When Vacationing Is “Brave”

‘You’re so brave for going on vacation without your kids. I could never do that as a mother.’

Hold up. Stop the train. What a thing to read at 3 am.

That is what we call a backhanded compliment. I get them all the time. But this one, well, it struck a nerve.

See, I did go on vacation. I abandoned my three sweet boys and husband to go to Disney for four blissful days. I pushed pause on my own work, canceled therapy appointments and organized what I could in advance.

And when my friend’s minivan pulled into my driveway at 3 am, I was ready and waiting to escape. I felt no guilt. Instead I felt excited to go be an adult for a period of time, relax, and fill my cup. And maybe most importantly, sleep through the night and recharge my brain and mental capacity.

I went with 15 other women. All moms. All special needs moms. You want to talk about brave? Well, grab a drink and come sit at our table for a bit.

We had plans to volunteer at Give Kids The World for a day, an amazing organization for kids and their families, then do Universal and Epcot on the remaining days. We are wild I tell you.

These moms, you know, the ones who abandoned their children like me, well, they’ve seen some stuff. They know g-tubes, j-tubes, CPR, seizures, syndromes, and some even have their EMT’s on speed dial.

They have chased kids and taken a punch. They have pushed kids in wheelchairs. They do transfers. They carry their babies long after they should. They know poop and surgeries and Children’s hospitals and the ins and outs of insurance.

They advocate. Fight at the capital. Worry about their children dying. About dying themselves. And love their children more than life. So much in fact, that some can count on one hand the number of times they have been away from their teenage children. Because, with special needs parenting comes epic responsibility that not just anyone can handle.

Brave? Damn right they are.

Caregiver burnout is real. So is parenting and mother and wife burnout. It’s okay to admit that. It’s okay to need a second to breathe.

Take the break when you can parents. Go to Target alone. Grab a coffee or a walk or a shower.

You can take minutes, hours or even days away from your kids. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. Or brave. In fact, it will make you a better one.

What is that saying…you can’t pour from an empty cup? No truer words have been said.

Take the time to reset. And do not feel guilty. And here is my tip. Do it with women who inspire you to do better. The brave ones who do the hard stuff with a smile and a whole lot of grace.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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