Being a parent can be hard on friendships and marriages. And let’s be honest, the past few years have been extra hard on friendships and marriages. We’ve gone out less often, traveled even less, and generally stuck close to home. Well, consider this your permission slip to take the trip.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going more than a little stir-crazy. I’ve also gotten just a little too comfortable at home. It’s easier to not have to make plans for childcare, to not have to figure out the logistics of getting out of town. The idea of a weekend away with a couple good friends sounds amazing on a Monday morning, but come Friday night, if it involves a bra and real pants, it ain’t happening.

Everything worth doing is a hard and, in the end, it is so worth it.

After you become a parent, getting away without kids is hard. Do it anyway. 

Planning a date night is challenging and expensive. Go on a date night anyway.

Taking a girls’ weekend can feel like a logistical nightmare. Take the trip anyway.

Planning a vacation with your partner without the kids might seem impossible. Take the vacation anyway.

Related: It’s science: ‘Girls weekends’ boost mental health

Everything worth doing is a hard and, in the end, it is so worth it.

Just in case you need the reminder: you can love your children with all your heart and still need time away from them.

As a mom, it can feel overly indulgent to leave your kids for a few days. You might feel guilty. You shouldn’t. You might wonder if you’re being selfish. You aren’t. You’ll probably wonder if the planning process is more trouble than it’s worth. It isn’t.

Just in case you need the reminder: you can love your children with all your heart and still need time away from them. This is normal, natural, and healthy. Not only can child-free getaways and “momcations” help prevent burnout, but they also help your children bond with other loved ones, like grandparents, and build trust within the family. Being a mom is a 24/7 job. It doesn’t end when you are physically away from your little ones. But a little time away does give you space to breathe. It can rejuvenate you and help fend off burnout. It can gives you the distraction-free time you need to reconnect with partner, your friends, yourself. 

Related: First trip without your baby? 6 tips to make for smooth travels

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in the time that I’ve been a parent, it is that a strong marriage and close friendships became even more essential than they were before becoming a mom. My husband and I need to nurture our relationship so the foundation is there to sustain us when life gets hard. And make no mistake about it, life with kids is gonna be hard. 

We need our friends to see us for who we are outside of Mama, to remind us of who were back then, to tell us “me too” whether we’re venting about or reveling in the ups and downs of motherhood. 

And don’t forget about that oh-so-important but oft-neglected relationship with ourselves. We need to remember what it’s like to enjoy a warm cup of coffee without fielding “mom-mom-mom-mom” questions and demands. We need to let the quiet settle in so we hear our own thoughts for a while. We need to exhale.

Related: How to be a good mom: How to ditch perfectionism & embrace being ‘good enough’

If now isn’t the right time for a child-free getaway, that’s okay too. Eventually it will be the right time. And when it is, seize the opportunity. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t travel with our kids. Believe me, I am a big proponent of traveling with children—and let’s be honest, these are definitely trips and not vacations. But if your circumstances (financial or otherwise) allow it, it doesn’t need to be an either-or proposition.

Time away from your kids—whether it’s a date night, or a mom’s night out, or a weekend away with your partner—isn’t selfish and you shouldn’t feel guilty. You deserve it. You need it. 

That isn’t to say it’ll be easy to pull off. In fact, it’ll a challenge to make it happen. You’ll need to book a sitter or call in favors with friends or family to watch your kids. You’ll make lists. Lots and lots of lists. Lists about bedtimes and food preferences and important phone numbers. You’ll make lists of lists. 

You’ll worry. A lot. You’ll worry about leaving your kids. You’ll worry about whether something will go wrong. You’ll worry if their bedtime routine will be messed up and it’ll take three days to get back on track. 

All of these things will happen. The planning process will be time-consuming, the emotional whirlwind will be wild, and your pocketbook might take a hit (though there are plenty of budget-friendly getaway options). You’ll wonder if it was all worth it.

The answer is yes. It will be worth it. So take the trip. You’ll be glad you did.

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