I am currently on my flight to London trying out all of products I bought in an effort to sleep on the plane. I land early in the morning London time and would love to make the most of our first day and get on a schedule. In order for that to be possible, I’ll definitely need some sleep on the plane. Before I dive into testing all of my products, I wanted to write this blog post while it’s on my mind.
I’m leaving on one of my longest trips to date without my kids! I am going with a few friends who you may or may not know (you totally do) to explore London AND watch Giants v Packers game. My family and I have been huge Packers fans for years and when my dear friend asked me to accompany her at the game, how could I pass that up?! I am soo excited to cheer them on!
I was flooded with questions about how I “convinced” my husband to let me go on such a long trip, leaving him to be the primary parent. Craig and I have 5 boys and 4 of them are currently homeschooling. On top of that, I have two businesses I am running full-time. All of that together makes it especially hard to step away.
I thought I would write up my thoughts about taking trips and making trips as a mom and how vital my time away is in making sure I’m filling my own cup, too.
Why I Take time For Myself
I know it’s so prevalent in mom culture to work yourself to the bone and never give yourself a break. It’s extremely hard to plan travel when you know how needed you are by your family. When my kids were really little, I didn’t do a great job of this. It led to me feeling burnt out 24/7, dealing with anxiety, and even being short with my kids and my husband. I honestly didn’t know I could take a break! I was living in a new city without any family and a husband that was gone many hours of the day.
My ability to show up as a happy mom who is overjoyed to serve her family is a direct correlation of the small pockets of time I carve out of each day to take care of myself. These days, I also have work commitments that occasionally require travel, so I had to learn how to prepare my family for my time away.
I get it – it’s easier to just stay home. It’s easier to not ask for help. But what is actually better for you and your family? It’s something I have to reconsider often. If a trip isn’t possible right now, start with a date night or an afternoon to yourself. You are worth it, mama!
How I Prepare My Family For Trips
Check the schedule.
The first thing I do is check our family schedule for anything important that I don’t want to miss. With five kids, someone always has something going on! If I waited until our schedule was free of any practices, games, or commitments, I would never go. Keep that in mind when looking at your own calendar.
Book the trip.
The next step is…..book the trip! Just book it. It’s the easiest (and the hardest) part. I have found that if I try to coordinate around everyone and everything, it just gets too overwhelming. This way, I can reach out to our babysitters or family members with a firm plan for when I need help.
Ask for help.
Gulp. Why is this so hard?! This has taken so much practice for me. I was so afraid of being judged for leaving that it almost prevented me from going at all. I promise, this gets easier the more you do it. For this trip to London, I asked my sweet mother-in-law if she would come stay with Craig and the boys while I was gone. She is simply the best and we booked her flight shortly after. She is so excited to see her grandkids and the boys are over the moon to spend time with her.
Talk to your kids. And then talk to them again!
I start talking to my boys about my trip as soon as I book it. I explain to them where mommy is going, why I’m going, and for how long so there are NO surprises. We talk a lot about expectations and the routine for when I’m gone as well. I know this sounds small, but giving yourself enough time to prepare your kids will be such a game-changer for everyone.
Prepare as much as you can!
In the days leading up to my trip, I make sure that:
- Laundry is done and my kids clothes are laid out for each day. This is a huge help so they can get dressed without help.
- Prepare the guest room. I know after a long day with the kids, I want a place to retreat! I’ll make sure the guest room and bathroom is freshly cleaned and stocked with everything she might need – toiletries, extra toilet paper, fresh towels, a robe, water, and snacks. I’ll link everything in my guest room right here.
- I arrange rides for practices so my mother-in-law doesn’t have to load up all 5 kids in the car. If she wants to watch or just get out of the house, she can do pick up without pressure.
- Grocery delivery has been set with all of her favorite snacks. I always ask our guests what they like to eat and make sure there is plenty of it. I downloaded the Instacart app on my oldest’s phone linked to my account. Now that he’s 14, if something is needed while I’m gone, he can get it delivered for the family with my card.
- If I can, I’ll make dinner ahead of time and freeze it or arrange for it to be delivered. For example, if I’m only gone 1 night, I’ll have them order pizza. In this case, my mother-in-law is an amazing cook and perfectly capable of making dinner for the kids. She is a mom, too!
- Lastly, I write down the schedule in a place where everyone can see it. My MIL is the best and doesn’t necessarily need a schedule down to the minute, but it’s nice to have an outline of what a typical day looks like. I’ll also include snack ideas, carpool pick up times, contact information, and locations of where the boys will be and when.
The most important thing to remember is that you’re just a phone call away! Even in London, I have my phone and I’m accessible if they need me or have questions. It’s so good for your kids to see you have experiences and take time for yourself. Remember, everything is going to be okay! In fact, it will be better than okay, it will be great!
Ready, set, book that trip!