So, I spent last weekend on a surprise “mom-cation” weekend arranged by my husband. This was the first of it’s kind in ten years. Meaning, I haven’t spent time away from my family that didn’t involve work of some kind in ten years! With homeschooling, occasional auditions and make up gigs, running the household, writing a script and starting this blog…things were beginning to wear on me. While it’s all stuff I enjoy for the most part, each one can be a full time job, demanding lots of time and attention and I’m juggling them all at the same time. I felt stuck and overwhelmed. I wanted to be motivated and creative but couldn’t find my way to it. I was short with the kids, the stress was manifesting in my body in the way of a knot in my shoulder you could see from the outside radiating pain down my left arm, and my eyebrows, LAWD, were out of control. The whole thing was causing me to feel super run down, haggard, and not even remotely cute. I always joke that if mama goes down the whole ship sinks so I was doing my best to soldier through. What I wasn’t realizing was that I was at the helm of the Titanic.
TJ expressed concern that I didn’t seem like myself. Well, I was in constant pain from the shoulder thing, and that alone can cause you to lose your mind a little bit. Beyond that I couldn’t even find the words to explain anything else that might be going on inside. So he made an executive decision and kicked me out of the house for a few days. This man, made some calls, gave me thirty minutes to pack and off I went to the dreamy, Casa Del Mar, in Santa Monica. While he had spent a few days making these arrangements, he did not fill me in because he didn’t marry me yesterday. He knows that if given the option I’d either 1. Talk him out of it making excuses of not spending the money or 2. Defeat the purpose by having the family come with me. Hence, no choice. The money had already been spent, and a friend was waiting to drop me off.
He arranged for my writing partner to come out Friday for our regular writing day, complete with ocean view this time, he called one of my besties who arranged a spa day on Saturday, and he closed night out by sending up dessert and wine to my room.
I’m often the thrifty one, trying to be super conscious of spending and explained that I know we have other things we could and should be putting our money towards. One of the cars needs fixing, some bill, there will soon be new track shoes to buy, but for him, fixing me was more important. Restoring my joy, and giving me a minute to regroup was of more value to him. He put me first, and as a result a fog has been lifted. I remember what my goals are and can continue making active steps toward making them happen. I’m able to put myself back on the list when caring for my family and reacquainting myself with self care. Ironically, I have my husband to thank for that awakening.
When I tell you I was in a fog, I mean, like for real! I couldn’t see in front of me. Simple decisions became labor intensive. I was straining my brain to figure out how to entertain the kids or what to make for dinner. When I did finally make that decision, the idea of actually pulling it together was a whole other challenge. It was a bit of a “personal rough patch”, if you will.
I don’t mention the trip to brag about what an incredible husband I have, although for this little stunt, he deserves ALL the brags. What this gift of time did for me is remind me to take care of myself. Not once every ten years, and not necessarily for an entire weekend, but find those moments before the fog settles in to step away, and do what it takes to come back to myself. As mothers it’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing that the best way to perform our job as such is to give ALL we have to our family. The flaw in that is, it’s not sustainable. We can’t give all away and still function in a healthy way. Now, that will mean different things for different people. Some will be fine with twenty minutes in the morning or a bubble bath at night, others with an occasional happy hour with girlfriends, while I have another good friend and mom of four that often takes off for whole weekends of solitude and restoration. Find what works for you and your family and make it happen. Find a way to start your day in a way that sets you up for success. Have the good breakfast you keep planning to figure out. Book that massage, the are lots of options that can make it quite cost effective, take the bubble bath, buy the shoes, that alone can do wonders. Meet the girlfriend for coffee, connection with others in the tribe is awesome food for the soul. Take the class be it, Zumba, pottery, piano, photography, cooking, acting, coding, fencing, knitting, WHATEVER…DO IT!!! You will be a better you, partner and mom for it.
When I came home from this glorious weekend, ironically, TJ immediately got the flu and was down for the count. (A weekend with those kids solo will wear a body out!) There was Theraflu to buy, dinner to make, and some serious attention to give to babygirl’s hair. But, it was fine because I was full. I was so happy and grateful to see and spend time with my kids. I had plenty to give. Now, I will admit, I naively thought I’d ease back into it, but nope, #momlife, in full effect, the moment I stepped foot in the door. I can’t say I’d have this cheery disposition had I not had that time away. As a matter of fact, I can with full confidence say that I absolutely would NOT. It’s very possible that I’d be furious with my husband for having nerve enough to get sick, and in we’d all be suffering in this house. Him sick, me tired, kids sick and tired of us both being sick and tired. We’ve all been there before, not fun. Don’t even get me started on the thirteen day flu of 2016.
So friends, please take care of yourselves. Needing some time away from your kids, or the regular day to day grind does not make you less caring or loving. It does not make you weak. As a matter of fact it makes you a genius and pillar of strength because you’re giving yourself what you need to keep going as your best self. Now for some ol’timey granny type wisdom, A car won’t run without fuel and proper maintenance, and neither will you! Put your oxygen mask on first ladies, so you have enough breath to help someone else. Them being corny and cliche doesn’t make them any less true.