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Have you ever had one of those days when everything seems to be driving you crazy? The kids are bickering, your husband seems like a lazy sod and the pile of washing is gaining to Everest proportions.
You just want to run. You want to leave it all behind and let the family sort it all out for themselves.
While you’re folding the laundry, you dream of dipping your toes in the ocean as you lazy back on your beach chair. You’re sipping an adult beverage with an umbrella in it while the sun warms your tired body.
Maybe you dream of being curled up on a couch under a blanket, reading a book that’s been on your list forever. All you can hear is the crackling of the nearby fire. It’s quiet. Peaceful.
So what’s stopping you from packing your bags?
Seriously. What’s stopping you from taking off for a few days on a solo retreat? No, it’s not a ‘snortable’ question.
It’s a serious one.
I’ve taken my share of solo retreats away from my family over the years. I will tell you that not only does my family survive without me, it brings us closer. They learn what it’s like to survive on their own for a few days without ‘dear old Mum’ and I return a happier mother. Much happier. One that is more at peace and certainly more relaxed!
Recently I took a trip to the Kangaroo Valley, about a 90-minute drive from home in Sydney. As I drove down into the valley, I had the windows down, the tunes blaring and I felt something I hadn’t felt in a very long time:
Happiness. Freedom. Independence.
Happy Mother, Happy Family Life
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. But they need time away from me as much as I need time away from them.
I have a seventeen-year-old daughter whom I’m punchy-proud of. She’s in her last year of high school and will be heading to university next year. You’d think that with this limited time, I’d be spending as much time with her as I can. And I do, like on this road trip.
But tensions are high with exams coming up and she needs to focus on studying without the nag-reel from Mum. I get that.
As for my husband, we are together 24/7. As travel writers, we spend a lot of time together. By spending a few days apart, we can focus completely without interruption. It allows us to reflect on our time together. It helps us appreciate each other more.
Yet, as a mother and wife, I also understand the challenges of time, money, and commitments.
We always seem to put ourselves last on the priority list, don’t we? But I’ve learned, when I’m feeling at my wit’s end, it’s time to escape by myself for a while. It’s time for a solo retreat.
When it comes to the time challenge, I make the time. Someone once said to me that in order to raise happy kids, they have to have a happy mother.
How to fit solo parent retreats into the budget
As for money, I get creative. I’m actually really frugal, but sometimes I find a spa retreat is worth the splurge. A facial. A massage. Sleep. Oh yes, pure bliss.
When money is tight, I find Holiday or Caravan Parks are just the ticket. In Australia, most offer villas or cabins. They are usually in prime locations and often reasonably priced. I can retreat in a holiday park and be perfectly happy. I can take solitary strolls on the beach. I can read books at night, as I listen to the waves lapping the shore nearby.
Or, just as peaceful, hear nothing but the breeze rustling the trees outside.
When Holiday Parks don’t work out, or if I just want somewhere where I don’t have to cook, I find a hotel room. I watch for sales through travel sites and can usually find a bargain which offers the perfect solo retreat.
Then there are those scheduled commitments. We all have them. Work. The kid’s soccer games. Early classes. Appointments. Suddenly you look on your calendar and the month is booked out.
Yet, it goes back to the mindset a friend once told me:
“No one else is responsible for your happiness but you.”
Unplug from the guilt because you’re worth at treat
So, I find time on my calendar to schedule a solo retreat. I go whenever I need to take the time to find that happiness again.
As mothers, we see taking time for ourselves as selfish. One that riddles us with guilt.
Do I feel that guilt as I pack my bag? Sure. Every single time. Do I pre-make meals to make it easier on my family? Yep. Guilty as charged. And yet, as I’m driving away, I remind myself that this is my mental maintenance.
Escaping for a few days is worth more to me than a therapy session. Certainly cheaper than retail therapy (at least for me!). It’s worth my time. It’s worth spending money on. And worth the commitment to my own peace and happiness.
Because, as L’Oreal says:
“Because I’m worth it!”®
So, when are you taking time for yourself and scheduling a self-retreat?
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3 thoughts on “Why Your Mental Maintenance Needs Nurturing as Much as Your Kids”
This is exactly what I needed today! I just returned from a week of camping with my son, which was amazing, but I am longing for a few days to myself! Thank you for the encouragement that caring for myself is important too!
I often find, after travelling with my family, that as much as I love that time with them, I just want to just drop them off at home and keep going somewhere else on my own! =) I totally understand where you’re coming from. But yes, you are important too. It actually took me a long time to realise that I don’t have to have my world falling apart in order for me to take that time for myself.
Very good! I really need to travel and take some vacation time with my husband. The day-to-day running ends up choking our plans and we really need to invest in ourselves!