I couldn’t wait to become a mother– it was seriously my only goal after I turned 20–so when my (then) husband and I agreed I’d stay home when I got pregnant with our first child, I was in heaven.
I was so in love with this child that I had a hard time when anyone else held him. There was no way I could think about leaving him. In fact, I knew a woman who would leave her family once a month to recharge and I couldn’t wrap my head around how she could do that to her child.
She’d go away for the day, or the weekend depending on what their schedules were like and what they could afford. There were nights she went to a hotel down the road to be alone, watch hours of television and take an uninterrupted bath. Then, there were times she’d go hang out with her mom for the day and let her husband tend to the kids.
She was a good mother. She loved her kids. But I have to admit something: deep down, I judged her. I didn’t understand how someone could crave that much time away from their children.
The Benefits to Women Who Take Time Off From Their Families
We were talking about it one day when it dawned on me she wasn’t doing anything to her children, she was doing something for them. “I need to do this. When I don’t, I get so crabby and irritated. I know some people think it’s selfish but it works for my family.”
When my oldest was turning one and we were thinking about having another child, after a rough night I lost it and was venting to my best friend on the phone. She asked when was the last time I’d gotten away for a bit to be alone.
It was then I realized it had almost been a year. Sure, I’d had the occasional hair appointment or trip to the store alone but that clearly wasn’t doing it. We booked a weekend away then and there.
I missed my son tremendously and had trouble sleeping the first night. My mind was racing wondering if he was all right without me. And hello, he was just fine. Actually, he probably needed a break from me more than I needed one from him.
And when I returned to him I felt a freshness I’d been missing for so long.
Taking a momcation is necessary and most of us don’t even realize it. We push through our days trying to tell ourselves if we can just hang on until bedtime, we will be fine.
Every other job allows you take time off because it’s necessary to perform your best, and that’s how we need to view motherhood. While we can never completely disconnect from our kids and families, nor do we want to, we need to prioritize taking time for ourselves whether it’s with a friend, relative, or solo.
It not only makes us appreciate our kids and the daily grind in a way we can’t if we never get a respite; time away rejuvenates us and our families reap those benefits too.
The Wisconsin Medical Journal found that “Women who take vacations frequently are less likely to become tense, depressed, or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriage.”
Since that first getaway, I’ve made it a point to try and stick to a habit of taking a weekend for myself at least a few times a year, and I notice a huge difference when I don’t.
It has shown my teenagers that I know how to prioritize myself and my life isn’t centered around them every moment. Now that their social life has picked up and we are getting closer to the time they will be moving on and out of the house, they see an independent mom who isn’t afraid to be alone, or go have fun with girlfriends.
I’m glad I took that initial first trip. Although I was really nervous and wanted to stay home more than I wanted to go, I knew deep down in order to be a better mom and wife I needed to do it.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be luxurious, long, or expensive. Usually a few days does the trick. And if you are still doubting the power of getting away and feeling hesitant about the idea, remember your whole family will be better off because you are taking the time to refresh and rejuvenate.
So, book that hotel room, see if you can crash with your bestie, or spend the day alone walking the beach. It helps clear your head, gives your perspective.
You certainly deserve it, Mama. Stop thinking you don’t.
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