Summer is here! Well, not technically, but the kids are out of school, it’s hot and steamy, and bugs are everywhere, so that means it is summer in Alabama. It also means vacations to keep us all sane, because: hot, steamy, bugs, no school. Over the past few weeks I’ve been fortunate enough to take two very different trips to the beach. The first trip was with my husband and the kids. The second was with two other moms, our kids (all under the age of four), and two dogs — hashtag 4kids3moms2dogs1beach. While both trips were amazing, the “mom” trip will forever hold a special place in my heart. I know, I know … a girls’ trip without kids sounds so much more intriguing with sleeping in, late night drinking, no whining, etc. But I promise, after reading these compelling reasons you’ll be texting your mom friends and booking a trip ASAP.
1. Safety in Numbers
My boys get along for the most part, but they are still brothers and they fight, a lot. When there are other kids around, that fighting seems to subside by at least 50-75%. It’s like there is a balance in our universe when another child is around. Throw in two kids and they barely know I exist. Not only is there less fighting, but it also cuts down on whining, tears, and overall neediness. I’m still working with a 2- and 3-year old, and I can’t even imagine how much more enjoyable the trips will be when there are no swim diapers and (dare I say it) no naps to cut into fun time.
2. Moms Just “Get It”
Don’t get me wrong, the beach vacation with my husband was so much fun and it was great having man-on-man combat. Some moments during the moms’ trip I longed for him to be there to ease the burden, but those moments were fleeting. Moms just get it, no questions asked. The dishes in the sink need to be washed? No problem, three moms are fighting over who will wash them. You need to go to the bathroom or you drank a little too much the night before? No problem, two other moms will watch your kids. You need a picture? Too late, the other moms already captured 25 different Facebook and Insta-worthy pictures with their phones. Moms have been there, done that, and written a blog about it. They know what you and your kids need, when you need it. It’s refreshing not having to ask for help.
3. Bedtime (and naps, if you’re lucky)
Ahh, lovely bedtime. We all love bedtime, but it’s especially sweet when you know your friends are waiting with an open ear and bottle of rosé. The t.v. was never on during naps or bedtime. We packed games thinking we would actually play them to pass the time. Instead, we just talked. This leads into the fourth reason you need to start planning this trip:
4. Getting to Know Your “Mom” Friends
If you’re like me, you’ve formed new friendships since having kids. The moms with kids in the same age range as your own seem to be the ones you see most often. However, getting to really know those moms can be difficult because, kids. Planning MNOs helps, but taking a trip sends your friendship to a new level. My friends now know my crazy voice, not to mention how bad my dog actually is (that’s a whole other blog post, though). We talked about everything, from our kids to our past lives. We learned so much about each other, flaws and all.
5. Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
I’m pretty laid back and try not to stress about much, but I was anxious leading up to this trip. I’d never driven further than an hour alone with the kids, plus I was going to be solely responsible for them around a large body of water (and did I mention my bad dog?). All of the anxiety was for naught. We drove 4.5 hours without stopping one time. The kids were so excited to be going to a new destination with their friends that the trip almost felt easy. They settled into their new digs quickly, and I tried to just go with the flow while being very conscious of any impending meltdowns. Rain ruined a beach morning but we went bowling, something none of us would have done in Birmingham, thinking our kids are still too young. My friend’s daughter had developed a fear of large dogs, but by the end of the trip she was practically best friends with the two 95lb labs. The kids learned from each other as well, picking up a new skill or word here and there in just a short period of time. We all grew on the trip.
6. Making Memories
It’s cliché, but I made memories that will last a lifetime. Our kids are still young, yet I know my 3 year old will have memories of this trip. Even the 2 year olds are still talking about the beach, their friends, and the dogs. My oldest son cried when we had to leave, and we all promised to do it again at the end of the summer. As moms, we strive to provide our children with experiences that develop into fond memories, ones they will share with their own kids. Will there be tears on the trip? Of course. Will you question your sanity at times? No doubt. You won’t remember the bad parts, though, and neither will they; rather, the smiles and laughs will appear upon reflection.
We like to think our kids bonded on this trip, and I know with certainty the moms did. So what are you waiting for? Text your mom friends now and start planning!