Several psychologists and mental health experts are suggesting that mothers take "mom-cations" as a means of protecting their sanity.
If there was a government lottery that dictated what people are most "deserving" of vacations, I'd say that moms take the top of that list nearly every single time.
I'm not talking about moms who toss a tablet to their kids and tell them to kick rocks for hours at a time, I'm talking about the honest-to-goodness ones that really put effort into raising a human being.
Dealing with the constant whining, the mess, the lost sleep — they all take a toll. Although I'd like to think I'm a pretty involved dad, I know it pales in comparison to the amount of work my wife puts into raising our kids.
And that effort shows. While my children have their own particular brand of awfulness, when I take them on play dates and see some of the monsters other parents churn out, I can see the hard work is paying off.
But that satisfaction alone can't sustain a mom's mental well-being. There are times mara really does need a break. Which is why the "mom-cation" is so important.
So what is a mom-cation? Does that mean going out with the family and getting out of the "same old routine?"
Well any mom will tell you traveling with your whole family is far from restful. She's still going to be the point person for every task she does at home. But a mom-cation entails alone time while the kids stay with another caretaker, parent, relative, or close friend.
Aside from giving mom a break, this helps kids build an appreciation for their mom while she's away, according to psychologists, and ultimately helps strengthen their relationship. The break also allows the other parent or close family member develop their own relationship with the young child. Additionally, kids can get used to not having mom solve all of their problems whenever they need something.
If I think about it myself, I'm guilty of relying on my wife to bail me out or tell me where things are. But when she's not in the house or is busy doing something else, I'm forced to learn where we keep everything in our house instead.
Sure, I didn't have that problem when I was single, but then again I owned like eight things.
According to Healthy Food House, a momcation doesn't have to be a full-blown, I'm-packing-my-bags-and-leaving-for-a-week-don't-call vacation. There are mini momcations mothers can take that'll give them some much-needed "me" time and achieve a similar result to actually going on vacation.
Here are some of their ideas:
Morning mom time: Get someone to look after the kids for a solid four hours and have a morning to yourself. Eat a breakfast or brunch that isn't rushed. Hit the gym, go outside for a walk, maybe catch a matinee of a movie you want to see.
Don't go crazy over chores all the time: Designate certain days for chores and give yourself a break the rest of the week. Do not constantly worry about the state of your home. Instead, have a clean-up rotation and stick to it.
The site also suggests saving little by little for an actual mom-cation. Plan a trip with your friends away from your family for a couple of nights and make sure you have an entire day to yourself at least once a month to do whatever you want. It'll help you feeling like a human being again with an identity that isn't wholly defined by being a mother.
So will you be planning your next momcation? Start coming up with a schedule from now and stick to it!