I recently took a trip by myself to visit friends and family in Melbourne. As a solo parent, I get very little down time so I was pretty excited. I left my 2 year old daughter with her Nanny and Papa for the weekend (with Uncle Stan stepping in for the last few hours). My only request for the weekend was some fine dining and some time to relax.
My hopes came true. I had a lovely weekend and came home super excited to see my girl. (I sat next to her in the back seat on the way home from the airport and just kissed her little hand over and over).
The trip was planned well in advance and without realising it, I found that I’d learnt a few things about having a Mummy Getaway:
1. It feels like you can’t be bothered…but it’s worth it!
Arranging babysitting, organising flights, packing for you, packing for baby, sorting out instructions or logistics…it all adds up, but once it’s all done, and you’re on that flight, you can REALLY have time to relax! If you’re lucky, you’ll even be sitting next to an empty seat. Travelling alone is great, just me and a carry on!
2. It’s okay to miss your child, so smile at those things that remind you of her, and enjoy. I smiled at the lady with a baby on the plane, I smiled when I realised I didn’t have to wrangle a baby on the change table in the plane toilets, I smiled when I didn’t have to ask for a high chair at the café. Ahhhhhhh…
3. Get the “to do” list out of your head. If you’re anything like me, as soon as you have a quiet moment the list of things to do, things to remember and things “I absolutely must not forget” start a war for attention in your mind. I sat on the plane and wrote down the things I needed to do when I got home and put the list away! I must admit I did pull it out a couple of times to add to it, but I didn’t let those crazy runaway thoughts distract me from my “me time”.
4. Do EVERYTHING for a good night’s sleep. I wore ear plugs and comfy pyjamas, practised meditation and carefully closed the block out blinds before going to bed. Tonight it is NOT my responsibility to wake up to noises, so I made sure I wouldn’t. Sleeping in an unfamiliar environment can be tricky, so do everything you can to maximise your chances of a good sleeeeep.
5. Make the most of it! A Mummy Getaway is NOT the time to start a diet or deny yourself enjoyment (unless of course your getaway is to a health retreat, which is a lovely idea too). Eat the food, drink the drink and spend the money, just for those few short days so you can make the most of it. Savour every moment. Soak up the sunset, or ocean breeze, or mountain air.
6. Be kind to yourself. The whole point of a Mummy Getaway is to do something for YOU. Being a mum comes with all the associated worry about your kids and guilt. Is the baby okay? Is the carer/hubby/Nanny and Papa okay? Is everyone happy?? Should I really be doing this?
This getaway is about YOU being happy, acknowledge the thoughts and remember, they will all be fine. It’s all about looking after yourself before you can look after others – fit your own oxygen mask before helping others.
7. Chat, chat, chat! I spent my Mummy Getaway with some childless friends and family and really relished the opportunity to have some adult conversation without being interrupted, or having to suddenly dash off to stop my daughter crawling onto the road/falling down stairs/stabbing herself (where did that fork come from?). I guarantee we didn’t solve the world’s problems, but we definitely talked shit and had some great laughs.
8. Enjoy the silence. Watch the world go by and just be. I usually go straight for my phone in moments of inactivity, waiting for coffee, sitting on the bus or waiting for a friend. This weekend I tried to remember that I don’t always need to be occupied; I put the phone away and just watched the world go by. People do some interesting things!
9. Let others look after you. One of my greatest enjoyments on the weekend was not having to be responsible for anyone but myself. I let go of control. Someone else ordered my dinner, drove me to cafes, gave directions, told me which tram to catch and generally looked after logistics. It was bliss! It can be hard to let go, but I decided I’ve got to trust your friends. I picked them for a reason.
10. Plan the next one! Before the plane even took off on my trip home I was starting to ruminate about my options for my next little Mummy Getaway. It might not be for another six months or so, but just having the idea in mind gives me something to look forward to.