I arrived back in South Africa last Friday morning after a wonderful week at sea. I spent a week on the MSC Musica without my kids or my husband. If you haven’t experienced a cruise yet, you need to! It’s perfect for families, friends, couples or even a mom-cation. 😉
I know what you are thinking… How could you, Shan?!
Before you start swearing at me, read on…
Psychologists suggest that mothers should take breaks by going on mom-cations.
When I first saw this article, I chuckled. Like really?! Mom-cations is a thing now huh. But then afterward, I thought to myself… I could really do with a Mom-cation. I have been stressed out and needed a break from my daily routine. I needed ME time. The last time that I really had that was when I was in London a year ago, so it was long overdue.
When MSC Cruises invited me for a media cruise to Mozambique, I just couldn’t say no. It came at the right time.
I know that many moms will swear to never do this. I mean – how could you leave your kids? Honestly, I didn’t think that I could do it either, but now that I’ve done it, mom-cations will definitely be a yearly thing for me.
A mom-cation will never be possible if you don’t have a good support tribe or partner.
Mom Guilt is scary – you may feel as if you are being selfish or neglecting your kids, people may even judge you for doing this and that might get you to reconsider, but remember this is about you and your mental health. Moms are allowed breaks too because being a mom is a full-time job.
The day I left for the cruise, I had mixed emotions. My youngest child cried for me while my eldest wanted to come with.
Saying goodbye to your kids is always the hardest. You know that they will be okay without you, but you also know they won’t. (I think that it is more that you hope that they won’t). You want them to need you, to miss you and …) Then the guilt knocks you.
It was a bitter sweet moment for me but as soon as I got on the plane, that feeling slowly went away. I got excited starting to think about what I was going to do on the cruise.
On my list was:
- Read a book
- Make new friends
- Bond with my Mom
On the first day, as soon as we embarked on the ship, I had a nap. Like OMG, I had a nap?! I haven’t had that in years and it felt so good. That night, I partied with my mom and drank alcohol after a very long time – the forbidden fruit due to that fact that I breastfed for almost 6 years. Crazy right? I forgot how 2 glasses can make me tipsy.
On the second day, I started missing my kids and all I did was talk about them to everyone I met. I video called them and felt much better knowing that they are carrying on with their daily routines and having fun bonding with their dad in my absence.
By the end of the cruise, I had done everything I wanted to and more and I was really looking forward to going home.
This cruise helped me prevent a burnout that I would have had if I hadn’t done this within the next 3 months.
Parental burnout is a thing – if you hadn’t known that already and it is completely normal. Don’t feel bad about taking a mini vacation on your own, this also doesn’t mean that there are no family vacations anymore. I guess it is the same as a couple time out – just to re-ignite your passion.
You need to rediscover you – a you that is apart from the title of mom and wife, a you that you used to be. One who can dance the night away and dream her own dreams. A woman who is sexy, smart and sassy. Become the woman that hubby fell in love with, and by doing this you reignite your passion. Coming home refreshed will bring a breath of fresh air into your house.
Your kids will thank you and so will hubby. You will be surprised as to how much they will miss you and how much they take for granted.
A study found that around 12.9% of mothers experience “high burnout”.
Another study says that “parental burnout has a statistically similar effect to job burnout on addictions and sleep problems, a stronger effect on couples’ conflicts and partner estrangement mindset and a specific effect on child-related outcomes (neglect and violence) and escape and suicidal ideation.”
I’m not saying that this will happen to you, but I am saying is that it exists.
I think that sometimes we forget about our mental health and how it can affect the people we love. I came back refreshed, happy and energetic. My kids were fine and learnt new things while I was away – they had many stories to share when I got back home like how my son thinks that the sun is one of the planets. My husband missed me but also finally understood why moms are superheroes in disguise.
Mom-cations are a treat many of us need and they can help make us even better mothers and partners. If you can’t do a week or a weekend away, spend a day on your own. Go to the movies or treat yourself to a treatment at the spa.