Taking A Girl’s Trip Doesn’t Make You A Bad Mom—It Makes You a Better One

One mom shares how traveling with her best friends (and without her kids) was the key to relaxation and recharging postpartum.
girls' trip

Before becoming a parent, I heard mom friends and coworkers stress about leaving their baby overnight in those early stages, especially for the first time. It’s one of those anxious feelings I simply did not understand prior to having a child myself. I thought it was about logistics—the other parent or caregiver being on kid duty alone for a weekend, or the baby being fussy getting out of a very precise daily routine. 

And yes, logistics aren’t easy to figure out, but the emotional toll with all the postpartum hormones brings on another layer of stress.

My daughter was born a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic, so by the time I was ready to spend a night away from her, the world had shut down. I didn’t have to make decisions around when I would be ready, because it wasn’t even an option. I loved my role as new mom, but, between establishing new routines, lack of sleep and navigating a pandemic with an infant, it was hard to remember rest is productive. And, for me, jet-setting has been what helped me disconnect from everyday life to actually rest.

Travel has always been part of my life—even more so as my husband and I spent our first six years of marriage visiting new destinations any chance we could. We envisioned travel being the norm for our family with kids—both with and without them—continuing our ongoing goal of having any sort of trip on the books to look forward to. We also love going on friend trips, but, at that point in our lives, they had fizzled for several years as kids came into the mix.

When I was nine months pregnant with my daughter, my dear high school friends started a long-overdue annual girls’ weekend on Nantucket. It was a perfect way to catch up and relax. Several of these friends already had two kids of their own, and I watched each of them handle being away from their little ones so well. It wasn’t that they didn’t miss their kids. It was that they fully understood the value of getting away for “me time” as a way of recharging. 

We rebooked that same trip for the following September, when my daughter was nine months old. At that point, I was reaching the end of my nursing journey, and my husband was not only willing, but also excited, to spend a weekend at home with her. He knows better than anyone that travel—even when it’s not far from home—helps me relax. I was ready and looking forward to it, while simultaneously feeling anxious about leaving my baby for a full weekend. 

Once we got settled on Nantucket, we cooked dinner, drank wine and caught up on life. Conversations with old friends are the easiest. When time passes, the topics of our conversations grow and mature with one another. We talk about the kids, then we switch gears to non-kid topics. 

The house we stayed in was right on the ocean, each bedroom with windows and patios looking out on it. The last morning we were there, I sat outside on the patio alone, overlooking the ocean with a book and coffee in hand. 

I could feel the literal weight off my shoulders as the waves rolled in and out.  

I had been carrying stress in my neck and shoulders, increased from carrying a little one, and it had melted away. 

I missed my family, but I knew this weekend had been good for me. I had known deep down that it would be all along. The weight of motherhood can be heavy, especially the first time around, even with a hands-on partner and strong support system. Releasing that with a weekend dose of great company was what I needed to hit reset.

Years later, now with a beautiful baby boy added to our family, I remember this first weekend away often. I still struggle with leaving my kids, and yet I can’t even explain why. Whether it’s one night or a week away, I know they have a blast when their routines are changed up, and they are of course in the very best hands. 

What I mostly remember about that Nantucket weekend was how getting away from home is truly what allows me to relax. Having best friends—or in other cases, it’s been my husband—also helps. I even think I could enjoy a solo trip to a yoga retreat at this point. 

When I return from trips like these, I know I’m better for it. As a mother and partner, I’m calmer, more patient, and able to take in all the special little moments that come with having kids. Of course, the stress of parenting eventually returns, but getting away is one of my tools to manage that.

The moral of the story? Find your people. Book the spa day, weekend trip, dinner out, whatever it is. Let yourself unwind. Talk about your kids the whole time, do the opposite, or a mix of both. You deserve to reset and relax, and at times it’s even better alongside those who love you most.

Hear and learn from other moms riding the wave of motherhood on The Mother Chapter.


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