For me this happened in late 2020 – with COVID-19 making us all staycation, I plunged into an abyss of despair and finally booked myself a short, solo getaway to Guerneville. It was the first time I had given myself permission to be away from my almost 2 year old wonder-child and her dad since she was born.
I booked a room for not one, but TWO nights – and during this time I did nothing but chill, read, sleep and stare out the window. That weekend I realized what is important, as I had an epiphany of sorts. Remember flying? “Please put on your mask first before assisting others.” I spent a full weekend just being Me, not a parent or a partner. I did not have to-do lists to deal with, no tears or tantrums (other than my own when seeing the closed doors of the pie and ice cream shop on the main street). I had breakfast, lunch, and dinner when and where I wanted and for as long as I wanted. I slept in and enjoyed my favorite tea while staring out of an amazing window overlooking trees and the river behind them.
Before having a baby, I was the one who always put myself first – massage here, spa there, nail salon every other week, etc. I took trips to see my bestie across the country or meet her half-way in the Grand Canyon for the weekend and relax from the daily “grind” of the life of a young female. My friends were curious how I was going to manage when the baby showed up. Well, she did not slow me and my husband down – we took her to Yosemite when she was 2 months old. Her first flight was before she turned 3 months, and then she visited 4 different countries. We had all these great visions of us traveling a lot (until we were not…sad crying face).
After my solo trip, I established some new rules for myself and communicated them to my husband (who to his credit, fully supported me in continuing to practice self-care). Now I have a standing massage appointment every 3-4 weeks, I do nails to enjoy the fresh colors – even if I am the only one who appreciates them. I also try to go on a day hike by myself to clear my brain. A new thing I am trying this quarter – booking a room more often than every three to four months. It has taken therapy work and honest conversations with my fellow mom friends to get to a place where I know everyone around me will benefit from me being away. You should hear my baby girl squeal with joy when she sees me after even a night away.
The “mom guilt” society and we put on our own shoulders is real and only together can we start moving the needle to normalize the idea of taking the time, reclaiming the power and getting away for an hour, a day, a weekend. Moms’ sanity is the sanity of the whole family and the whole community! Start small or jump right in – you will be amazed how everyone around you starts getting creative on how to survive without you.
I am hoping other parents can share their ways of self-care in these times or maybe anyone else who took the plunge and went away can share if it was beneficial to them.
I am also sharing my journey to provide support and encouragement to anyone thinking or dreaming to get away for even a little bit. Let me know if you would like to connect!