Take a Trip to the Beach (Without the Kids)
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Are you feeling a little burned out? Maybe it's time to schedule a one day beach getaway for yourself. Unlike a trip to the beach with the kids, a solo beach trip doesn't take much planning. As long as you have a beach within driving distance, you can take a drive, enjoy some sand and surf, and be home in time to pick up the kids from school. Here's how to pull off your great mom escape:
Put yourself first for once. Most moms can come up with a hundred reasons not to take a day off – PTA meetings, piles of laundry rivaling Mt. Everest, miscellaneous errands that have already been put off forever, etc. But believe it or not, the world will not end because you didn't get everything done. Making time for things you enjoy actually makes it easier to cope with your daily workload.
Wait until school starts. Once school is back in session, the kids will be off your hands in the morning, and the beaches will be all but deserted. You can relax on a quiet beach without having to keep an eye on the kids.
Invite a friend (but only if you want company). Your idea of the perfect getaway might involve solitude – and lots of it – but if you'd like company, invite a friend or two. Since your friends are also busy people, give them at least a week's notice to clear their schedules.
Check beaches out online. Some beaches are open only seasonally. Others may be closed due to budget issues. It's not always safe to assume that your favorite beach will be open. Also, many state parks and beaches charge for parking, so be sure to bring small bills just in case.
Pack your beach bag the night before. Mornings are pure chaos for most families. Not only will you save time by packing the night before, you're also much more likely to make it to the beach the next day if you're all ready to go. Be sure to include your swimsuit, a beach towel or blanket, sunglasses, something to read, music, water, snacks, flip flops, and sunblock.
Alternately, keep your getaway essentials in the car. If you love the idea of doing beach getaways more often, preparation is key. Keep essentials like water, non-perishable snacks, and a blanket in your car at all times, and you can go on impromptu day trips as soon as you drop the kids off.
Turn your phone on in case your family really needs to reach you. But let them know that they'll have to solve most of their own problems today, since you'll be too far away to deal with broken pencil cases and missing PE shorts.
And here's one final tip: don't feel guilty. You're not a bad mom because you took a much-needed break. In fact, studies suggest that stressed moms have kids who are more susceptible to asthma, obesity, and mental illness. So get out there and enjoy the warm sand between your toes. You deserve it!