I flew to Vegas on my own a couple of weeks ago to attend the WPPI photography convention. It’s the second time that I have left my daughter, who is three, on her own with her father while I fly internationally to indulge in one of my passions. It’s something that I’m deeply grateful to be able to do as I benefit from these experiences beyond words. I think every mother should experience this and the whole family benefits as a result. Happy mummy = happy family. I had lost sight of how positive the effects of my first trip had been, so this trip was a fantastic reminder that I want to share with all of you mothers reading.
The first time I left my daughter with her father was when she was two and I traveled to Italy for a 4 day yoga retreat with friends. Both times away, I was initially racked with guilt for leaving her and felt like a terrible mother. Then once I was able to let that go, I could indulge in the free time that I had so often yearned for and desperately needed. It was medicine for my soul.
I’ve realized when speaking to some mums, that they’ve never even considered doing this for themselves, let alone looked into the logistics of simply heading off to a hotel room for a well-deserved break. Time to reconnect to that woman they were before becoming a mother and indulging in their passions. The best bit is that there’s a lot more to be gained than just this alone.
What did I learn about myself?
On returning from my last trip I was aware of how much the polarity had shifted in my relationship with my husband and the dynamics in the house had changed for the better. By me stepping away from performing my roles everyone became aware of what I actually do on a day to day basis and there was a whole lot more love and appreciation being dished out. I was also able to see that my roles don’t necessarily have to be done by me and even better, there are other ways of doing them. So my way isn’t always the best way
My husband started doing more in the home (without me asking!) and having more consideration and thought when it comes to daily monotonous household decisions like meal planning and sticking a load in the washing machine. So instead of feeling like I constantly have to nag for things to happen, it turns out that the most effective way of getting them done is to simply step out of the picture for a few days!
What did it make me grateful for?
Prior to leaving I had spent hours fantasizing about this time on my own while I was doing monotonous tasks like folding laundry, doing the dishes or answering endless ‘why’ questions. The first 24 hours of being away I felt like I had a limb missing. I now had this time of freedom, yet strangely enough I missed caring for these two people that I love so deeply. It made me hugely grateful for the life that I live, despite the challenges and frustrations of parenthood. So with that gratitude in my heart for the life that I would return to I set out to embrace my time away. Immersing myself in the world of photography, embracing the adventure of solo travel, eating and sleeping when I wanted, having a long soak in the tub and reconnecting to the woman I knew before I took on the wonderful responsibility of being a mother. Medicine for the soul in many nourishing forms.
So if you’ve never taken some mummy time out for yourself I encourage you to do it! If your husband has never done the same, then encourage him to take that time too. I think we all need a break and a chance to reconnect to who we were before we became parents. Taking time to take stock of life, the future, hopes, fears and dreams.