Momtroversy: Should moms take kid-free vacations?

PHOTO: Beth Barbara and two friends in Disney World.PlayBeth Barbara
WATCH Mommy shaming: Mothers say they are being shamed for their parenting decisions

Do moms deserve a vacation from well . . .being a mom?

It's a popular trend: women leaving the kids behind to take a trip alone, or with girlfriends to focus on friendships and themselves. The destinations they visit are as varied as them women themselves, but they all have one thing in common: no kids allowed.

Rachel Williams Shaw has three kids under 4 years old. She's taken three mom-cations so far. The New York City mom has been to London, the Hudson Valley and the Hamptons, all with friends.

PHOTO: Rachel Williams Shaw snaps a selfie on her first morning in London.Rachel Williams Shaw
Rachel Williams Shaw snaps a selfie on her first morning in London.

"When I came back all three times I felt very rested and very prepared to tackle the daily routine and grind of being a mom of three young boys," she told Good Morning America. "I think time away is very important to remember who you were before becoming a mom. I was a very adventurous, independent person before having my kids and I feel I need that kind of time to remind me that I'm still me, just with three babies."

Beth Barbara of Celebration, Florida, takes two mom-cations each year. One is a cruise and the other is a trip to Walt Disney World where she and girlfriends participate in running races. The race weekend is always with the same two friends: one from Chicago and one from New Jersey.

"We feel that we do so much for our kids, and while I’m divorced [and the other friends] are married, that this is our time," she said. "We love this weekend and being honest we get sad when it’s over. But we know we have the following year!"

PHOTO: Rachel Williams Shaw and a friend toast on an adults-only trip.Rachel Williams Shaw
Rachel Williams Shaw and a friend toast on an adults-only trip.

For both women, contact with the kids is minimal. Facetime, a few photos and that's it.

I think time away is very important to remember who you were before becoming a mom. I was a very adventurous, independent person before having my kids and I feel I need that kind of time to remind me that I'm still me, just with three babies.

Experts think vacations from the kids are beneficial.

"Momcations can be valuable since they encourage mothers to pursue self-care and to nurture their physical, psychological and socio-emotional health," Dr. Nava R. Silton, a psychologist, told "Good Morning America." "Addressing these needs can help mothers be more refreshed, rejuvenated and successful when they return home."

Limor Weinstein, a parent coach and founder of the LV Wellness Network, agreed. "Moms get so stressed about so many different things and going away without the kids can be extremely therapeutic."

Not all moms agree.

Kat Callahan is one of them. She has one infant and, she told "GMA" no plans to have another child.

"I had him in my 40s, with some help from science and as an answer to many prayers," she said. "There’s too much magic every day to miss a moment."

Missing moments is something Shaw can relate to. When she was away on her very first mom-cation, her toddler said his first word. "Thankfully, my husband recorded it, but I definitely was not there to clap and squeal and snuggle him after he said his first ever word," she said.

I hate the thought of exploring something new without sharing it with them. I want them to have as many experiences as possible. Along the same lines, everything in my life is better with them.

Still, she wouldn't change a thing about her trips. Her husband has no problem with it either.

"My husband has always been very supportive and has never balked at me wanting to go away," she said. "In fact, the first year, he was the one who told me to just book it already."

Chasity Walters is another mom who says "no" to mom-cations. She's a parent to a 20-year-old and a 5-week-old. "I hate the thought of exploring something new without sharing it with them. I want them to have as many experiences as possible. Along the same lines, everything in my life is better with them."

Besides the break, another benefit of a mom-cation is for the rest of the family to see just how much mom does day-to-day.

"Her efforts and time may be more appreciated when she returns," Silton said. "Her spouse and children may have a better sense of how much she does and accomplishes on a daily basis. It is critical for children to see that balance modeled for them and to carry that into their own child-rearing in future years. Ultimately, this may help children garner even more respect for their mothers."

Callahan said she's already traveled the world and gotten it our of her system.

"I’ve been there and done that," she said. "Some of them twice or more. Now I want to go and do and show and see through the eyes of my little one, who is such a curious little charmer."

Comments