Sometimes moms just need a break. Am I right? And I'm not talking about a moms' night out where you have to deal with the kids in the morning on little sleep and a hangover. I'm talking a REAL BREAK. Like, 36-hours minimum. I don't know why it took me 5 years to take my first night away from the kids. I guess I felt guilty. Ahhhh good ol' mom guilt. Well, you know what? EF THAT!! Can I get an amen??
After years of built up stress (and let's face it, a bit of resentment) of momming three little ones practically 24/7, juggling several entrepreneurial freelance gigs, and having no family nearby for help, I had a near breakdown last weekend. I reached out for advice in my Facebook moms of twins group, because, if anyone gets it, they do!! They all had very similar advice - take care of you, get away, refresh!! So... I immediately decided I would, and soon!! After cross checking my own and hubby's schedules, I realized that the coming weekend would be my only chance for quite some time, so I jumped on it!
Now the dilemma was, where to go!? Not having a car, I wanted some place that was within 3 hours by public transportation to New York City, and that would offer me plenty of ways to relax and be entertained - located within or very close to my hotel. All thoughts kept going to Atlantic City, and after quickly looking through hotel options, the choice was clear: The Tropicana, baby!! Watch my highlights video below and keep reading for all the details!
Related: Massive List of the Best Family-Friendly Day Trips & Weekend Getaways from NYC!
Full disclosure, Tropicana did provide me with a complimentary room in exchange for including them in my "Mom Getaway" story, but I had reached out to them, was thrilled they were interested to collaberate, and all thoughts and opinions are my own!
There were so many signs that seemed like omens, trying to keep me from getting away. One of my twins, all of 2 years old, broke her leg on Thursday night! OMG! The other 2 kids had fresh raging colds. And then Saturday morning, just as I'm leaving, a big snow storm hit, and the direct bus I'd planned to take from Bay Ridge was full (silly me hadn't bought a ticket yet). But, I tried to see them as simply signs from the universe that you have to work for what you want, and you can't just give up. It also helped that hubby was being super supportive! Phew!!
So, Saturday morning I just bit the bullet and got the heck outta dodge! Took the subway to Port Authority and then the Greyhound Lucky Streak bus to Atlantic City! It's an amazing deal, just $25 each way and if you book your ticket the right way (I didn't, so be careful and ask someone how to do it right!) you get $25 in casino slots credits! The ride is about 2.5 hours (with stops at AC's bus terminal and several of the casinos, including Tropicana), smooth, nice leather seats with seat belts, power outlets for each seat, free wifi (but not fast enough for streaming videos - better to download stuff to watch before leaving home). I totally vegged out and caught up on Jane the Virgin and Riverdale on my CW app LOL!! Don't judge, I think I'll always be a teen girl at heart!
Got dropped off at Tropicana and it took me a good 15 minutes to find the front desk. Seriously, it's a maze and a HUGE hotel!! I finally found it, with a nice long line, yikes, but seriously, even getting lost and waiting in line isn't so bad when you don't have 3 kids whining and running off in different directions on you! HA! Finally got my room, and it was HUGE and beautiful and the view, wowza!! It was a corner room on the 60th floor in the Havana Tower. King bed, huge closet, two windows. Simply fabulous!! I had half a mind to just go to bed and not wake up til check out, but no, I knew I had to explore - so off I went!
First step was exploring the property. They have tons of shops, restaurants, bars, and markets. They had a small indoor pool (located on the 6th floor of the South Tower) but no hot tub, so I didn't bother. I wasn't here to exercise or splash around with kids, after all!
They were really decked out for the holidays, with great Christmas displays and an automated lights show on one of the trees - very festive and great time of year to visit! Check out #TropHolidays for more beautiful pix!
My favorite area of the hotel was definitely The Quarter, decked out like Old Havana (where I'm dying to actually go one day soon), tropical with palm trees and a blue sky ceiling with clouds. Absolutely adorable and such a fun vibe!! Of course the casino aspect is massive, here and there spread out throughout the entire resort. But can I tell you a little secret? I didn't gamble, not even one slot! HA! Who goes to Atlantic City and doesn't gamble at all? This girl...
As the sun set, I headed over to Bar Olon for happy hour - sat down at the bar and scarfed down a yummy $3 empanada and the most delicious white Sangria of my life (for all of $4!).
Stepped next door to check out the super secret and kitschy Okatshe, you proceed through a hidden door ina Japanese candy shop straight into a modern Izakaya in Tokyo. SO COOL! They have a late night happy hour with a DJ.
Next I headed over to Tropicana Showroom to see their Holiday Jubilee. Think Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular meet Vegas Showgirls, with a bit of Cirque du Soleil thrown in. It was fabulous, fun, and the guy/girl MC's were sometimes super cheesy, but in a good way. It made me smile, and that's a win! For just $25, it was a great deal, especially when you're used to nosebleed Broadway seats running for over $100... Just watch out though, I purchased via Ticketmaster app and it didn't warn me about $14 in fees until after the purchase was complete, and then there's no option to cancel or request a refund. Whomp whomp. So... if you plan to see the show, buy tickets at the box office - they're general admission so just go early for a good seat. My show was 8pm and doors opened at 7:15 and I was somewhere around 10th row center. It's running through December 22 so you still have a chance to catch it, look at my slide show here for a taste:
After the show, I found myself faced with a true dilemma: go to bed or rally and head out to the bars and clubs... ALONE!?! I chose to follow my heart, be brave, and head out. It helped that I could do this without bundling up and leaving the hotel! I do love me some loud music, whether or not I have the guts to dance by myself, just being amidst it all can be fun! Tropicana has TONS of "places to party" as they call it. So you really have to ask yourself what you're looking for - what kind of vibe and what is your budget. Personally I wanted to see the dance club scene, but I'm not down with paying cover, so I checked out Anthem (free for ladies before midnight) and Ivan Kane's Kiss Kiss Nightclub (free if you register yourself for their guest list online and get in before 11:30), the latter of which was, in a word, um, unique? Let's just say I had to heavily edit that clip on my video... you can get a better idea of the club in this youtube video. Let's just say, lots of booties and pasties! HA!
By 12:30am I was done, headed home, and was out like a light, until something woke me. A sound in the hall I guess. I thought it was around 3am, looked at the clock and it was 10:35am!! WHAT!?? I guess that's how well you sleep when the room is pitch black and you don't have kids screaming out "MOMMYYYYYYYY" at 6am! It was glorious!! Checkout was 11AM, I was bummed they charge for late checkout, so instead went ahead and checked out and left my bags with the bell clerk.
Walked along the boardwalk - it was a beautiful (cold) day, blue sky, still snow around from the storm the day prior. Checked out Caesar's and The Playground (shopping mall) before hitting the big Tanger Outlets!! Scored some cute 60% off boots for my girls at The Children's Place, and some jeans and accessories at H&M. These days, I don't dare take the kids shopping with me. And I so rarely get me time, so most of our shopping is done online and I gotta say, there's something to be said for actually getting into a store, feeling the materials, and trying stuff on!! It was grand!! Even grander? The 30 minute massage I got at a small shop on the boardwalk near the hotel for all of $25. Ah-may-zing (and not at all sketchy, or luxurious, but still, it was magical)!!!
At around 4pm I headed back to the Trop, grabbed my bag, and caught the 4:45pm greyhound back to the city. My mind was filled with emotions. I missed the kids, but not terribly. I missed hubby and wondered how he'd done alone with the kids without a break for so long. This weekend was a first for him as much as it was for me. I thought, hmmm, this was easier and way better than expected, I could do a week away, easy. Mexico perhaps? All-inclusive, on the beach, yes!
I also reflected on how I can keep myself from another near meltdown, and from resenting my spouse and my kids. How I can prioritize self-care and me-time more, shoving my stingy ways to the background to save my sanity. My plan? Get a babysitter a few hours a week so I can get more work done without having to mind the kids or use screen time to get an article pumped out. Get a half or full day to myself at least once or twice a month. Get a sitter and have a date with hubby once a month. And get a full weekend to myself at least once a year. I think these are practical and achievable goals, and you're all responsible for holding me to them! HA!
How about you? Have you ever taken the back seat to life and those you love? How do you get in your me-time and re-energize? Share in a comment below - we can all use some fresh ideas!!!
In the meantime, Happy Friggin' Holidays from my family to yours!!! #Blessed
Disclosure: While I received a comped room from Tropicana, all thoughts and opinions are my own and unbiased!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!