally had the thought “but who am I if I’m not their wife and mother!” on the plane flying to Cali.

Once I released my worries about Xage and E, and got my focus wholly onto self-care, it was smooth sailing and I didn’t have a care or worry in the world!

I highly recommend a getaway for every mom out there. This has been a terrible couple of years for moms especially. We’ve had all kinds of stress, work and worry thrown on us – with no relief in sight. Since coming back from my week away, I feel stronger, saner and less stressed. I feel much better able to handle whatever life sends my way.

Plus, I feel closer to my parents and brother and fam – and much more appreciated by my own little family here! Yes, they actually missed me and told me so. That felt great!

Overall, it was a 100% positive experience and I’m so very glad I did it. It was hard to think about leaving Xage and E, but once I did it, I felt like myself again – and so very happy to return home and pick up my wife and mom duties again.

Have you ever taken a getaway from your family, and did you enjoy it as much as I did? I’m already hoping and planning for next year!

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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