Last month, my husband and I dropped off our toddler at his grandparents’ home and flew to Cabo San Lucas to recharge with a four night, all-inclusive, child-free vacation. Four glorious nights without the toddler. Yes, four whole nights without him waking up at 1:30 in the morning wanting to come into our bed. Four nights without him starting off lying on the bed straight, and ending up with his feet next to my mouth. Four mornings without an alarm or waking up to him poking my cheeks, saying “Hi mama, I wanna brush my teeth.”
I spent four days drinking cocktails on the beach
In addition to four nights without the toddler, we had two half days and three full days without him. Days that we spent relaxing with no schedule, drinking cocktails on the beach, and having adult conversations — without keeping our child in check every five seconds. We haven’t had to have him on a toddler leash in a while, but that doesn’t mean he stays still.
It was paradise
And the thing was, even though I was actually in paradise (beach: check; cocktail with an umbrella: check), this child-free vacation (away from responsibility) could have been anywhere and I would have been able to recharge.
Recharge because it matters
No matter how many kids you have, it’s easy to get stuck in a Groundhog Day situation. Seemingly endless days where you’re making lunches, fighting over which color socks for them to wear, worrying about the house, bullies, the world, etc. Just like a car (there are worse things to be compared to), you need to get a tune-up every once in a while (read any of the Wine Country Moms Blog posts on “Self Care” for info on this).
Moms and dads have a tendency to prioritize everyone else ahead of themselves. I have this same issue, and when we first planned the trip to Cabo, my mom-guilt kicked in at the thought of leaving our little guy for five days.
However, getting some space away from the children helps because you aren’t at the beck and call of anyone other than yourself or your spouse. Don’t plan many things because that’s what your life revolves around – the constant planning of life. This is your opportunity to recharge, sit by the pool and read, have too many cocktails at 10 a.m. and then take a nap or enjoy a bubble bath until you prune up. Whatever makes sense for you. It’s your child-free vacation!
Make a child-free vacation work
Since both of my parents still work, we couldn’t have left our son with either of them. Luckily, my husband’s parents are retired and were willing to take him. They live in Southern California, so we drove to LA and flew out of LAX instead of SFO.
This trip to Cabo was only my second time leaving the country as an adult. Most people can’t just take a vacation anytime they want. It costs money, you have to find someone to watch your kids, etc. But there are ways to do it in a much smaller capacity.
There’s a lot to do in Wine Country
Find someone to watch your children for a night and stay at a local hotel (trust me, don’t stay at home because you will spend the time cleaning or finding some other chore to do around the house, and recharging is NOT about doing chores). Take a staycation and enjoy your hometown.
Whether it’s heading to Calistoga to relax in the thermal pools, driving to Healdsburg to go wine tasting, or taking a day trip to Sebastopol to enjoy a couples’ Cedar Bath at Osmosis, there are many opportunities for self-care available here in your hometown.
Remember that you are a human being
Being able to take a step back and recharge allowed me to take a moment to breathe and reminisce about how much I love my chaotic life with my family. Something that is occasionally hard to do on five hours of sleep after the toddler refuses to eat because he has the wrong sippy cup. Being able to miss him made me love him even more. It also allowed me to remember that I am a human, not just a mom. And that is so important for any mom to remember.