Vacations Are Very Different as a Single Mom

Alecia Kennedy
5 min readOct 8, 2022

In a good way

Author’s picture of her daughters on a recent trip to Palm Springs

I just returned from a weekend trip with my 8-year-old. She’s on fall break from school and asked a few weeks ago if we could go to Gatlinburg, TN like we did last year. I hesitated at first for a couple of reasons. Reason number 1 — I’ve been to Gatlinburg at least a dozen times since I was a kid and I’d rather go somewhere new. Reason number 2 — the last time we were there, we went with my ex-boyfriend and I didn’t know if I was emotionally ready to deal with the inevitable reminders of our last trip.

In the end I relented because both of those reasons are self-centered and not at all about my daughter’s fall break or us spending quality time together. I’m glad I changed my mind. We had a great time just doing whatever popped into our heads, eating whatever we wanted, and generally enjoying each other’s company.

I’ve been divorced from my daughters’ father for over two years and the one thing that I never stop marveling over is how much our vacations have improved! Vacations with my ex were always a battle of wills. It was his way or the highway when it came to what we did, when we did it, and how it was done whenever we were on a trip.

We had to leave at 3:00 a.m. because he didn’t like to drive in traffic. We had to get to the airport two hours early because of his anxiety. Once we were at the airport, we had to go directly to the gate no matter how much time we had. We did the activities he preferred because entertainment was an expense he paid for during our marriage.

He took controlling our trips (and me) as far as refusing to add me as a driver on the rental car so I wouldn’t have the ability to drive somewhere he didn’t want to go. I remember one year on a trip to Florida when I wanted to attend a yoga class on the beach at sunrise and he refused to drive me. Needless to say, vacations were pretty tense and not all that fun.

I know his impulse to control everyone’s “fun” probably stemmed from his horrible childhood where vacations were nonexistent. He had the attitude that if he was willing to take you on a vacation, you’d better have fun and be immensely grateful to him. If my daughters and I did manage to enjoy doing something he hadn’t planned himself, he acted like a child and tried to ruin our…

Alecia Kennedy