5 reasons mom should plan some adults only travel

I love traveling with Olivia and one of my top goals as a parent has been to show her as much of the world as possible. However, I have recently come to realize that traveling solo and traveling adults only can be just as important.

This past weekend I met up with my sisters for a long weekend in Chicago (more on that next week). Hopefully this will be the beginning of an annual tradition because it was just what we all needed.

I had a day along before they arrived and then we had two days of fun, laughter, adult conversation, shopping, good food, and relaxation. So here are just five reasons why I know I will do it again and why I think all the overworked, overstressed moms should do the same.Chicago O'Hare airport

1. You will be reminded of why you love travel and what you hope to share with your little one. I love traveling as a family, but I will be the first to admit that traveling with kids can be stressful and no matter what it is different. Going solo reminded me of why I love the airport – the people watching, the excitement and expectation of seeing new things, and the sense of possibility that hangs in the air. Once my feet the ground in Chicago it was about being out of your comfort zone and soaking in as much as possible.

2. It is a reminder of who you are. Yes, I am a mother and a wife, but I am also a dozen other things that I was long before I took on either of those roles. Getting away from the daily grind can give you the space to remember things you love to do and things you want to bring back into your everyday life. I was reminded how much I love running when I don’t have a constant thought in the back of my mind that she might wake up before I am finished. Or that I have been a sister longer than a wife or mother and that we can rely on each other for advice, honesty, and laughter.

map3. You get a glimpse of the outside world. As a mother, especially a mother of a young child, your attention is always focused on them when they are around. You can try to fight it and give partial attention to what is around you, but there is always this mental force that draws you back to them. Are they safe? Are they having fun? Are they getting what they need? Without that, you can let that mental field down and relax your mind. You can take a look around in a way you haven’t done in a while.

4. Sleep. I’m not going to lie, the opportunity to sleep and rest your mind and body is beyond compare.

5. You will miss them and be reminded of how much you love your life for all of its craziness. When we are in the thick of everyday life we often can’t grab even a second of peace. We can’t wait to get away and leave it all behind. However, you will miss their little smiles, their stories, and their hugs before too long.

Mother's love

Medical charades: Sickness on the road

It turns warm outside and of course I get sick. It seems like illness always strikes at an inopportune time although let’s admit it . . . there is NEVER a good time to be sick. All the tissues and blankets got me thinking about all of the times I’ve faced illness while traveling and how I’ve never let it keep me from enjoying (or at least seeing) a destination. Being sick while traveling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be the end of a good time and sometimes it adds a little memorable moment to a vacation that you can joke about. Of course, you should wait until enough time has passed for all involved parties!

The first time I faced something more serious than a gurgly tummy while far from home was a trip to Spain during college. On our way there I started feeling a little congest, but shrugged it off as altitude issues. By the time we landed I couldn’t hear out of my right ear and thought maybe something a little stronger than chewing gum was needed. So after a fun game of charades the lovely pharmacist was able to give me an over the counter remedy. I still have no idea what I took, but whatever it was it worked.
Looking back I probably should have taken note of what I was taking. But here are a few tips and things I have done correctly as we have faced flu, full body poison ivy, diaper rash, and a slew of other ailments while on the road. So if you ever find yourself feeling under the weather and facing language barriers and more here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Ask at the hotel concierge. Most front desk staff are fluent enough in English, your broken attempt at their language, or the fall back game of charades to point you to a good source for help.
2. Go to a reputable pharmacy if you can find one. This is especially important in a place where you are unfamiliar with the language. Symbols for medical professionals are pretty universal.

Italian pharmacy sign

Italian pharmacy sign

Chinese pharmacy sign

Chinese pharmacy sign

(They look VERY similar!)

3. Make sure you understand the dosage. I had the pharmacists write down exact times I should take my medicine so there was no confusion.

4. Make your traveling companions aware of what you are taking and where to find the medicine in case you have an adverse reaction. If something happens medical personnel need to be able to look at the medicine you are taking.

5. Travel with a mini kit of basics – pain reliever, antibiotic, rash cream, antibacterial – for minor issues.

6. Keep your doctor’s number with you. If you think it is something you need medicine for you can start with a call to your doctor for some advice on what you can take and what to look for. I have done this on domestic trips with great success, but a little less success on international excursions.
Most ailments you face at home or on the road are minor and soon pass so don’t let a little sniffle keep you from enjoying what could be your only visit to someplace.

 

Remember to breath

This past week I officially added another role to my playbill – MBA student. Education has always been a passion for me and getting an advanced degree is a major life goal. So I finally jumped in the deep end and applied to a part time program.

I never expected to get accepted on a Wednesday, register on Friday, and head to orientation on Saturday. Two weeks removed from that emotional blitz and attending my first face to face class brought many doubts about handling it all and more than a few nervous butterflies.

Yet here I am still ready to take it on while still being a great mom, a good friend and wife, a productive employee, and a sane woman. So I’ve asked around to others who’ve made it happen and brought the curtain down to a standing ovation.

We are all hard at work :)

We are all hard at work 🙂

Here is what my research sample had to say:

1. Reset expectations or better yet enter into it with only the expectation of enjoyment. As they told me you will miss assignments, not get straight As, have dishes piled in the sink, and occasionally wear dirty clothes, but you will be showing up smiling and that is all that matters.

2. Turn over control. Just a few years ago my husband was toiling away over the books to get his MBA and I held down the fort. I did almost everything and did my best to keep things running. It is okay to turn over the controls and switch roles. It might even be good for our relationship as long as I remember it might not get done “my way”, but it will get done.

3. Take time for me. Sleep, pamper myself, and take mental time. This is the only way to stay sane and if I am completely burnt out by the end of the program it won’t do me any good to have my MBA.

4. Enjoy the time you have. Time with friends and family will be hard to come by so when those moments sneak in be sure you are fully present. Do something special, listen, and laugh.

5. Breath. Always important to remember 🙂

So taking those tips I am ready to face this journey and keep moving like I love to do. I know many of you mommas out there are working on degrees or other activities on top of your job and motherhood so I hope you can keep all of these ideas in mind and if you have any tidbits of your own please share them. If we support each other we can all make it through sane and better for the experience.