Staying Sane While Single Mom Traveling with Kids

It’s the end of week two of my six week Europe trip, and I started going a little nuts today.  I realized I hadn’t had an adult conversation in days, except for hijacking my daughter’s facetime session with her friend in Melbourne so I could talk her mom, who is a dear friend of mine.  We couldn’t really talk, because both of our daughters were squashed against us, trying to get into the video.  It’s been a little lonely.

Texting, calling, sexting needs to happen when you are traveling as a solo mom for 6 weeks.  Like, seriously.  You will go nuts at times, needing an adult conversation and maybe some male attention.  So, what to do?

Well, if your kids are responsible enough to be left alone, send them off to the market with a few euros in their pocket, a phone that can call/text if needed, and a timeline.  Give them a task (don’t return without milk and cereal, damnit), and a little extra for a treat.  A couple of euros for a pastry works wonders, and then you don’t have to feed them another meal for hours.  Win win!

You need time to yourself.  Even if it means leaving the younger kids with some iPad entertainment for an hour, you need to go take a walk.  Alone.  Get some exercise, meditate, listen to an audiobook.  Just go.  Build it into your daily routine.

School age kids should be doing math practice or journaling at least 3-4 hours per week- iXL and Khan Academy are both idea for summer travel school work.  Enforce that school time- the kids need a routine, and you need time for yourself.

Set up a time to call or facetime a friend.  Build boredom into your itinerary, and use that as an excuse to reach out to your neglected friends and family members (reminder: call mom tomorrow).  When I switched on my phone after landing in London, I was horrified to learn that a friend from my hiking group had passed away from cancer.  I didn’t even know she was sick.

Don’t neglect your friendships.

If you have a romantic partner, now is the time to start using Snapchat as it was intended: as a sexting tool.  Give yourself some alone time, preferably in a room with great lighting.  Put your photography skills to work (hone them, baby), to take some sultry, sexy shots of yourself.  Remove a piece of clothing with each shot, so you have a boudoir strip tease.  Save them in your “My Eyes Only” folder so your kids can’t get at them, and then unveil them when the time is right.  Do this just for yourself if you have no current dalliances.

I used to think the adage “happy mom, happy kids” was bullshit, but now I see the wisdom.  Take time for your own mental health and sanity.  You need it, and the kids need to see you prioritizing yourself.  Travel can be lonely and hard as it is- don’t add emotional isolation to the mix.

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