My girlfriends and I were on a weekend Zoom call, catching up, which inevitably meant lamenting about the struggles of balancing family with all of life’s other demands. “Ladies, let’s plan a weekend getaway. No husbands, no kids—just us!” I said.
The answer was a quick, unanimous YES. Everyone’s sanity was at risk and we all needed to get away. With summer just around the corner after a year at home, and vaccinations checked off, a mini getaway was just what the doctor ordered! We daydreamed about drinking wine and laughing late into the night, singing karaoke, and just having the best time. Plus, who doesn’t want a full night’s sleep without worrying about a toddler yanking off the blanket at 6:00 a.m.? And so we got planning a much needed, long-awaited escape for four moms in desperate need of a little R&R and self-care.
A few weeks later, we found ourselves on Zoom again with another mutual friend – Sarah – who had missed the last call. She had just had her first child at the beginning of the year and told us she would be coming to town to spend a month with her parents and get some help with the baby. We filled her in on our ladies getaway weekend with no expectation that she would be able to join us. But to our surprise, Sarah jumped right in on the plan. The only issue was she said she was going to join with her baby.
Cue the awkwardness. How do you tell a brand new, first-time mom that she can’t bring her precious little bundle of joy? I took one for the team and shared with Sarah that from the beginning we had planned this as a kids-free getaway for a little escape from reality. We obviously all love our kids, but we were all leaving them behind for a reason – to give ourselves time to unwind and relax so we could come home the best version of ourselves. I apologized, but emphasized that bringing a baby is counterintuitive to the original plan.
Sarah responded with hurt in her voice, “Wow! and here I was thinking you were all excited to meet the baby…” She was obviously upset and disappointed. We all jumped in, stating the obvious – that we could not wait to meet him and were so thrilled she’d be in town for an extended visit with her newest addition, we just wanted the meet-and-greet to be in the right time and place. I reassured her that this wasn’t anything against her or her little one, emphasizing that we moms just really needed a break and were booking a trip far away for a reason! Part of that R&R we were craving included the absence of crying, whining, and tantrums for just two days. This seemed like a fair want.
This was Sarah’s first child and prior to having her baby she was the adventurer, not one to miss out on a good time. So, it must have come as a shock to her that we were suggesting that she could not join in on the fun because of a baby. But we planned this trip as a kid-free escape, for moms to let loose and have a good time. You can’t do that when caring for your infant! Every mom deserves a break.
I later told Sarah, “Don’t worry. Years from now, you’ll come around and understand why this kid-free trip meant a lot to us.”
About a week later while chatting with Sarah, she shared she had come up with a plan. She wouldn’t spend the nights at the hotel with us (she’d stay in a different hotel), but she would come with her baby to enjoy the daytime festivities. While it was uncomfortable, I rejected this plan and reminded her again that this is a kids-free getaway – unfortunately, no exceptions, as much as we loved her and her little family. The point of a mom-only escape was so that we could focus on ourselves for once and plan our activities as we like. We didn’t want to spend time worrying about whether our plans interfere with the baby’s schedule or needs, because we all know how that goes!
After that conversation, it seemed like she had grown past her initial disappointment and decided that she would leave the baby with her parents and join us for the day. And that’s exactly what she did!
The trip had finally arrived, so the first bunch of ladies drove down to the resort on Friday and Sarah joined us on Saturday morning. We indulged in a relaxing lunch, enjoyed a nice hike, and cooled off with a swim. It was a blast!
On our walk back to our suite, I said, “How would we have had so much fun if we also had a six-month-old to cater to?” Sarah responded, “Well there was a lady there with her baby at the pool …” (it was obvious she still had lingering mom guilt). I responded that the woman was also with her husband and other child, making it obvious that it was a family trip. The mom guilt can really get to you sometimes, which is understandable, but to fill the cup of others, you need to fill your own first! You’ve heard that saying before, right?
After a lovely day together, we ended Saturday evening with a nice dinner, where we spent four whole hours at the restaurant just chatting, laughing and having a great time. Then, we made our way back to our suite for karaoke and games. I imagine if we had a baby with us, we would have had to leave the restaurant earlier, we wouldn’t have been able to sing and laugh as loud as we did with a sleeping baby in the next room, and Sarah would not have been able to fully engage in all of our activities that day.
Sarah ended up spending the night with us and left on Sunday morning. In the end, it was a win-win for all. We all had a great time and left our ladies weekend getaway feeling refreshed and relaxed, ready to embrace our kids again and pick up where we left off.
I never expected to be in the awkward position of having to tell a friend that her baby wasn’t allowed at a gathering. It is a very touchy subject – understandably so! But what I learned from this is that setting boundaries is very important. Instead of feeling guilty by having one person bring a baby contrary to the original plan, reinforcing boundaries allowed all of us to have the fun and restore ourselves, stress-free and baby-free during our weekend getaway.
So, do it. Take the mom trip. And don’t feel bad about giving yourself and your friends what you need to be the absolute best mom you can be!
* Article originally posted in Scary Mommy