2 weeks ago, I packed up my bag, kissed my husband and kids, and drove away at 5:00 p.m. after working all week. No, I hadn’t gone crazy….I was on an adventure! My dear friend Jodi had planned our third annual Girls’ Getaway Weekend….this year to Minneapolis!
2 years ago it started out as an idea. She emailed some college friends, Quad City friends, and her coworkers and we descended on Chicago over Labor Day weekend. Last year, Jodi did the same and a group went to Kansas City. Next year, we’ve already got St. Louis in the works.
These “getaway trips” are SO worth it. Of course, as moms, we all feel like, “Should I really be leaving my husband and kids at home alone, without me, for an entire weekend?” The answer…is YES! Not only does it give you a break from the everyday ins and outs of being chauffeur, cook, and laundress, but it gives daddy and his kids some prime bonding time.
Here are a few tips that have helped us to have a great time:
1) Plan ahead, but be flexible. Check local websites and see what events may be happening while you’re there. Peruse travel sites to check reviews on hotels and restaurants. Make reservations for meals or spa treatments if necessary.
We had a general idea of what we planned to do, but it ended up being very cold first thing in the morning, so we scrapped our plans of outdoor shopping at small boutiques for getting in some power shopping at the Mall of America instead. Later in the day when the sun was out and it had warmed a little, we took in some specialty shops in downtown St. Paul. We also made sure to have some down time (and pump breaks for our nursing mama!).
2) Get a quality hotel suite. Now, I’m not necessarily talking 4 stars, but some of the things we look for when we search are multiple beds (and/or pull out couch), sleeping area separate from sitting area, more than one bathroom if possible, a kitchenette or at least a refrigerator, and a hot breakfast included in the cost of the room.
We’ve had success staying at the Residence Inn by Marriott and Embassy Suites. Spacious rooms, a pretty good spread for a hot breakfast, and some great prices made these a natural choice to call home for our getaway weekends.
3) Bring your own snacks and beverages. This year seemed to be the year of wine and cheese! With a few lightly packed coolers, we had a great selection of crackers, dips, fruit, chocolate, cheese, and assorted beverages. It was nice to have something to munch when we arrived, and in between our shopping while we just vegged out and talked.
4) Relax! There was a reason we planned this trip…it was to RELAX! As you drive away from home and you feel the responsibilities being left behind, it was kind of nice to just relax and think, “I am only in charge of me and my credit card this weekend!” And, I only worried about daddy and the kids…a few times!
As much as we were in “Girls’ Getaway” mode, we talked an awfully lot about our husbands and kids. And I’m pretty sure we all got a phone call or video text message letting us know all was well without our presence. Still, the time away made it sweeter to go home, and it also gave our spirits a little rejuvenation to just be ourselves as women, and not as moms and wives constantly trying to meet the needs of those in our home.
We had a delightful time together, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s trip. However, leave it to Girls’ Weekend Getaway to remind me of what it really means to be a mom. I had this romanticized idea of coming home: husband professing how much he’s missed me and how hard it is to be alone with the kids, children running up and clinging to me like they haven’t seen me in weeks and settling in to snuggle and read some stories… Instead, my husband left for work 5 minutes after I arrived home, and 5 minutes after that, water began leaking out of our kitchen ceiling…through a light fixture! Ahhh….home, sweet, home! How I’ve missed this chaos!