Let’s be honest, whether we are at home with the kids or employed while mothering, the daily demands of family life take their toll on our minds and bodies. All moms need a break from time to time—it makes me think of the mythical country song “How Can I Miss You if You Never Go Away?” When we take a break from our family responsibilities, we gain the perspective that distance brings, as well as a very important opportunity to recharge our batteries. This is not selfishness, it is self-preservation.
My personal guideline is that every mother deserves to go away at least twice a year for a long weekend of personal renewal, in addition to any work travel or family trips she takes. This doesn’t have to be an expensive getaway. It can mean staying at a retreat center, booking a value-priced spa package, or renting a mountain cabin or beach cottage in the off-season with friends. My own moms’ group has done this several years for a reasonable cost. We always have a blast and strengthen our friendships in a way that can only be done by spending an extended amount of time together. When I look back on what is special about those weekends, it’s not a fancy setting that matters. Sometimes the conversations during the car ride up and back are the most fun. So is the chance to hang out in our pajamas and talk over coffee until noon.
Mojo Mom’s Tips for a Relaxing Moms’ Weekend Away:
Scheduling at least two nights away will let you catch up on your sleep, and will give you a full “day away” that is not a travel day.
Don’t over-schedule your weekend. Think about which activities will truly lead to a feeling of renewal. You don’t want to come home feeling more tired than when you left. It’s a true luxury to have the time to spend a day without much to do, to remember what free time feels like, and to let your mind roam. When I am away, I enjoy being as lazy as a lizard basking in the sun. As a writer, I have found these breaks to be key to my work productivity when I return.
Treat yourself to some nice meals out or enjoy cooking together. Watch your alcohol consumption—overindulgence never feels good the next day and can undo the rejuvenating effects of your time away.
Your idea of a fun weekend might be to go shopping and catch a show in the city, but even if you create an urban getaway, set aside some time where you can visit a natural setting to reconnect with natural beauty and walk outside.
Use this getaway as a chance for your husband to run the household his way for a change. As long as he has the principles of basic safety covered, let the rest go. If the kids leave the house with their shirts on inside out, it really doesn’t matter. There is a fine line between leaving the house in decent order so that your partner doesn’t run out of food and essentials on your first day away, and running around like a madwoman for a whole week cleaning the house and cooking so that he doesn’t have to. Find your comfort level in this arena and remember that it’s healthy for your family to carry the household load on their own from time to time. This is a chance to make the invisible work you do become visible. When your family does the work by themselves they’ll better appreciate how well you keep things running on a daily basis. Believe me, I’ve been there myself!
If you feel guilty about getting away, remember that being rested will recharge your parenting reserves as well. Time away renews perspective. I am so excited to see my daughter and husband when I get home. I love the initial rush of freedom that comes with getting away, and having someone else cook and make the beds for a change, but I also love coming back to my own home and reconnecting with my family.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #14.
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