In an exclusive interview with Parents.com, the actress, producer, and mom of five shares how going on a family vacation felt like the perfect antidote to holiday season stress.

By Maressa Brown
December 06, 2019
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© Illumina Photography

When it comes to carrying the mental load as a mom, the holiday season presents a whole new level of stress. Sure, Tori Spelling might be a famous actress, producer, and entrepreneur who has been in the spotlight for most of her life, but she's also a mom of five who's definitely not immune from the pressures of the season. In fact, it's one main reason she and her husband Dean McDermott headed off with their kids—Liam, 12, Stella, 11, Hattie, 8, Finn, 7, and Beau, 2—to the AAA Four Diamond award-winning Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort in Playa Mujeres, Mexico for a holiday vacation this past week.

"The kids were all like, 'What are we doing for Christmas? How are we celebrate, when are we decorating the tree?'" Spelling says. "And I was like, 'Guess what? We’re going to Mexico!'"

Parents.com recently got the highlights from Spelling on the family's dream vacation and how it helped her cope with those omnipresent pressures to make the holiday season Pinterest-perfect.

© Illumina Photography

How Spelling Feels the Pressures of Carrying the Mental Load

Spelling might frequently set the bar for her fans and followers by sharing DIY craft, cooking, and baking projects on Instagram, she's just as susceptible as anyone to the social media-exacerbated stress that's tied with motherhood—and this time of year.

"Holidays are definitely hard, especially with that pressure, having to please everyone and the expectations are crazy," she says. "You see what others are creating and that causes you to put the expectations on yourself, you know? You feel the need to like, 'Oh, I have to live up to that.'"

Spelling feels for all moms who are carrying the mental load and makes a point to lean on her friends when she's feeling particularly taxed.

"I feel like we put so much pressure on ourselves as moms, whether we have one, whether we have five," she says. "It doesn’t matter. It’s just pressure. It’s mom guilt, and husbands can’t understand. They never will, so it really helps me to have a great support system of other moms. We have a moms' night out, and we can talk about it, and you hear you're not alone."

How Vacation Served the Perfect Fix for Holiday Season Stress

© Illumina Photography

This year, Spelling also decided to cope by taking a family vacation—and it worked. "I was feeling the pressure right before we left, but we got to Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, and that was alleviated," she notes. "I was like, 'OK, let’s all relax. Everyone's happy. We’ll go home, and we’ll decorate the tree, but the weight to fulfill certain expectations by certain dates is off my chest now, being able to give them this vacation, with it being like a getaway."

She also strove to make the trip about unwinding and taking care of herself, as well.

"I feel like self-care is very foreign to me," Spelling admits. "I am trying to work on that. It’s not my specialty. My friends are trying to teach me. So, vacations and like little mini-getaways, even if it’s staycations, actually help me. When I’m transported out of my like normal routine, it's good for my soul."

One way Spelling and McDermott did that in Mexico was by visiting the Dreams Spa by Pevonia for a 50-minute couple's massage.

How to Make Family Travel Memorable

While the mom of five feels less pressure to live up to a Pinterest-perfect standard this year, the BH90210 star is still a big fan of traditions. "Actually I brought our Elf on the Shelf," she shares. "The Elf put toilet paper throughout our room, and I was like, 'Naughty Elf!'" Spelling says the "Elf" also took her lipstick and wrote 'Feliz Navidad!' all over the mirrors.

Another creative tradition she, McDermott, and the kids make sure to do whenever they travel: "In each place we go, the kids are really excited to pick a new flower, new plants, a new tree, and see something different—then, we draw an outline of it as a memory," Spelling shares. "Like we went to Hawaii, and we drew birds of paradise. We will pick something else in Mexico."

Having new experiences is just as important to the family of seven. "I love to show them new things," Spelling says. "My dad was scared of flying, so we didn’t travel at all. So, I always vowed that one day, you know, if I had kids, I would show them the world, and we work a lot so we’re doing it a little bit at a time. And finally, Beau is at that age where we feel we can travel more with him.  Seeing the looks on their faces when they discover something new, and I’m discovering it with them, I love that moment."

One of the main events this time around: Spelling, McDermott, and their crew enjoyed hopping in oversized floaties and taking a trip down the lazy river—which Spelling notes was the family's "favorite place to go"—in addition to taking advantage of the property's three swimming pools, including two infinity pools, a children's pool, a water park for the little ones with a waterslide, and a giant splash bucket.

© Illumina Photography

They loved hitting the beach, indulging in the resort's sweet treats, and meeting other kids on vacation. "It’s really pure white sand, warm, clean white sand, and it’s amazing, and I've never seen anything like it," Spelling says. "Coming from LA, you’d think we have it all, but in Malibu, it’s really different. Of course, they love the ice cream parlor. And there are so many other kids, I think every single person made a friend here."

The family also celebrated McDermott's belated 53rd birthday on the property with a delicious menu and special birthday cake served exclusively at the Cava wine cellar.

How Vacation Helped Everyone Unplug and Reconnect

Like most moms, Spelling has attempted to read on past family vacations. "I bring a book every vacation," she shares. "I have never opened up one page." But for the first time in 10 years, she says she managed to get a chapter into her book.

The activity is one she and McDermott made sure to impress on their little ones, making reading a way for the whole family to disconnect and decompress. "Right before we left, everybody bought a book—including baby Beau, one that we’re reading to him—and I was like, 'OK, like, we're going to unplug and read, and that's what vacationing is all about,'" she says.

Ultimately, no matter what activity they're enjoying, the most rewarding part of any experience for Spelling is seeing her children interact. She shares, "Seeing them play together, interact together, hug each other, love each other. That’s my favorite part of the day, every day I get to witness that, and I’m so blessed."

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