Parents make a lot of sacrifices for their children, and that includes giving up alone time. When moms do get time to themselves, however, it’s precious. It’s also imperative. Dr. Christina Hibbert calls time alone for moms “a basic need” in her book “This is How We Grow.” Time alone is also at the top of many Mother’s Day wish lists.
Here are some favorite solo mom trips to make the most of that invaluable alone time.
For peace and quiet or to block out the world, go for a float
Motherhood is a lot of things, but quiet isn’t one of them. Combat the sensory overload that can come with little ones and immerse yourself in silence by taking some time to go for a float. Sensory deprivation is the goal. Epsom salts make it ridiculously easy to float and impossible to drown should you fall asleep. The space is dark and silent. It’s amazing how blocking out everything else allows you to truly relax and also get in touch with yourself again.
I admit to being a bit afraid to be alone with my thoughts but it was surprisingly relaxing. There are several float options in the Chicago area, including AnnicA Float in Naperville and Float Sixty in Chicago. (Read about fellow blogger Taylor Wood’s experience here.)
Remember what it’s like to shower uninterrupted and head to the Kohler Waters Spa
Any spa day is good but if you’re looking to make the most of your alone time, I have three words for you – Circle of Tranquility. It’s at the Kohler Waters Spa in the Burr Ridge Village Center and features a 25-foot whirlpool with a waterfall, steam room, sauna and not one but three distinct shower experiences. You know what a luxurious shower experience does not include? Anyone banging on the door, yelling “Mom!” and asking for a snack or crying. It’s all about tranquility and time to yourself. What mom doesn’t need that? To make a day of it, hit the Hampton Social where you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the East Coast. Take advantage of the Relax and Rose package offered by the two for the month of May.
Feel most like yourself when outside? Try forest bathing or yoga at the Morton Arboretum
You may not be able to escape to Japan to take part in shinrin-yoku, also known as “forest bathing,” which is hugely popular there, but you can create your own version at the Morton Arboretum. Forest bathing combines mindfulness with time in nature, and has been shown to have several health benefits, including reduced stress as well as lower blood pressure and glucose levels. You keep your clothes on, focus on your breathing and soak in all that the woods offer through the senses of sounds, smells, sights and touch.
If practicing yoga helps you feel zen, check out the adult traditional yoga classes or the aerial yoga (which includes hanging in hammocks suspended from trees) offered at the Arboretum. It’s a whole lot easier to tune into nature and your body’s place in it when you’re by yourself and don’t have anyone asking you to hold a toy or a twig. By unplugging from, well, everything, and plugging into the great outdoors, you’ll likely find your own battery recharged, too.
Think sand and solitude pair well together? Head to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
There’s a certain liberation that comes with crossing into another state. Thankfully, that’s pretty easy to do in a short amount of time from Chicago. Leave your worries in Illinois and head to one of the beaches along the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Alone time at the beach can do wonders for the soul, and there are 15 miles of shoreline to be found here. Bruce Rowe, the Supervisory Park Ranger/Public Information Officer at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, suggests Central Avenue Beach as one of the quieter options.
Craving inspiration? Visit local art museums
We have treasure troves of amazing art in the heart of our city. They are perfect places for quiet contemplation, and when visiting solo you can go at your own pace and let your imagination wander. Time spent admiring the masterpieces in the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen or the Museum of Contemporary Art is never wasted and may be just what you need to get your creative juices flowing.