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Mom’s Night (or Day) Out – Lakeland Style

Moms Night Out Lakeland (1)

A break. A pause. A breather. Call it what you will, but many of us moms can’t recall the last time we had some real “me” time. And we’re not talking about the occasional solo grocery shopping trip or Target run… but an actual span of time where you get to be you for a while.

Moms are so busy that on the rare occasion we do get some of that precious time for ourselves, sometimes we’re not sure how to spend it. There’s hardly time to squeeze in planning another thing, let alone something for ourselves. So, we’ve taken away some of that guesswork for you!

Besides taking a much-coveted nap, what are some fun, relaxing things to do with mom friends {or by yourself} that won’t break the bank and help you enjoy that well-deserved break? Here are just a few ideas guaranteed to give your “mom game” a boost.

Catch a show

Great for: Solo time, fun with fellow moms, date night
Times: Day or night

When it comes to local entertainment, you’re not limited to the Cobb or Cinemark movie theaters, and you don’t have to go far or spend a lot.

The Polk Theatre. Whether it’s an indie flick or a favorite movie you haven’t seen on the big screen in a while, the ambiance of this historic theatre is nice change of pace.

Local schools. The arts are alive and well in our local schools. Between Southeastern University, Florida Southern College, Polk State, Harrison School for the Arts, and more, Lakeland’s young people are absolutely bursting with talent. Tickets for plays and concerts, and even art gallery events, are definitely reasonably priced, and you’re sure to have fun. Bonus: You’ll be supporting local students and their education at the same time.

Community theatre. In addition to producing awesome shows for kids, both the Lakeland Community Theatre and Theatre Winter Haven have shows that appeal to adults throughout the year…from comedies to musicals to dramas.

RP Funding Center. You can see Broadway shows, comedians, live music, dance performances, and more at Lakeland’s entertainment complex.

Swan City Improv. If you want to laugh like you haven’t since you realized you shrunk the one pair of jeans you still fit into, check out this team of live improvisational comedians. Bonus: If you can’t get a sitter, the show is family friendly!

Live music at Hillcrest Coffee. Grab a cup of joe at this homey, family-run coffee shop and enjoy the sounds of a variety of talented performers.

*Note: Since opportunities to see these events don’t happen with the same regularity as the movies, be sure to look up what’s available before you go.

Get back to nature

Great for: Solo time, fun with fellow moms
Time: Day

Living in Florida means lots of sun and absolutely stunning natural surroundings, but we don’t always get a chance to just take some time to slow down and appreciate it all. If you don’t mind the heat, or if you’re able to catch your mom break during those rare snaps of cooler weather, check out some of the beauty that’s right here at home.

Instead of heading to the parks with the playgrounds where you take the kids, why not take a stroll through Hollis Garden, blaze a trail at Circle B, or hike through the Lakeland Highlands Scrub? You can also get in some exercise with our many local walking trails and biking trails. (Just be sure to take the proper precautions as far as bug spray and sun protection, and don’t venture out without letting someone know where you’re headed.)

Take a class

Great for: Solo time, fun with fellow moms, date night
Times: Day or night

Getting out of the “same old routine” by taking a class can be a great way to recharge. Consider branching out and learning something new, or rediscovering a favorite pastime.

Dance at Kelly Rec. Did you know that the Kelly Recreation Complex offers adult dance classes, like line dancing or salsa? Even if you don’t think you’re coordinated enough, give it a try. If nothing else, grab some fellow moms and make some memories!

Try a yoga, Zumba or fitness class. Many local fitness establishments allow you to try our their facility for a free session or a free class, or pay for just one class so that you can decide if you’d like to get a membership. Or, if you are a member of a gym, try a class you haven’t tried before.

Paint the town (well, at least a canvas). Even if you think you have zero artistic talent, there’s something to say about the feeling of accomplishment when you finish a creative project (instead of a project you had to do, like organizing your kid’s closet…again). Creative expression is a great stress reliever, so grab some friends and head to Painting with a Twist, Art Centric Studio, or the workshops offered at Scout & Tag. Bonus: Some classes encourage you to bring snacks to share!

Take a self defense class just for women. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office offers a women’s self defense class twice a month.

Plan an escape

Great for: Fun with fellow moms, date night, groups of adults
Times: Day or night

Escape rooms are all the rage these days, and it’s no wonder. In a race against the clock, you and your comrades-in-puzzle-solving have to crack the case and escape the room before time runs out! While in the past you needed to head to Tampa or Orlando for this type of experience, Lakeland has two escape rooms for you to choose from. Check out the Lakeland Escape Room or Escapology for a fun and memorable time.

(Note: While these businesses are both located on Pine Street in Downtown Lakeland, they are separate entities. Be sure you know which place you’ve booked before you go.)

Head to the library

Great for: Solo time
Times: Day or night

When was the last time you had a chance to delve into a good book? The Polk County Library Cooperative has multiple locations throughout the county, so you’ll never be far from your next literary adventure.

Pro tip: Try out the new Kelly Branch Library in the Kelly Recreation Center, even though it has more limited hours than the larger library branches. The atmosphere is quieter and less busy, and has a more curated selection of books, which may make it easier for you to find a new favorite.

Stroll through the Polk Museum of Art

Great for: Solo time, fun with fellow moms
Time: Day

Admiring works of art is a wonderful stress reducer. The Polk Museum of Art is a local gem that allows you to enjoy beautiful art in air-conditioned comfort. New exhibits are brought in periodically, so there’s always something new to see. Be sure to check out their events too, like creative yoga, docent-led tours, and a multitude of classes. Bonus: Admission to the museum is FREE!

The bottom line

Even if fitting it in seems impossible, remember that taking time for yourself is critical. Even if it’s brief… even if it’s not often… you owe it to yourself. It will refresh your outlook, recharge your mental energy, and ultimately make you an even better mom than you already are.

Motherhood + Parenting Guide

Check out our Motherhood + Parenting Guide for more articles on motherhood, social groups, 1-on-1 time with kids, and more.

About the Author: Stephanie Curl, Contributing Writer

Stephanie is a writer and editor and has worked in the marketing field for her entire career. She has lived in Lakeland since 2005 and loves the family-friendly activities and sense of community that Lakeland offers. Stephanie is married to her high school sweetheart, Edward, and they have two young daughters. She loves classic literature and anything related to Harry Potter…and she’s always up for another cup of coffee! 

Stephanie Curl