Doctor’s Orders: Take One Vacation Without Your Family


Last summer, my sisters began planning the first ever vacation with just the three of us sans husbands and kids. It was to be an exciting sister adventure — leaving our worries and cares behind and traveling to the Bahamas in February for what my middle sister coined #SistersCruise2019

We’d never taken a trip together before so this was really a trip of a lifetime.

Two days before we were to leave, I shifted uneasily on the exam table covered in white paper. The doctor smiled at me, then with a knowing sigh, “Why are you here?” I knew the question was directed more to my psychological state rather than my physical, but I couldn’t bring myself to launch into her examination with my usual nerves and worry. I grinned more boldly than I felt and said, “This rash all over my body just came out of nowhere. I have no explanation for it whatsoever.”

“Hmm. Is that so?”

Doctor holds hands with patient

She pressed her lips into a noticeable, doubting straight line then asked, “What’s going on in your life right now? Do you have a big event coming up?”

That did it. Hot tears scorched their way out of my eyeballs and I hid my face in my rash-covered hands. “I’m leaving my family for a week! It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from them and I’ve never traveled for fun without them!”

RX: Take at least one trip without your husband and kids. Refill as needed.

Palm Trees and Cruise Ship
View of palm trees and cruise ship.

Five reasons a girls’ trip without your kids and husband is good for you:

1. You (re)discover yourself:

You were you before you were a wife and a mom. We love those well-earned titles and we wear them like Girl Scout badges of honor, but the thrill of rediscovering yourself again (not you as a teenager or when you were twenty-something, but the more mature, seasoned you) is life-changing! Spending time with your core, reignites and recharges the woman you were before you earned your badges. The time away from home and work responsibilities reminds you of the things that excite you.

2. There’s nothing wrong with a girls’ vacay:

Why is it socially acceptable for dads to have a guys’ weekend — golfing, fishing, hunting — but everyone flips when moms pack their bags? Why do mothers receive push back for leaving the nest and traveling for fun while men don’t? And if you happen to travel frequently for work and need a great read on Traveling Mom Guilt, check out Danielle’s article.


#SistersCruise2019 – Leslie, Eleanor (center), Jennifer

3. Remembering why you appreciate each other:

Absence makes your loved ones appreciate the invisible workload you carry. OhMyGoodness, fairies don’t place new towels in the bathroom, return cups to the dishwasher or find lost items? Moms do a lot that goes unnoticed until they’re sick or traveling. And sometimes going away helps you remember how much you appreciate the little things your family does that make you happy. Traveling breaks the routine so you can see things in a different light (preferably light filtered through palm trees, sunglasses and a little MaiTai umbrella). It helps you see what’s important and what to let go.

4. Time is valuable and insignificant arguments are not:

When you have the opportunity to call or text, you value the time you have. I cruised with my sisters and the ship’s wifi was spotty at best and most of the time I didn’t have service. When I was able to get a call or text out, I didn’t waste it on silly or insignificant things like I might if I were at home or across town. I valued the time I could connect with my husband and teenagers. I missed them. My husband’s voice. My daughter’s giggle. The way my son said, “Mom I’m starving. When are you coming home?”

5. Bonding — it’s all about the bonding:

When you are traveling with your friends or sisters, you have a rare opportunity to connect with them. You share hopes and fears and talk about things that you never have time for when everyone is at home and busy with responsibilities. It gives you clarity and perspective and a fresh view of your circumstances. And for the family you leave back home, it gives them the chance to bond in a way they couldn’t do if you were at home. Changing your geography often changes the family dynamic and it is a healthy way for them to grow closer and rely on each other.

Bahama view.

I made the trip…and no more hives!

My doctor gave me a prescription for the hives which cleared up before my airplane taxied to the runway. She said that the trip would be good for me — and for my family — especially since I’d never traveled without them. My worry over leaving them faded to the recesses of my brain when I hugged my sisters at the terminal and realized that I was far enough away that I couldn’t do anything to help my kids or husband with their daily activities anyway. I decided that to reconnect with my sisters, was as important as disconnecting from home, for just a little while.

Welcome Home
My family welcoming me home.

Pack your bags ladies. Doctor’s orders.