I spent this past weekend in Big Bear with 14 other ladies at a scrapbooking retreat. It. Was. Awesome. So much laughter. Lots of memories relived. Lots of talking about kids and spouses. Some wine, lots of yummy food, a couple of walks by the lake. After an insanely busy 3+ weeks, it was exactly what I needed.
One of the hardest things for me to learn as a new mom was that it was/is very necessary to take care of myself. I need time to just be me, because there is more to me than being a wife and mom. I am more than the daily grind of laundry, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and care taking. The first few weeks of summer, I was completely on….two trips with the kids, on my own. Then twelve people rolling through my house over 12 days for the family reunion. I was totally tapped out. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of our travels and the reunion. I was just exhausted, completely drained. My patience was at an extreme low. I was in desperate need of a break.
That may sound bad to some – that I needed to get away from my beautiful family for a few days. But I have learned that in order to be able to give, I need time to refill and refuel. I need time away where I’m not thinking about what I’m going to feed my lovies for dinner, not worried about Little Man losing it when I have to run errands, not staring at dishes in the sink or laundry in the basket. I need time with my friends, laughing, talking, eating, drinking, reading, sleeping peacefully in a bed not overtaken by dogs and kids.
Since it is a weekend of scrapbooking, I spend much of it staring at Spouse and my babies’ faces. And since we are wives and moms, we spend a lot of time talking about our families. I sat at my table very late Saturday night, laughing til I cried at a story one of the women was telling. I felt all the stress, anxiety, and exhaustion lifting. I hadn’t realized just how completely I had been emptied out over the course of the last six months. I literally felt my heart grow lighter, the muscles in my body loosen even as my face and abs hurt from smiling and laughing so much.
When I got home, I heard my children storming down the stairs to greet me. I was so happy to see them again, and felt more than ready to be mom once again, to put the “just me” to the background and re-assume my roles of home. That doesn’t mean perfect mom has replaced my ragtag mom status. It just means I have more to give, because I took the time to refuel and refill.