By Marguerite Cleveland
The Department of Defense released the results of a survey in February of this year and one of the findings is that military spouses experience high levels of stress. “I’m surprised at the results,” said no military spouse ever. We all know we experience these levels of stress and so often that seems normal. A trend in travel the past few years has been for girls trips where you gather up your besties and getaway for the weekend or longer. The idea is appealing and having taken advantage of a trip or two, myself I can honestly say it goes a long way towards self-care and relieving military spouse stress.
Don’t get me wrong, I love our family vacations but for most military spouses it goes something like this. You do all the planning, arrange for pet care, do all the laundry and pack or supervise the packing for everyone on the trip. By the time you get going on the trip, you are exhausted. Then you have to make sure everyone is dressed for the day with sunscreen (a whole other nightmare) applied. Instead of lying out by the pool or beach you are constantly alert making sure no one drowns. My family trips are always fun but I arrive home exhausted instead of refreshed.
A girl’s trip on the other hand is all about me with dinner with adults, spa experiences, sleeping by the pool in the warm sun, reading a good book and enjoying time with friends. So do you say, yay or nay on a trip. A few things to consider, remember your spouse works hard and when he is out to sea, deployed or in the field it is also work and not fun. Factor in your budget; I could never justify spending money on a girl’s trip if it took something away from my family. So here are a few thoughts and ideas.
- Gifts – I have pretty generous family members and when they give me cash or gift cards for the holidays or my birthday I put these aside for a “me” trip.
- The Kids – Consider your children’s ages and your spouse’s (other family member or babysitter) ability to care for them. Babies and toddlers can be a challenge so your girls’ trip may just be a few hours away. Go see a movie or get a pedicure with your friends. Even a few hours away can be a nice break.
- Staycation – Spend a day or a weekend locally and do all the not family friendly activities you can find. Eat at restaurants that don’t have children’s menus. No pizza, burgers, hot dogs or mac and cheese allowed.
- Further afield – Score an offseason deal at a high end resort and enjoy the luxury by sleeping in, ordering room service. Take advantage of all the amenities that you normally don’t have time for when caring for your crew.
- I tend to like to stay within driving distance and phone call range. I have a few friends that take a cruise every other year as their budgets allow. Big trips can be fun but again look at your family budget before you go big.
What are your thoughts on taking a Mom vacation?
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com