Leading Up tp My Trip. . .
Self care. Sometime between the pandemic and where we find ourselves now, the term self care has become ubiquitous. Everyone and their mama is PREACHING about self care, showing themselves in various states of spending, recommending, and promoting lifestyle trends that may (but often do not) address the need to reset and rest from a circumstantial and personal place.
As a pandemic mom I delivered my son Lucas at 33 weeks and 5 days via emergency C-section in April 2020. While many of the maternal instincts that come with having a baby were officially on at that point, other, more nuanced parts of who I was as a mom— were more latent. My trajectory was a bit different. I worked remotely for the majority of the first year of my son’s life. I had a slight break after delivery, however juggling work with my peaceful (thank God) newborn into his early toddlerhood kept a lot of those underlying mommy identity-markers at bay.
For the better part of Spring 2021 I was a virtual working mom, handling most of my core work tasks during Lucas’ naptime. In the latter part of the Spring I worked TWO remote jobs to stack up my savings before going into full-time entrepreneurship. My partner (who I am eternally grateful for) was surprised at how well I was juggling everything. In that season, I always made time for Lucas too, carving out small moments throughout the day where we could bond. For example, I made sure we had 10-15 min morning moments where we did letters, numbers, and had story time. Looking back at that time: yes, I was doing wellI—AND my identity as a worker also superseded my identity as a mom.
While I was living more in my worker (and pre-mom) identity than my mom identity—I still felt I deserved SOMETHING for myself. It was that worker/pre-mom identity that fueled the urge to take some of the funds I was working hard for and to invest in myself. These strong inner pulls (and a random search for flight deals) led me to book my very first Solo Momcation to my 57th country, the Seychelles Islands! Travel has ALWAYS been an opportunity for me to recenter. So, at first thought, I believed that this was really no different…but in a few significant ways, it was VERY different! I can admit that even before having a child I never wanted to lose myself in the role of motherhood. However, as a recovered work-aholic turned full-time entrepreneur —the idea, importance, and necessity of self-care in my role as a MOTHER didn’t actually kick in until over a year after giving birth. There are a lot of hidden burdens that undergird motherhood that I probably didn’t realize until it happened to me.
Whether you work from home or focus solely on being at home——staying at home (and even going back to work) STILL doesn’t save us from the following titles that do NOT have an “Off” switch. Being the:
“Keeper of ALL Things;”
“Knower of Where ALL Goes;”
“Resident Maid/Chef/What’s for Dinner Decider at least 75% of the time;” and
“Internal Workings of the House Maintainer”
is EXHAUSTING! Then add to that: trying to raise a kind and loving tiny human that is evolving before your very eyes; the joy of trying to remember stuff; drink water; and being a thoughtful partner to your significant other (because hopefully the love brought you this tiny human right?) I mean, ISSA LOT!! I had a pivotal low moment a few months before booking my Solo Momcation where I had an emotional outburst towards my partner. I liken it to Mary Starr’s almost perfectly captured @Momlife_comics “The Pot of Soup: Attempt at Explaining Spousal Rage” BUT WORSE, way worse. I was so busy trying to be appreciative and grateful WITHOUT voicing what more I actually needed on TOP of all that which led to the anger dragon spewing rage spilling over
. It was not good. It was also STILL pandemic timing and shit, it was bad. After slaying that inner dragon, I realized that the additional decisions, caretaking, and workload WAS impacting me in a way that I needed to remember who I was BEFORE the massive avalanche of life in different ways piled on me. I ALSO needed some quiet time —alone, to process who I was becoming and how I wanted to MOVE FORWARD in my new role. My first Solo Momcation was many more positive things too. It was something I did after my son’s 1st birthday that helped me CELEBRATE the huge milestone of having a healthy, happy 1-year old preemie who was doing all the things he needed to be doing. It was me TREATING MYSELF for investing a LOT of sweat equity for the benefit of my little family. It was ALSO me taking a much needed BREAK from the world of work that was vying for control over who I would be moving forward as a HUMAN fi
rst, and as a mother second. Now Landing in Country 57. . .
With Seychelles being my 57th country, I knew the experience would bring me back to my core in all the ways I needed it to while still teaching me new things I needed as well. Seychelles is one of those luxurious destinations but I had to put my own spin on it by breaking up my stay between a boutique hotel and a resort-type stay. I loved both places for different reasons, but overall my boutique stay was mem
orable and more my style. Given the cost of taxis there, minimal public transport across the island, and my initial boutique stay I rented a car for the first 2 days. First time EVER driving overseas, and I learned only 2
days before that, that Seychellois drive on the OTHER side of the road. While I typically do my research, I was in peak workaholic mode and didn’t follow much of my own protocol beforehand. Driving in Seychelles nearly induced 2 heart-attacks in my poor heart and the ravines on either side of the road, curvy, mountainous single
paved roads, speeding buses and honking drivers. Driving internationally for the first time was a HAZE you hear meeee?! The hill to go UP to the hotel was *also* another HAZE in that very tiny, automatic transmission rental.
One mishap and many palpitations later, and I survived my international driving experience, never wanting to do it again! Although as a new mom, I faced some scary moments leading up to delivery, ironically driving in Seychelles reinvigorated the fact that I can do very scary, new things and survive!
In terms of my review of Seychelles as a destination—I personally don’t think I needed more than 4 days on the islands. While the Indian Ocean IS beautiful—I found Seychelles to be unduly expensive, with mostly mediocre food, and not much to do beyond the beach (and you don’t have to spend as much and go as far to get that type of experience). I definitely found and experienced beauty in Seychelles, and being honest is also important to my readers who value my professional and personal opinion! Country 57 was definitely more about the journey and seeing ME differently above all else, and I came back still fundamentally me, but on a different level.
Take Off Back Home to ME
What hasn’t been stated up until now (and another reason the Solo Momcation was necessary for my soul) is the notion that having kids often means people QUICKLY forget about YOU as an individual entity—especially outside of your kid(s). For the better part of a year questions, concerns, photos, EVERYTHING was directed at/about Lucas. While people questioned my choice to go halfway across the world for just a few days, it was MY choice. All that time, in my zone and element was WORTH IT to remember how traveling helps bring Me back to myself.
When I say that The Voluptuary is about connecting to the world via the 5 senses I MEAN IT! I got to speak my Haitian Creole and got a small flavor of Seychellois Creole with a dope local by the beach. I got to hear the warm waves of the Indian Ocean crash against the rocks in a calm symphony at sunrise. I got to experience the views and vistas of a small island with mountain peaks reaching for the sky. I got to think about myself, my dreams, and my life as somebody’s hot mama! I met a wonderful Black couple from Philadelphia, and was reminded that God and the universe always blesses me with company of the best kind many thousand miles from home.
The beauty of solo travel in general is that your choices lead the way and justification/explanation to anyone else is null in void. The icing on the cake of my Solo Momcation was I didn’t HAVE to worry about ANYONE else or tend to anyone else in the day-to-day BUT me. As a (good) parent, that is NOT a feeling you can ever really have when you’re home, even when your child(ren) are with family. I certainly spoke to my boys often, and I missed them a bit—but the mom who came home was definitely better than the one who left.
I definitely recommend EVERY mother books herself a Solo Momcation to get a respite from the hardest job in the world. To get started planning your Solo Momcation, schedule a personalized travel consultation to get you back to centering YOU on a fully curated trip anywhere in the world.