I’ll never forget the first time I went away as a new mom. Josiah was almost one, and four of my girlfriends planned a weekend getaway to Southern California. It sounded amazing, but I just didn’t feel right leaving my little guy at home. That is when my friend Catherine gave me some really good advice: “Just go! Going away is being proactive against mommy burnout. Best thing you can do!”
So, off I went.
And it was great.
I’ve taken short getaways here and there since, but not very many. Now, nearly fifteen years after that first weekend away, I went to meet the same group of girlfriends. And as I drove down my driveway at 5:00 AM last Thursday, I was once again uneasy about leaving. I wrestled with the phenomenon of how my family could drive me crazy every day, but I was already missing them like crazy before I had left our property.
I knew the weekend would be healthy. Mommy burn-out was no longer something to be warned of, but instead something I knew only too well.
And sure enough, getting away from my family, my work, my daily life, was not only refreshing, but healing on a level that simply can’t be found on a coffee date, or a long run.
The girls and I reunited and had a most awesome weekend. Laughter filtered through all we did, and though I had plenty of quiet time to myself, I soaked in the chance to deeply connect. By the third day, the girls and I had talked about things that you just can’t cover in a quick phone call or email. We prayed for one another. We swapped favorite apps, favorite podcasts, and best books of the last few years.
I could go on and on about the food, drinks, boat-rides, sleeping in…or about the mishaps that occur when you leave your responsible selves behind. But we don’t need to mention slips and spills, and bruised bums, I suppose. And a certain golf-cart into the shrub incident? Mums the word.
I am proud to say that we walked about ten miles a day, give or take .38 miles, which depends on whose iPhone tracker you are checking.
(and I still can’t believe we got summer weather all weekend long!)
We also took time to enjoy a sunset each night, and choosing where to view it from might have been the biggest decision we faced each day.
Do you get time away?
I already asked on Facebook, and heard back from many of you who say that you do schedule getaways from your family. I loved hearing all that you take back with you. Yet many of us put off these getaways for oh-so-long. It seems to be the last thing on our to-do list. We are busy. The family needs us. We think it will be expensive and difficult to pull off.
But I’m here to remind us all that it is so worth it. You can find cheaper ways to do a weekend away, and if you plan and save, I think you’ll agree it is a most worthwhile investment.
But if you need some help motivating, here’s a little list that I pondered as I flew back home…
1. Her children recognize that Mom actually can exist, independent of them. At first this might freak them out, and they might call or text her twenty times the first day But eventually, they’ll find new ways to have their needs met, and that they will gain a sense of security and independence. That’s healthy.
2. Her children grow in respect and appreciation for their mom. Eventually they figure out that all of the stuff that Mom normally does for them–the days and nights and meals and drives and evvvv-erything else..She actually does by choice. And they will be thankful.
3. Mom realizes that she exists independently of her children. At first this might freak HER out, and she might worry about whether or not her kids remember to eat and bathe and take their vitamins, but eventually, she accepts that they can get by without her. That’s healthy.
4. Mom grows in appreciation and respect for herself. Mom gains perspective. She sees all that she actually does on a given day, and she feels pretty incredible.
5. Her husband realizes that he actually can manage the household. And he feels good about it. Dad and the kids create memories and bond in a way that they do not when mom is home.
6. Her husband realizes how hard it is to run the household. He grows in appreciation and admiration for all that his wife does. He misses her.
7. Mom has loving thoughts towards her children. By the second or third day, Mom has amazingly tender thoughts about her children. She suddenly describes them to others as sweet, cute, and funny. It occurs to her that she really likes her kids. She misses them.
8. Mom has loving thoughts towards her husband. She appreciates his kindness in letting her get away. She remembers him as strong, handsome, and generous. She looks forward to seeing him again.
9. Mom gets uninterrupted sleep. And it is magical.
10. Mom feels like a grown-up. She has adult conversations. She thinks smart thoughts and says funny things. She realizes that she is so much more than just mom, or any other title she might hold.
11. Mom remembers a little bit about who she really is, and why she ever started a family. She sees the bigger picture and realizes that her kids actually are growing up very fast. She thinks of things she wants to pour into them, and how she might help guide them. She longs to hold them and talk to them, and take care of them. She remembers the man she fell in love with, and the history that they share. She is really excited to get home.
12. Mom is refreshed.
Moms—Whether it requires your husband, or some other part of your tribe to pitch in and allow you to get-away, I really hope you make it happen. I know it’s not easy, and sometimes it is downright impossible, but if you can, I hope you do.
Now I’d love to hear from you! Stories of your own get-aways? What you take home from a time away? Maybe you haven’t ever done it? Please share in comments!
And if this has encouraged you, please consider passing it on through social media buttons below! 🙂 Thx!