I’m recently back from my annual girlfriends only travel weekend. We hit up Orlando and did it RIGHT with visits to both Disney World and Universal Studios (if you are only going to one- you are missing half the fun!).
I’ve been doing this every year since 2011 and it’s become one of my most anticipated travel opportunities of the year.
I firmly believe that moms should travel with girlfriends. Here are five reasons why.
5 Reasons Moms Should Travel With Girlfriends
This is a trip that’s not all work related or dictated; it’s not all #fortheblog; it’s not driven by an agenda or schedule. It’s for reconnecting with my friends and having some laughs. And it’s happening every dang year for as long as I can make it a go!
Yep- this momma leaves her kiddos and looks forward to it.
It’s required to reset the Mom button in my life. I get a few days where I temporarily put Mommin’ on hold and concentrate on Patty, the friend and woman who likes to get a little silly, play dress up, stay up way too late because no one will need me at 6 am, run around a favorite theme park, and giggle through the night with her besties.
Hell, forget the giggles; we full on laugh so hard someone had to cross their legs so they wouldn’t wet themselves!
Ladies, if you aren’t getting away with your girlfriends, here are a few no-guilt reasons why you should. And if you can’t get away, at least consider planning a moms night out!
1. Moms Need Friends
I read a blog post the other day that was getting a bit of traction on Facebook. It was from the perspective of a woman who lost her friends when she started having children. It was beautifully written and made some good points.
Her view centered around the fact that when you become a mom, your focus shifts and your whole world are the little people around you. You don’t have the time (or frankly the energy) to devote to the friendships you once cherished.
I get it. But at the same time, I thought, wait— what? This was not my experience at all.
In fact, if anything, motherhood threw open the friendship gates for me and I’ve found most of my current list of besties through the bond of motherhood.
Maybe I should rename this space BlessTheInternet.com because I feel like I say that every. dang. day. But seriously: bless the internet for making connections easier for the new moms out there.
Since I found most of my friends online, they generally don’t live in the same neighborhood or even the same town. Travel is the way we continue to foster those relationships.
A virtual hug is good, but when one of your besties is going through a divorce, a big move or, dammit, cancer— it’s just not enough. We need to see each other in real life, make sure they truly are “okay”, and give that girl a hug in person.
2. Plans, Schmans
One of my friends, Dolly, made a fabulous point on this trip.
When we travel with our family, as the mom, we are worried about every plan, event detail, every meal, every ride, every everything! Moms are the ones generally driving the vacation ship and we are always on deck.
But when you are traveling with a group of adult women, you are just happy to be together.
Look, the reason this works is because no one has to Mom a group of adult women. We are all adult enough to say, “Nah, I don’t want to do that but y’all go ahead” and that’s cool. Do you, Mom friends!
The only plan is to have fun; the specific plan can change as needed because we’re all adults here. No one’s going to have a meltdown on my watch!
Plans, schmans y’all.
3. Leaving the Kids is Good For Them
It’s probably obvious that Mom will benefit from a little time away, but how does it affect the kids?
This may come as a surprise, but it really doesn’t crush their world if you are gone for a few days. Swearsies.
Oh, it might feel like that as you are packing and their sad little eyes look at you asking if they can go too. And they might be tearful when it comes to saying goodbye. And you might start getting texts and calls the moment you walk out the door.
But really- they are going to be fiiiinnneee, Moms. Do you know why?
Because, since you are The Mom, you know who to leave them with.
You would never just up and go, leaving your family in a lurch, amirite? Of course not.
What you will do is make sure your family is well cared for in your absence. Dad, other Mom, Grands, Aunties, neighbors— you’ve got a village at home ready to help so you can stay connected to your girlfriend tribe.
Even if your child has special needs or concerns, I hope you know people who can act as back-up in your absence. I recognize that’s a much harder step to take, but mom, see point number 4.
Trust that Dad can handle this. Because he can. They are his kiddos too!
Trust that you are not alone in this parenting world; you have people that have your back.
Trust that your kids will still love you, even if you are at Disney World without them.
Trust that you know your family well enough to know when it’s ok to leave and when it’s not.
4. Be Selfish
Um, yeah, it’s selfish to take funds away from the family pot to make a girls trip happen.
It’s selfish to take time away and to travel without your family.
It’s selfish to ask others to help with your kids while you are galavanting around a beach, the slopes, a cabin, or a theme park.
But I’m here to say: be selfish.
Remember the last time you were on a plane and the flight attendant stopped by with the instruction to secure your safety mask before helping your child next to you?
Travel with my girlfriends is that safety mask.
I have to put mine on first before I can help the others around me. I come back from these trips refreshed, relaxed, and reinvigorated. A little mom tuneup never hurt anyone!
If that’s being selfish, then so be it.
5. Tips For No-Guilt Travel
Ahhh, the G word. I think when you pee on that pregnancy test for the first time, you genetically switch on the guilt gene that comes with being a mom.
How to leave without packing Guilt along with you?
Try to prepare as much as you can before you walk out the door.
I like to make a list of dinners and have the shopping done in advance whenever I’m going out of town for a long period of time. I’d love to claim that I premake meals and have them ready to heat and eat, but hey, that would be a big fat lie. I can’t even manage that level of coordination when I am home.
Leave a little note for the kids to discover when you are gone or plan to text or FaceTime every day. If the kids know you are still watching- always watching Wazowski- then they won’t feel like you abandoned them.
But if the goodbye was particularly tearful, then I would skip the FaceTime experience. Stick to checking in with Dad or Grandma so you don’t leave them with a puddle of a toddler who can’t understand why mommy isn’t coming home tonight.
Above all else: make like Elsa and let it goooooo… the control factor, that is.
Whoever you leave in charge is not YOU, so it’s not fair to expect them to do things exactly as you would.
Sure, you planned out a specific meal for every day of the week and come home to discover that plan was changed drastically. But the kids were fed while you were away, right? Then that’s all that really matters.
If traveling with your girlfriends isn’t on your to-do list, get it there! It doesn’t have to be a long trip, it doesn’t have to be a far trip, but getting away for a little bit could be the Mommin’ reset you need.
Your “Be-Frie” is probably hoping her “St-Nd” can hang out for a bit. So ask her!
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)