A few months ago, my husband called me from his year-end work conference with the news – he was awarded a trip for two to Costa Rica for his successful sales year. I was thrilled and then, immediately, I began to panic. How would I leave the kids? How COULD I leave the kids? Was I a terrible mom to want to escape to a foreign country for a vacation?
To my utter disbelief, we found trusted childcare to cover the entire trip. It took a village, they all took shifts and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. When I realized that I was really going, I waffled back and forth between excitement and dread. I’m not going to lie, the thought of sitting on a beach without worrying about diaper changes, breaking up sibling squabbles or hearing “Mommmm!!!” 500 times a day sounded ridiculously appealing. But when I thought about hugging my precious children goodbye, traveling 4,000 miles and not returning for nearly a week, my stomach turned in knots.
I told some mom friends about my upcoming travel plans and my anxiousness about leaving, and the reactions were a mixed bag. There were some fantastic ladies who encouraged me and told me of there own kid-free travel. And guess what? Every single one of their kids made it through just fine and those mothers swore that it was a GOOD thing for me to go. Then there were the subtle disapprovers. Not one person ever told me not to go, but they did tell me how they could NEVER leave their kids for that amount of time or distance. Their words planted little seeds of doubt in me that led to a lot of undue stress and anxiety. I don’t think there was any mal-intent behind their comments, but it did make me realize the tremendous impact we can have on one another and how important it is to support and encourage our fellow sisters.
In the end, I went on the trip and had the adventure of a lifetime! As anticipated, the initial departure was a little tough, but this vacation was an incredible experience and left me refreshed and revitalized. (And… the kids did great while we were away!) I came back a better person and, by extension, a better mother because I was reminded of the great big world that exists outside my little bubble.
Now, when I’ve reached my last nerve, I close my eyes and think of that magical sunset over the Pacific – how it happens every day, even when I’m buried in laundry, with kids whining in the distance and with a dirty diaper that needs attention. This memory escape brings me calm. It really is amazing what can happen when you find perspective and you give yourself a few days to relax and recharge!
Go out there this summer and find your memory escape, it could be a quick solo day at the beach, lakeshore or a visit to your local hiking trail, or it can be a planned overnighter. Be sure and tell us where and how you made it happen! We want to know all about it!
-Written By Erin Dalton
-Photos by Grace Alfiero