It is an unwritten rule amongst my childhood friends that we travel together at least once a year. Of course, our girls’ trips were typically more exotic or a further distance away before having our babies! The good news is we are returning to that as the kids become more independent.
Like many parents, we have multiple kids, jobs outside the home, responsibilities to aging parents, and coaching and volunteering responsibilities. The mental load is heavier than ever, but we manage to prioritize this much-needed and deserved time away.
1. Set a date.
Inevitably, this is the most challenging part of planning a girls’ trip but having done this for 14 years, I have some tips! Set a time frame (within six months, a certain time of year, etc). Everyone has to be willing to give a little. Yes, we don’t want to miss a single game or event, but let’s face it, we can be at most, and it’ll be OK. If everyone offers 2-3 dates, I promise you’ll arrive at a mutual travel date!
2. The school year is the easiest.
For us moms, summer can release us of the routines, but it also means you might need more childcare if you decide to travel then. The school year can provide the structure for the kids during the day. Lean on other parents for rides to activities. I find that other parents are usually elated to help out if it means a friend gets some much-deserved time away, and I, of course, return the favor!
3. Rotate interests.
Some would prefer to sit on a beach or hike a trail, and others might want to sightsee! A spa day is a great idea as well. Not everyone has to do ALL the things planned. With so little free time while raising kids, allow each other space and come together for a great meal later in the day!
4. Sometimes simpler is better.
Last spring, we rented a gorgeous house on the water in Rhode Island. We bundled up and went for walks, watched movies in front of the fireplace, and ate and enjoyed wine at leisure. No alarm clocks were set. Pure bliss!
5. If traveling by plane, book those departure flights early.
Recently, my friend and I took a quick 3-day trip down to Fort Lauderdale, and since we are used to getting up early, we booked a 7 a.m. flight, which was perfect! It allowed us to be on the beach by noon on arrival day.
Don’t wait to take those trips! Prioritizing our trips during motherhood seems to be even more challenging now that my kids are older.
Before, I felt guilty leaving them when they were so little (although they probably don’t even remember). I remember arriving home, not quite ready to dive back into the chaos but ready to kiss those sweet baby cheeks!
My kids think it’s “so cool” that mom travels with her friends and sees concerts regularly. I always arrived home with a new perspective, feeling more self-worth, which I prioritized myself. And it’s OK that they ate pizza the whole time I was gone!