Married life, children, a career, community service…that’s just the beginning of the list of responsibilities that I have. At some point not too long after my youngest son was born I realized I was just floating along. I was unhappy. I was doing “things” but nothing that truly brought me joy or a sense of purpose. I felt ashamed to admit it because I had a beautiful family, a great job and all the things that seemingly should have made me happy and fulfilled. But I wasn’t.
One day while talking with my oldest friend, she let slip that she, too, was struggling. We realized as wives and mothers, we were giving so much to others and not reserving anything for ourselves. There were guilty feelings for leaving our little ones to do simple things we once enjoyed – pedicures, dinner with friends, even a trip to the library alone seemed difficult to plan out.
We decided to make ourselves a priority. More importantly, we decided to take time out for ourselves at least once every three months by planning a girls weekend away. Yes – we went big quick. We reached out to three other mothers and our circle was quickly formed. We planned our first girls’ weekend and had a blast! Some went out to dinner, some enjoyed the beach and some of us used the time to just enjoy the solitude. I read an entire novel – uninterrupted. I got up when I wanted and went to sleep when I was ready not because I fell asleep rocking a teething toddler or nodded off talking to my husband.
It’s been almost 4 years and we still regularly get together. There are times when everyone can’t make it and that’s okay. Our circle has grown close – we’ve confided in one another, prayed and worshiped together, celebrated, mourned, cried, laughed and just been there for each other.
We each experienced different reactions from our husbands and families. Thankfully, my mother got it. She’d been there at one point and didn’t have an outlet. She encouraged me to take time for myself and that meant the world to me. My husband saw an immediate change in my personality and realized how important those weekends were to keeping me balanced. I am beyond thankful for that.
There are times I felt guilty about having “fun” without my children. The year after I had my daughter I decided to sit out our weekends because I just couldn’t leave her that young. I have awesome friends! They understood my mommy moments and planned our get togethers in my hometown and the town where my parents lived so I could still spend time with them without being away from my little one.
Having time to yourself is essential. As a wife and mother I am constantly pulled in so many different directions and it’s normal to put Michelle at the bottom of my priority list. My time away is used for relaxation and rejuvenation. It has, also, helped me see how important self-care is and force myself to carve out time for Michelle during my day – whether it’s on my lunch break, before my family gets up or after they have all turned in for the day. Enjoying my “me-time” helps me cherish and enjoy my family time so much more.
Let’s Talk About It:
Do you have regularly scheduled me-time?
What is your self-care routine to ensure you do not burn out?