The art of getting away

The art of getting away How busy moms can take time for themselves and recharge.

The writer contemplates nature – and appreciates the silence and personal space afforded by her travel companion (photo credit: LAURA BEN-DAVID)
The writer contemplates nature – and appreciates the silence and personal space afforded by her travel companion
(photo credit: LAURA BEN-DAVID)
Work. Spouse. Home. Kids.
It’s hard. It’s really hard.
Moms are moms, spouses, professionals, homemakers, chefs, caretakers, schedule coordinators etc. etc. etc., before they are people.
With all that we need to do, and everyone who depends on us, before we even make decisions, we’re exhausted by them. We must weigh the pros and cons, balance it all on our shoulders, and then live with the consequences.
Taking time for ourselves is a luxury.
And by time for ourselves, I do not mean an hour at the gym. I mean the time and space to be the individual we are independent of our kids, spouses and jobs.
I try to take time for myself. Really.
Sometimes I’ll try to steal a few hours and go to the beach, or even just not answer the phone/email for a bit (gasp).
But mostly, like the rest of us, I just keep going and somehow it mostly gets done.
(Even if I do run out of milk, nearly miss an appointment, or forget that my child needed to bring a citrus fruit to school that morning.) But I do feel the need to unwind and recharge, to lower the stress level and remember why we keep pushing ourselves so hard.
For a while, I’ve wanted to get away with a friend. Why a friend? Because even if your partner is your best friend in the world, you are still focused on pleasing that person, on compromising, and making sure they are happy. If you have kids, being away with your spouse also means that someone else has to take care of them and that will weigh on you while you are away. I wanted a total escape knowing that I wouldn’t have to worry at all about the kids and that I could do the things I liked to do with someone who liked them too.
I discussed it with a friend and while we both really wanted to do it, all the necessary details seemed insurmountable: finding days that worked for both of us, and making sure the kids were covered, etc. But somehow – and I’m still not quite sure how – we made it happen! I don’t think either of us actually thought it would happen until we were on our way.
My husband was awesome and arranged his schedule so that he could do morning carpool.
Friends helped out on the other end and my older kids took care of the younger for the few hours between school and dad.
I admit that for the first hour or so I felt very guilty for leaving.
My friend did too as someone in her family wasn’t feeling well. We commiserated in guilt, and then together we let it go.
It was a short trip – two days, one night – but it was absolutely perfect and just what we needed. Without question, the main reason it was so awesome was b e c a u s e of who we went with.
There are rules to getting away.
I’m going to share them with you and you should pass them on to others, because getting away in this way recharges your batteries and revitalizes your soul, so when you get back home you can keep going after a long day. And this is something we all need.
Go with someone you really like to be around.
OK, this is probably the most important suggestion. You’re going to be spending time with this person – in the car or plane, engaged in activities and all decisions. You need to like this person. You need to be able to talk honestly with this person and you need to trust this person. There’s no getting around this one.
Go with someone who enjoys the same things you do.
It’s possible, I suppose, to go with someone who likes different things, but then you’ll need to compromise or do separate things. Then, you might worry about insulting them or offending them.
In short, you’re back in that mode of pleasing someone else. Avoid that.
Of course, if you encounter something that she wants to do and you don’t, take her picture for her!
Go with someone who appreciates silence and personal space.
I can’t stress this enough. Sometimes you just need silence. Silence is a beautiful, gorgeous thing that is less and less available as responsibilities increase.
Being with someone who needs to talk, or who always has the music on, or who needs to be on the phone all the time is… well... it kind of defeats the purpose.
You need your peace and she needs hers.
What a glorious thing it is when two people can carve out their individual space, side by side, without stealing it from each other.
• Go with someone who finds splendor in the same things you do.
I can’t count the number of times I remarked on the beauty of the places we visited. I nearly annoyed myself, except that it really was that incredible and I couldn’t stop myself from expressing it.
Every step brought more splendor, more color, more scents which made the experience simply divine. Having someone who agreed, who saw what I saw, and appreciated it? An absolute gift.
• Go with someone who is chilled and can go with the flow when plans don’t work out.
OK, this is really important. It rained.
It got potentially dangerous. And I nearly got the car stuck in mud (at various times during the trip). And all the while, we assessed the situation, weighed the options and made decisions together.
Then we didn’t look back. We supported one another. She directed me over sharp rocks which could have killed the car, and I held her hand over a very high bridge. It was an absolutely perfect getaway even in its imperfect moments.
We breathed deeply. We turned our faces to the sun. We sat in silence and we laughed out loud. We were waylaid by goats and terrified by boars. We lived and loved every minute.
And now, thrust back into the daily grind, we can relive every minute and savor every memory. If you have the chance, go! Seize it and don’t look back.
Even one night can be the total recharge you need. But do make sure that you keep these rules in mind: stay chilled and make sure someone brings a good camera!