It all began when my husband returned from his annual mountain biking trip. During a reunion dinner of storytelling, rehashed crash descriptions and a declaration of lost manhood found after a Heli Drop with bikes and man, one of the husbands asked why we wives wouldn’t take a weekend away for ourselves. Silence rang its loudest bell around the table as we stared at each other grasping for something intelligent to say. We all knew the answer ran much deeper than: “I have a lot of laundry to get done.” There were many other profounder resounding reasons why women won’t leave children, husbands, and home for a weekend get-a-way.
Knowing this, my only witty comeback at the time was: “I don’t need to go because I am not looking to re-claim my manhood.”
But what am I trying to claim?
Inner freedom, purpose, meaning in life. These are things I long for, strive for, and believe in…in-between the piles of laundry and endless to-do list.
As I pondered this dinner conversation, I decided the best thing to do was to ask some of my mom friends there opinion about this dilemma. I asked: What holds you back from taking time for yourself? And the opposing question: If you feel comfortable planning care-time for yourself, what motivates you to go and how do you plan it?
The number one answer to why women don’t go: Guilt.
First, moms are responsible and competent people. If you are a mom, you know what I am talking about. Nobody can organize, clean, get kids to school and activities on the right day and at the right time, all while balancing dinner plates on her head. Second, moms do not like to ask for help. It would be a sign of weakness, or incompetence as a mother. (You thought men were bad about asking for directions.)
The real reason women don’t go: Low self-worth.
If our worth in shaped by our ability to perform as a mother, we will never understand that the greatest gift we give others is to know our true identity through the eyes of Christ and to value our own self-care. As a mother, I feel I was created for caring and serving others. But a mother without a time to recharge becomes a dead battery. Have you ever tested a battery by touching it to your tongue? If it is dead, it has a real bitter taste. I don’t want to be a bitter-dead battery to my family, friends, and community. I want to be a women who is filled with passion for life, love, kindness, and grace. Those are traits of a women who takes care of herself and takes care of her soul.
If you haven’t taken time for yourself, take the leap.
It will feel awkward. There is no way around it. You have selflessly served without a break and it will not feel natural to take a break. You will be like a train jumping the tracks, but I promise the road is a good one!
It will take effort. Just the thought of planning your get-a-way may have your stopped dead in your tracks. I won’t lie to you, it will take work to organize your time away. But think of everything in your life that has ever had meaning…it took effort, it was work, it might have even been painful. Hmmm…sounds like child-birth! Completely worth it!
There will be fear that things will not be the same without you. I can guarantee you this will be true and this is a beautiful thing. Children, husbands, and care-givers have the opportunity to grow and explore outside your world and so do you!
The reward will be great! Self-care will provide you with the solitude and silence that renews your mind and spirit, giving you strength for days you need extra patience, love, and grace for those around you.
Take the leap with me. Look at your calendar right now. Even if the first opening is in six months, circle it in your favorite color! Call or email a friend to plan your adventure or spiritual retreat. And lastly, trust that those who have the privilege to care for your family and home in your absence will be blessed in immeasurable ways.
You can do it!