sunset on a road trip


I Was Mom-Shamed For Going On A Solo Vacation

Sep 8, 2022

My sister and I have been traveling to Jamaica on annual family vacations ever since we were toddlers. We’d spend time with our grandparents by the countryside, or relax on the beach while soaking in the culture of our parents’ birthplace.

I began traveling by myself in my 20s. To date, I’ve visited about 10 countries and four continents. I taught ESL for four years in Taiwan, and went on a journey of self-discovery in Africa where I visited Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ghana.

Travel Plans When You're A Parent

During the early stages of my adoption journey, I knew that once I was matched with a child, these extensive trips would have to be put on pause so that I could focus on being an attentive and involved parent to a child with complex medical needs.

"These extensive trips would have to be put on pause so that I could focus on being an attentive and involved parent."

Since my daughter joined our family in 2019, I’ve organized a few mini-vacays each year so that she can remain connected to her birth family and extended family in Canada and the Caribbean. This summer, we started our vacation with a couple of road trips — including to my hometown of Montreal and joining another mom and her sons to Canada’s Wonderland.

Based on the delays and hiccups at the airports, I opted out of an overseas trip with her this year.

Joseph Wilson's advice for travelling with kids is to let them take the lead in research and planning.

Family vacations may be relaxing and adventurous for the kids, but that's only because, as the parent, I'm the one busy scouring flight deals, packing and repacking, double-checking the first aid kit, researching family-friendly activities, scheduling washroom breaks and making sure snacks are within arms’ reach at all times.

There is so much energy put into prepping for every worst-case scenario, I’m rarely carefree or relaxed until everyone is back home in one piece.

Parents have two distinctive periods in their life that I like to refer to as B.C. (before child) and A.D. (after dependant). Whenever I returned from these road trips, I needed a vacation from the vacation and realized how much I missed the simplicity of traveling solo.

Happening Upon Time For Solo Travel

When a family friend asked if she could spend a couple of weeks with my daughter, I considered it divine order. This friend happens to be my daughter’s former foster mother and I consider her one of the most positive influences in my child’s life. I have an open adoption and couldn’t have picked a better time for them to reconnect.

"There was an assumption this decision was made carelessly."

Once all the plans were finalized, I started thinking about what I’d do with some time to myself. I decided to take a quick trip out of town and excitedly shared my plans with a few friends and family members.

Surprisingly, I was immediately mom-shamed.

I was questioned on what would happen if my daughter had a medical emergency, whether or not I could afford to travel within my budget and I was even accused of abandoning my child. There was an assumption this decision was made carelessly and that I was placing my daughter at emotional and physical risk. No one considered the exhaustion and stress that had built up over the years and the toll it was taking on my body and mind.

At first I struggled with feelings of shame and guilt until I realized I was internalizing the criticisms of people who loved me, but did not share my lived experience.

Looking for ways to incorporate more rest into your daily life? Try these tips from The Psychology Foundation of Canada.

Rest in Black Communities

Based on our history and culture, there is a superhero myth that Black women can do it all. Asking for help or taking time off to attend to our own needs is frowned upon. In many Black families, rest is just a four-letter word.

It can be hard when you've been reminded since childhood about immigrant parents who raised family members since they were children themselves. However, high blood pressure, diabetes and undiagnosed mental health issues impact Black Canadians at a high rate and I believe there must be a connection to over-working and caregiver burnout.

"I see travel as a form of self-care which helps to relieve stress, calm the mind and rejuvenate."

Having lost my mother to lupus in her 50s, I learned about the impact of stress on the nervous and immune systems early in life. Although my family did their best to maintain a healthy work-life balance, life can still throw a curve ball.

Needless to say, my friends and family eventually came back around full-circle when I pointed out that I deserved time to myself and my daughter was in good hands with a loving, fully capable adult. My daughter was counting down the days when she could reconnect with the woman who raised her since she was two years old.

Although I knew she’d miss me, I could tell she was looking forward to her staycation. When I FaceTimed her each day, she was creating an art project, making quesadillas with her foster mom or in the swimming pool. Seeing her happy, relaxed and comforted gave me peace of mind about my decision.

I see travel as a form of self-care which helps to relieve stress, calm the mind and rejuvenate. For some that is a bike ride around the city, for others it’s a spa day with friends or quiet time losing yourself in a novel. I’ve done that too — but for the first time in three years, I decided to take advantage of a freedom I rarely enjoy. No guilt.

Article Author True Daley
True Daley

Read more from True here.

True Daley is a proud adoptive mom of an eight-year-old girl and advocate against anti-Black racism. The regular contributor to is also a multi-platform journalist and an award-winning performance artist who has appeared on CBC, CTV, BET and HBO. As an active member of BIPOC TV & Film in Toronto, she is currently developing an animated children's series for six- to nine-year-olds.

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