I’m a busy mom of four children, one of whom is disabled and cries a lot and still poops her pants at age five. I’m trying to run businesses and write books. I love my family, but sometimes I’m tired. My brain and my ears need a break once in a while. I think I’m entitled to a girls-only weekend every so often. Nothing super-expensive like Hawaii and nothing crazy like Vegas. I want to go somewhere and relax with my friends and not have to run upstairs eighty times after I’ve put the kids down for: water, fruit snacks, new sheets because someone peed, to change a night light battery, more water, a new diaper because now someone pooped, sex (that’s for my husband).
A few months ago a girlfriend and I were discussing possible locations for a fun trip within a reasonable driving distance. We are big foodies and we decided Walla Walla, Washington met all of our criteria: Only a few hours away (in case a husband cracked under the pressure of running our homes without us) inexpensive accommodations (so we could spend money on food and wine) and good wine (no explanation needed). My husband is very accommodating and usually has no problem with me going out with my friends. A girls-only trip is a little different though. Husbands might be hurt that they’re not invited. Their logical brains might not be as sympathetic to our deep-rooted desire to escape reality every so often.
So, I came up with a list of 6 simple things moms can do to ensure we can get away for a girls-only vacation:
1. Go to the pharmacy and ask for a printout of the full retail price for the top selling anti-depressants. No contractual adjustment is necessary. When your husband begins to question whether or not you can afford to go on a vacation simply show him the cost savings of a vacation over anti-depressants. The numbers will do the talking.
2. Make sure you buy lots and lots of crap food and stuff your refrigerator to the gills with it. You’ll need corn dogs, hot pockets, pop tarts, frozen pizzas-and don’t forget your husband’s favorite beer. Just ignore the looks of the other moms in the grocery line with their organic food while you’re checking out with your crap food. You’re going on a vacation and they’re not. When your husband begins to lament how he might not be able to feed himself or the children if you leave you’ll simply open the refrigerator and immediately quell his concerns.
3. Schedule a poker night for all of the husbands of the wives who are going on the trip. Make sure you hire enough babysitters for all your kids. Maybe even marinate some steaks and pull hotdogs out of the freezer. They can have a big BBQ with the kids and each other before their big game. They’ll have so much fun they won’t even remember you’re gone on vacation.
4. Fly your husband’s mom out for a surprise visit and conveniently schedule her to arrive the day before you leave. Bring her a bottle of wine back from wherever you’re going so she knows you were thinking about her while you were gone. If you choose this option then you can bypass option #2 because Grandma will prepare gourmet meals for your family because that’s what Grandmas are supposed to do.
5. During a quiet evening at home nonchalantly pop in the video of the birth of your last child. Make sure you insert statements like, “Wow, that was painful,” and visibly wince once or twice. When you broach the subject of a weekend getaway, he’ll probably suggest you should add an extra day for each kid you’ve given him.
6. Just have lots of sex with your husband. Do I even need to explain why this strategy works?
I had an amazing time with my girlfriends in Walla, Walla, Washington. We took our time eating at eclectic boutique restaurants. We savored the beauty of each winery we visited and pretended we could tell the difference between a Malbec and a Merlot. We met and had a glass of wine with the guitarist from Van Morrison. A man half our age serenaded us from behind a grand piano at the Marcus Whitman hotel. We went to a Chinese restaurant that advertised karaoke on their dilapidated street sign and one of us had the guts to sing a Carry Underwood song. It was awesome.
We only have one life. It’s okay to be a little selfish and have alone time or girl time. It’s important we take the time to recapture what makes us individuals and cultivate our relationships with our friends. Did I miss my family? Of course. Did I feel refreshed and ready to come back and be the best mom ever? You bet! Am I going back next year? I think you already know the answer to that one.