Taking a Solo Trip As a Working Mom: Ann’s Experience

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A view of snow-capped mountains from a snowy area next to a cabin at a ski resort

Are you in serious need of a weekend away by yourself — or something longer? (Who isn’t?!) Today Ann tells us all about her recent ski vacation to Colorado. Have you been on a solo trip sans kids, readers?

Check out some of her other travel stories on how to get your kids started with skiing, Copenhagen with kids, tips for family carry-on-only travel, and tips for hiking with kids. — Kat

Contemplating a solo trip sans family? I took one in late March and it was the best decision! I came back refreshed and ready to re-engage.

How It Came About

When my spouse was away for work for about three weeks earlier this year, I was growing increasingly disgruntled with solo parenting. I had lots of help with the day-to-day (huge thanks to my in-laws, my parents, and friends who pitched in), but I started to resent that I was spending nearly all my physical and mental energy catering to and anticipating the needs of others. I felt selfish feeling that way, which just reinforced my gloomy mood.

Southwest must have read my mind — I got a push notification that they were having a spring break fare sale. I saw a cheap flight to Denver with a not so horrible schedule, and after texting with my spouse, who basically said, “That’s a good deal, go for it,” I was on my way. It gave me something to look forward to and immediately lifted my spirits.

{related: have you ever taken a vacation without your kids?}

Where I Went

Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado -- a blue sky, mountains, skiers, and evergreen trees
Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado

I’ve traveled solo countless times for work, and often to new (although not necessarily exciting) places. But since this trip was for fun, I picked somewhere familiar — traveling is inherently stressful, and going somewhere you’ve already visited eliminates one hurdle.

I went with Denver because I had friends there and could indulge in my love of skiing. There are countless places to ski within a few hours of Denver, but I went with Breckenridge since I’d been there several times (and had a ski pass). I wasn’t in the mood to navigate anything unfamiliar (even if it’s just a ski slope) or make any decisions beyond where to have dinner.

If skiing isn’t your thing, a cabin in the woods like the ones from Getaway, a long-weekend cruise, or an all-inclusive wellness or beach resort are splendid options. A staycation could also work. I work with someone who’s the primary parent because her spouse travels most of the week for work, and she has booked a weekend for herself at a nice hotel to recharge.

What About the Kids?

Of course I thought about the kids while I was away, but knew they were in good hands. We’ve organized things so that when one parent travels for a few days, the other can step in. (It boils down to a shared calendar app.) My in-laws also live down the street, so they help as well.

I left on a Friday and returned late on Tuesday so I was gone for a long weekend — just enough time to feel like I got away, but not so long that I felt like I was dumping my responsibilities on everyone else while I swooshed around a picturesque mountain. I also made sure I spent quality time with the kids before I left, and video-called with them each night I was away.

{related: guest post: tips for traveling solo [Corporette]}

What Did I Do All By Myself?

I landed late the first day so I just crashed at an airport hotel. Then, I spent the following morning with some friends in Denver before heading up the mountain.

Although I’m an introvert, I don’t like being completely alone for days. So, I booked a few ski lessons. Do I really need ski lessons? There’s always room for improvement, but the primary reason was it gave me some low stakes company. I would have someone to talk to each day, but without the expectation of maintaining a relationship beyond the weekend.

I met some great people in my classes including two teens (some of their teen energy and fearlessness rubbed off on me!), and had the same phenomenal instructor each day (shoutout to Mark from Michigan!).

A sign at Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado
A sign at Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado

After a day on the slopes, I’d go to a local yoga studio — partly, again for the low stakes company, but also to get comfortable being alone with my thoughts.

Honestly, I didn’t think much about the kids when I was skiing because I needed all of my concentration while flying down a mountain. But when I was sitting in the hotel alone, feelings of guilt would periodically wash over me. It was hard to reconcile feelings of fun and freedom with the guilt of not being with the kids.

During one of my video calls home, my oldest told me in all seriousness that I needed to get home soon because “Things are falling apart — Daddy is making us fold laundry!” If that was the worst thing that happened, I needed to shed the guilt.

Would I Do Anything Differently?

I came back feeling much more present with my kids (at least for a few days). The one thing I would change is to let go of the lingering cloud of guilt that followed me around. Did I miss my kids? Did they miss me? Of course, but they were totally fine. I’m already thinking of where I should go for my next solo adventure!

Readers, have you gotten the chance yet to travel alone since becoming a mom? Where did you go? (Are you planning a solo trip right now?) In an ideal world, how often would you travel without your kids, or with your partner only?

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