I’m blessed beyond measure and I know this, but just to clarify, it’s not all sunshine and roses. It takes some creative arranging and discipline (which has not always been my strongest gift) to manage getting the job done and dealing with kids, homeschooling and single mamahood / rural farm girl living with a petting zoo full of animals.
I’m not complaining~ I’m just saying…
Anyhoo~ one of the things that my job requires is monthly trips to the office, which is 175 miles over a winding mountain road to the small coastal town where the company is located. At first, I found myself whining, which was lame, I know, but still I was thinking...
“Oh my gosh~ I have to drive over to the coast every month. How am I gonna figure out what to do with the kids and their transportation and activities and the animals? Waaaahhh, blah, blah, blah."
In the midst of my complaining (side note: I almost referred to my complaining as wanking, because for years, that’s what I thought it meant. But, I was informed by my teens that it has a very different meaning. Oops….That explains the strange looks I’ve gotten when using that term in public. Learning all the time indeed…..) So, I was inspired by something the lovely and wise Marie Forleo said about re-framing our thinking.
I realized “What the heck am I talking about? I get to go to the coast every month....”
Shortly after I’d come to that little mindshift of acceptance, a Super Smart Friend suggested that I make my next trip a solo one. Since my company had offered, Super Smart Friend said I should take them up on it, get a hotel and have some time to myself. I usually bring one or both kids and stay with a friend, on a couch etc. That’s fun too, but doesn’t generally lead to much sleep.
Super Smart Friend used the logic that I’d be better rested and therefore do a better job if I stayed alone. Plus, he told me I deserved it.
I’d never actually thought of it that way before, and it was honestly a pretty weird thought~
I deserve it? Hmmm...
I went ahead and booked the dates at a hotel, and arranged things to go on without me at home, but in the back of my mind, I could only justify it based on sleep needs in relation to being my most professional big girl self at work.
Then, as it so often happens, I came across just what I needed: a post from Beth Berry on the magic of treating herself to her first ever solo writing retreat, and that was just the extra nudge I needed to think of my solo business trip as an actual retreat.
I mean this was a gift~ a HUGE one! Two nights in a hotel all by myself~ I’ve traveled thousands of miles alone with my kids, and stayed in countless campgrounds, hostels and hotels, but I’ve never in my life actually splurged on a hotel room all to myself.
I had to work during the days, of course~ that’s what I was being paid for, but after the office closed, I went to my room by myself. I went and got whatever I wanted to eat, whenever and wherever I wanted to~ by myself.
I went to the hotel gym, which was conveniently empty, and read a book on the exercise bike. I soaked in the hot tub and read some more, and no one said a word to me.
I walked on the beach by myself, ate dinner on the bluffs by myself, spread out a bunch of art projects all over the giant bed which I later sprawled out and slept in by myself. I got coffee and ate breakfast all alone.
There was so much space~ both literally and figuratively.
The level of quiet was amazing. It was like magic. I created. I wrote. I thought.
To be alone with my thoughts, and not to even consider that someone else was going to wake up and talk to me~ wow ~ just wow.
This is the kind of thing moms never ever do, but friggen aye, I’m thinking that at this point in my life, I really should.
I came home happy and refreshed, ready to tackle the juggling act of kids and jobs and life on the farm.
So, big thanks to my Super Smart Friend for encouraging me to do this~ I never, ever would have on my own. Equally big thanks to my Awesome Employer for being such a great company to work for and bringing me to such a beautiful place.
I’m definitely going to do this again, and I highly recommend that everyone give it a try in whatever form you can manage. If your kids are little and an hour in the bookstore or coffee shop by yourself is all you can get away for~ friggen do it.
Everyone will be fine.
If your family is made up of non infants, and there’s any way you can pull off an over-nighter~ oh yeah~ you’ll be glad you did.