5 Crucial Ingredients for a Working Mom’s Vacation



Fanny, born the day I arrived, with her Mama, Gordy. See them smiling? Who can be depressed around animals like this?

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1) Go somewhere where there is spotty Internet & your mobile doesn’t work. 

2) Where ‘work clothes’ means a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. No makeup!

3) Be with a lot of animals who don’t want anything from you except grain, hay & their poop picked up.

4) Do a lot of playful, creative right brain activities.

5) Hang out with people who love you and have a healthy respect for the benefits of laughter, good food & wine.

About three weeks ago I hit a wall. Why I have to hit the same wall over and over again, I don’t know. This particular wall has a sign on it that says, “If you don’t stop long enough to re-charge you are going to DIE!”

Leaving my son at college for the first time, my father-in-law passing away, taking care of my sixteen year old daughter’s needs (anyone with a sixteen year old daughter knows exactly how demanding that can be! God bless them, every one!) plus over-doing it at work, feeling guilty about not writing enough, totally neglecting my book draft, watching too much television, the days getting shorter, the nights getting longer… I was a depressive episode waiting to happen.

Which is why it was such a good idea to leave town…

We love our families, we adore our children, our husband can be our best friend, and we can love our work. We still need, desperately need, time away when it can be just about us! Isn’t it sad that those times are so rare?

The only way it happened for me was to plan it six months in advance. Honestly, that’s what it took. It was far enough away to set aside the pennies to pay for air fare and prepare my family (especially my husband) for doing without me. One day in April I was teleconferencing with my two sisters and we figured out it had been ten years since our last sister retreat. Ten years! What the heck!? That’s when we made our plans.

After that, no matter how stressful life got, a little voice in a corner of my mind whispered, “The first week of October you will be away!”

We met up at my older sister’s farm, Alpacas of Wildcat Hollow, in Eastern Kansas. Contrary to popular belief, Kansas has some beautiful country and the Flint Hills are most beautiful. It was sunny (light therapy!), warm and there were animals: four dogs, two cats (maybe more) and about thirty-five alpacas! I arrived feeling flat as a pancake and left with the twinkle back in my eye!

Sure, it’s not just working moms who need vacations. Any working person, any mom, deserves a few days to themselves where no one needs anything from you, where you can just BE and absorb strength from the sun or the love of those around you. By re-charging my batteries I regained my balance and can give back again, so crucial in my work.

I know it’s considered a luxury (I put it off for ten years!) but I highly recommend finding a way to get a nice chunk of time for yourself, even if it’s a year from now. Your family, your clients, your co-workers and more importantly, YOU, will be truly grateful.

4 comments


  • Estee

    Great article. I like that you note that the planning and anticipation can be beneficial, not just the trip itself. Also the idea of planning way in advance makes it seem doable for just about anyone.

    2011/10/17
    • You are not kidding! Anticipation is seriously underrated in this immediate gratification “gimmee!” world. That’s why I wouldn’t leave until my sisters and I planned our next get together. It may be two years away but that’s OK. I will enjoy looking forward to it!

      2011/10/23
  • Gerred

    OMG you are so right about shutting off our digital connections and getting away. I think I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing (almost Clintonesque) but some times you just need to shut down and be with loved ones with good food and spirits. Time to contact my brother! My turn to plan seeing as 10 years ago he planned the canoe trip : )

    2011/10/26
    • Thanks for your comment, Gerred. I hope you are able to have that get away time with your brother soon!

      2011/10/28

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