Normalizing Momcations

Viva Momcation! I saw the perfect hashtag recently- #momsgonemild. Back in the old days when we had endless energy, and far too much confidence, the idea of a chilled out time with the girls was not on the agenda. Dancing, boys, bonfires… the busier the better. Now that life is busy in its own way, I find myself craving simpler moments. So here’s to the new era of moms gone mild! 

When we sign up to become parents, we think we understand sacrifices that will be made. We know we will make tradeoffs as we raise the next generation. Something I didn’t expect was the mourning process I would go through as I let go of my total freedom, and became needed by someone 24/7. It was a loss and I had to grieve. At the same time, I was so excited to become a mom. My journey to motherhood was not typical. I didn’t have a single baby, grown in my womb, and brought into this world to a safe and loving situation. Instead, I followed my lifelong dream of fostering and adopting and was matched with 2 siblings, ages 18 months and 3.5 years who were looking for their forever family. 

Going from 0 to 2 is a huge change. Going from 0 to 2 children who have experienced immense trauma was honestly a traumatic experience for me. I thought I knew what to expect but realistically I had no idea the amount of pain, trauma, and exhaustion we were all in store for as we helped 2 very broken little ones heal. I learned VERY early on in my parenting story about the importance of self-care and of taking breaks. I thought I had to do it all and I burned out quickly. Thankfully, I have an innate stubbornness that carried me on when I just wanted to toss in the towel. “I can’t do this” was something I felt often, but I pushed on. 

Today, I can’t even imagine tossing in the towel. Sure, it’s still hard as hell some days. But my heart was meant for them and theirs for me. We are a family and I could not be more thankful to have them. There were a few ways we were able to make it to this point as a family. One of them is that I started taking regular mini vacations with my friends. These short little get aways gave me a chance to just be me. Not the mom, wife, employee that I usually am. Just Amanda. 

It’s so important that we don’t lose ourselves in our various roles. Overtime, these roles and responsibilities will inevitably shift around. Our role of mom will change and we won’t always be needed 24/7. Our role as employee or even employer is evolving and may not last forever. Hopefully our marriages grow together and not apart, but even so, we need to be whole as an individual. After all, we are an individual person choosing to share pieces of ourselves with others. We have to make sure we don’t lose ourselves by sacrificing so much of us to others. This is why my regularly planned momcations are so important. 

For the last 3 years, my BFF and I have planned regular mini vacations. Usually we stay local and keep it brief since the schedule of busy moms is not an easy one to escape from for too long. Those are so fun and give a good little boost to our lives. We do these a few times each year and it gives us something to look forward to on the really tough days. Our most recent one was to Maui. After a year of high anxiety and stress for us both, we grabbed a few good friends and headed for a longer than usual getaway. Something amazing happened on that momcation. We all came back with greater confidence, renewed energy, and for the first time in years, I remembered what it was like to be me. 

We drove around in the cutest Jeep, stayed at an amazing resort, and enjoyed the many natural beauties the island of Maui offers. We set some ground rules for the trip. No negative self-talk. If you need to be alone, no one will make you feel bad for it. If you don’t want to do an activity, there’s no pressure to participate. This was a trip about doing what you needed and wanted for yourself. Guilt was not invited to join us. It was harder for some to get the hang of these rules, but by the end, we were all in a much better mental headspace. Moms really did go mild on this trip and it. was. perfect. 

Moving forward with every little getaway I take, whether that’s with my friends, my spouse, or myself, I am setting some ground rules and giving myself permission to just be me. Not the person who gives and caters to everyone else, but the person who gets her needs met and fills her bucket. When I came home from that vacation, even though in my personal life I was processing great pain and loss, I came back a more complete version of me. I was able to be there for my children and partner in a way I had not been able to in recent months. 

Don’t wait until you’re burnt out, grab a family member, a friend, or go by yourself. Just take a well-deserved break. There are always excuses we can find to stop ourselves from taking the time we need. I know some of you are parenting all alone. Work on building your support network so that hopefully someday soon, you have someone you trust that is willing to take your kids for a night so you can recharge. You matter so much and deserve to meet your needs too. 

Sending you all a lot of love, good energy, and a reminder to take care of yourself!



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