This summer my mom and I have a sun soaked mother daughter getaway planned at a swanky hotel on a lovely island just off the coast of South Carolina. No kids, no husbands, no fathers, just me and the wonderful woman who pushed me out of her baby cannon 42 years ago. For three days we will eat tapas, drink coladas, and discuss whether Stila or NARS makes a better lip product. We will swim, laugh, and perhaps give stand up paddle boarding a whirl. The two of us, who have always been close, will enjoy reconnecting far away from the demands of our hectic lives.
I mentioned our trip to my coworkers and they replied with an enthused, “Oh! How nice.” I got a similar reaction from my friends. “That sounds just lovely,” they nodded approvingly. No one batted an eyelash at the thought of a mom and daughter skipping town for a few days. This got me thinking. If I was a son rather than a daughter, would this trip be happening?
Sadly, I feel the answer would be a firm hell no.
You see, I happen to be a boy mom who adores traveling with my sons. The three of us have trekked up volcanoes in Costa Rica, danced the meringue in the Dominican, and searched for the best lobster roll in Cape Cod. Our adventures, although far from perfect, bring us closer together.
I’m proud to say my boys have fought, embarrassed, and given me many a grey hairs on vacation. They have also helped create some of the best memories of my life. My boys are 12 and 14 right now, so traveling with their mom is a perfectly acceptable, common thing to do. I don’t want our adventures to end once they reach adulthood just because they are not girls.
I feel like mom and daughter getaways are completely acceptable and the norm. But mother son getaways- not so much.
Mothers of adult girls are lucky. There are a slew of activities for mom and daughter to partake in that would never sound strange, be questioned, or looked upon like a Greek tragedy. Mom and daughter get to shop together, try new restaurants, get mani pedis, splurge on spa days, embark on weekend trips, explore new cities- all by themselves. Moms of adult boys are usually left on the wayside, having to go through a wife first to be able to make plans with their beloved sons. No wonder mother-in-laws get such a bad rep, and sometimes resort to Marie Barone tactics in order to score some time with their adult sons. I know tons of moms who actively hang out with their adult daughters, but not too many moms who get that same privilege with their sons. And a weekend respite between a grown son and his mom-I personally don’t know anyone who does that. And that’s too bad.
I vow to be different.
I WILL demand time to reconnect with the people I gave birth to, even though they have penises. My boys will have their own lives and families, but I refuse to let that serve as an excuse for why we can’t take a few days to join up and revisit a time when it was just mom and her boys. I don’t think it’s weird or selfish for craving time spent with such important people in your life. But apparently the world has decided to attach an “ick” factor to it.
I did a google search for mother and daughter getaways and hit pay dirt. Travel and Leisure, Southern Living, and Budget Travel all had a shit load of fabulous vacation ideas and packages including history rich city tours in Charleston and St. Augustine, glamping on the California coast, and a once in a lifetime sojourn in the impossibly chic Italian seaside of Positano. I then did a search for mother and son travel ideas – not surprisingly, I came up empty handed.
I did stumble on one forum in which the mom of an adult son asked for some travel ideas. The answers seemed to confirm my suspicions that the world does not embrace mother son travel the way it does mother daughter travel. One person in the forum advised the mom to choose a group tour so that there is “not too much togetherness.” One mom admitted she felt awkward on a four day cruise with her son because everyone thought she was a cougar. People didn’t believe she was actually on vacation with her son. Mothers of people with a penis, isn’t it time to change this?
I want to be able to jet off somewhere cool with my boys even if it’s just to attend a Walking Dead convention for a few days, without the world collectively saying eww. More importantly, I want my son’s future wives to understand that I both need and deserve some good bonding time with my male offspring. My desire to hang with my boys should not mean that I am an overbearing mother in law, nor should it infer that my men are in any way mama’s boys. I get that my sons will have priorities that go beyond mommy, but damn it they are the reason why my boobs droop, and my C-section scar is still tender. That should count for something. If my mom and I can hang on a beach for a few days with nary a comment, then my son and I should be able to do the same without our screwed up world trying to put an Oedipal spin to it.
So boy moms everywhere, to hell with the world! Grab your son, whether he is a toddler, tween or 50 years old, and book that trip.
If anyone looks at you sideways, simply smile, look them in the eye and tell them, “Hey, a mom needs some time with her son. Besides, I used to nurse this dude.”
About the author: Claudia Caramiello is a freelance writer who’s work has appeared on Scarymommy, Bluntmoms, Sammiches and Psych Meds, The Elephant Journal, Her View From Home, and Tribe Magazine. She survives single motherhood on caffeine, humor, and eating frosting out of the can. Claudia lives in NJ with her ball busting, albeit adorable sons. Find her at www.wordblush.com and on Facebook at Espresso and Adderall.