When my son was 18 months old, I took my first personal, solo, mom retreat. I drove to a bed and breakfast within 90 miles.
I slept for 18 hours straight. I do sometimes exaggerate, but I’m not exaggerating here. I did not have a full night’s sleep since before he was born and my body was done.
Nearly every year since then, regardless of money, I found a way to go for a weekend away.
I’ve heard how jealous others are, how they wish they could get away, that they would feel too guilty, that they just couldn’t leave their family to go on a mom retreat …
While I understand all this, I also understand it’s sabotage. They didn’t even ask their partner or family for help. They don’t even KNOW that they truly cannot. Unfortunately, it’s easier to stay home and complain than ask for a mom retreat, alone.
Here’s what I have never ever heard in 14 years of getting away:
I saved all year, tried to work it out with my family and I still don’t have the resources to go. So, I guess I’ll have to wait another 6 months and keep saving.
The question I do get asked:
What do you do? I mean, do you just sleep? Do you do anything? What do you do?
Here is what I do.
I sleep in. As long as I want.
I eat granola bars for breakfast – and hot coffee. I can make a granola bar last 15 minutes.
I keep away from electronics. Often, the places I end up don’t have wi-fi.
I use really thick writing pads of paper.
I dream. I write. I ask questions. I wonder “What if?” I objectively figure out what stage my son is in and where I need to shift (read: stop getting angry, communicate love better, guide better).
I pray. In fact, I pray nearly the entire time because I have so much to sort out with Him.
I take walks and read self help books. Or, I bring self-help books and don’t read them. Either way, no judgement.
I take the one bath I take all year. With bubbles.
I cry. Sometimes for hours. Sometimes not at all. I really never know so I just bring dish towels instead of tissue boxes… 😉
I light candles. I write in my journal by candlelight and then realize how dark that is, and I don’t really want to be an Ingalls after all and put the light back on.
I take naps. Multiple naps. And still go to sleep by 11pm.
I get up the next day and repeat with anything lingering rumbles in my heart and head. Often, once the ground is churned up in my soul, other things surface…. things that I can see objectively, that need my attention, and love. It could be personal, business, family, friends, future – anything and everything is up for shifting.
This photo taken by Kate Inglis at Serendipity Retreat 2014 on the Outer Banks of NC.
Bottom line, my creating time, money and space to go away and find my sparkle to offer again is a gift that only I can give to my family.
I don’t come back a sleep deprived martyr, hoping I can serve my way into being loved. I come back on pointe, understanding where I need to shift, where family changes need to happen, filled to the brim with love, and clear that joy matters.
My dream that I’m working on is offering and being part of many mom retreats to help moms regroup, find their path, and their sparkle. And return them home to create phenomenal families.
EDITED 5 YEARS LATER: I FREAKING HAVE MY OWN RETREAT AT THE OUTER BANKS IN NC AND WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO JOIN US!!! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO!! Dreams come true!! AND WE ARE NEAR THIS PIER IN THE PHOTO!
Vikki Spencer, The Mom Whisperer, Mom Coach