Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Staycation Retreat for Busy Mamas

Welcome to the July 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Vacation
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their family-travel tips, challenges, and delights. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

There’s so much to juggle as a work at home mom. It’s fulfilling, sure. There is nothing I would rather be doing, but even so it is a lot. Kids, house work, work, work, work, grocery shopping, meal planning…for me homeschool and any other time that I might have for projects or reading. Especially in the early phases of starting up your own business enterprise, it’s almost impossible to imagine finding time to go on a vacation. Not to mention that start ups are hardly filling your pockets with disposable income for travel.

But surely, with all of these things to tend to each day, we work a home moms need a vacation as much as anyone else. For our family this year, travel outside of our state is outside of the realm of possibility. With my partner at a new job, and me in the middle of working one at-home job while trying to transition into being in business for myself, there isn’t going to be time for much more than an overnight camping trip.

That’s why I’m planning my very own WAHM Deluxe Staycation Retreat!!! and of course you can gather some inspiration here and plan your own too.

Not only is it budget friendly, the majority of our activities will be within walking/bussing distance so it’s greener on the transportation side (what’s that statistic about how many times you can drive across the country with the amount of fuel it takes to fly across?) and I’ll achieve the same major benefit of vacationing: a rejuvenating break from our daily routines (didn’t want to say “daily grind” here because I like having a positive spin on things, but you really could say that and be pretty accurate).

The basic plan:

1.       Take 3(ish) days off of work entirely. If you can’t do this, which a few months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to either, you can just pare down to the bare minimum and keep it strictly confined to a couple hours at the beginning or end of the day, leaving the rest of your time for your retreating.
2.       Create an itinerary based on local activities within walking distance and maybe one or two a short journey away. Local parks, hiking trails, playgrounds, and lakes are especially great options for the budget conscious. Keeping it simple=less stress=more relaxation.
3.       Plan your retreat time. For the retreat part of the staycation, I’ll also be doing some DIY “home spa” treatments (hooray for happy feet) and some reflective journaling to get some perspective and inspiration.
4.       Finally, perhaps the most important step, is: adopt a relaxed and carefree attitude for this time period. I’ll admit that’s a lot easier away from home, but being present and relaxed is going to be the key to the experience.

So that’s the basic idea. If you can’t get away physically, get away mentally. Here are a few more ideas for keeping things smooth:

  • Make your itinerary and have nothing else to do. This might seem obvious, but I know how easy it is to always try to just squeeze a few more things in to the day. Do all your grocery shopping and errands ahead of time, just like you would if you were actually going out of town.
  • Make a physical barrier to work. Pack away or cover all work supplies and materials, or close the door to the home office and don’t open it.
  • Keep meals simple. Eat out or, for the extra-budget-conscious, plan some simple meals at home: burgers and baked potatoes, a homemade salad bar that you can keep using for multiple meals, chili in the crock pot, etc.
  • Don’t forget to stock up on good snacks too.
  • Team up with friends for extra fun. Plan an outing or two with friends to change things up.
  • Prepare some quiet activities for the little people during the time that you plan to be journaling or trying to relax in the tub. Of course there will be interruptions, especially if your kids are little, but putting together special activities will make it a special time for them too. Not only that, with all of the day trips you plan, having some quiet time helps avoid melt-downs by maintaining a steady rhythm of activity and rest.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll be enjoying a fabulous three-day staycation retreat this summer: fun with the kiddos, relaxing time for me, and tasty worry-free foods…all at no extra charge!

Don’t forget to follow Lydia’s Handmade Life to see how things go! I’ll be sharing our itinerary, pictures of our staycationing fun, herbal home-spa recipes, quiet kid activities, along with the insights I gather on our homeschooling life since that’s going to be a major theme of my reflective journaling.

Do you have vacation or staycation plans this summer? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! Feel free to link to your posts, as always. 

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Favorite Family Vacation Recipe: Staying at Home — The best family vacation Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence could ever recommend requires minimal packing, no hotels, unrushed travel, easy meals to everyone’s taste without a bill, no schedules, everyone’s favorite interests, and three generations playing together.
  • Scared of toilets and other travel stories — Tat at Mum in search is an expert at flying with kids. She shares some of her tips and travel stories.
  • Staycation Retreat for Busy MamasLydia's Handmade Life gives Budget-friendly, eco-friendly staycation ideas for busy work-at-home moms.
  • How We Leave It All Behind — At Life Breath Present, they don't take traditional vacations — they go on forest adventures. Here are some tips in planning for an adventure, if you don't just go spontaneously, as they have before. Plus, many pictures of their latest adventure!
  • Traveling while pregnant: When to go & how to manage — Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the pros and cons of traveling during the different trimesters of pregnancy, and how to make it as comfortable as possible.
  • Our Week in Rome: Inspiration and Craft Ideas for Parents, Teachers, and Caregivers — If anyone in your family is interested in learning about Ancient Rome, if you enjoy crafts, of if you're a parent looking for a fun staycation idea, check out Erin Yuki's post for a Roman-themed week of crafts, food, and fun at And Now, for Something Completely Different.
  • The Real Deal: A behind the scenes look at our "Western Adventure" — Often Facebook and blog posts make vacations look "picture perfect" to outsiders. If you only looked at the pictures, Susan's recent family vacation was no exception. In this post at Together Walking, she takes readers "behind the scenes" so they can see the normal challenges they faced and how they managed to enjoy their vacation in spite of them.
  • Welcome to the Beach House! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is in love with her family's new "beach house"!
  • Road Trip to Niagara Falls — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about her first trip out of the country with just her and the kids.
  • 5 Essential Things to Take on Vacation — Five things Nurtured Mamas should be packing in their suitcase for their next trip, in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • The Many Benefits of Camping with Friends — Do you want to go camping, but the very thought of it seems daunting? Make your life easier - and your kids happier - and go camping with friends! Dionna at Code Name: Mama discusses how much better camping can be when you join forces with others.
  • My Natural First Aid Kit for Camping, Travel, and Everyday Use — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives us an insiders looks at her natural first aid kit for camping, travel, and everyday use. These natural remedies have saved her hide and those of others many times! You might be surprised what made her list of must-haves!
  • Traveling Solo and Outnumbered — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras shares lessons learned from a recent trip with two toddlers and no co-parent.
  • Compromise and conviction on the road — Jessica of Crunchy-Chewy Mama shares the reality vs. the dream of travel and dishes on the compromises she makes or won't make while traveling.
  • Camping Trauma — Jorje of Momma Jorje offers why she loves camping and why she and her family are a little gun shy about it, too.
  • First in our Books — Writing fresh from her first family vacation, Laura from Pug in the Kitchen has realized that helping pack her parents' station wagon made for a smooth and pleasant trip that was more than she hoped for!


  1. AWESOME ideas! We had an impromptu staycation last weekend, and we had a blast. What made it even better is that I didn't try to schedule anything huge - just small local attractions we'd never done, plus one fun restaurant we wanted to try, and it was a perfect day :)

  2. I love this idea! It sounds blissful. We're work-from-home parents, too, and I hope we can pull it off soon.

  3. Great idea! After taking some time off, I'm returning to WAHM-land and re-learning to balance work and time off. So far I've been pretty spontaneous with what I do when I'm not working, which is how I like it most of the time but making it more intentional will give it that retreat feel.