Let’s just get something straight from the outset, my family comes first. Without them, none of what I am would have meaning. Every move I make, every decision I make is based solely on how it will affect/benefit my family. My brain literally never stops working in this regard. Do I have the right ratio of proteins to carbs in this meal? Did my kids get enough sleep last night? Did I slip in to bed too late last night and wake my husband who has to get up so early? Have I been working too much? Am I working enough to meet those extra-curricular payments? The hamster wheel literally never shuts down.
And I know it’s the same for you. I talk with my girlfriends and with my peers and I know that whether or not we are our own worst enemies, does not change the fact that we carry a large burden. This is why I say to you, with every ounce of conviction I can muster, that you need to run away with your girlfriends. If only for a weekend.
I can tell you without a doubt that I am a better wife and mother because I do take the opportunity to recharge at least once a year with my girlfriends. It’s amazing how good it is for the soul to spend a weekend in the company of women you love, who are in the trenches with you and can relate to your stresses. If you’ve never run away from home before with your girlfriends, here are some tips for your girlfriend getaway.
Let Go of Your Guilt
The first time I went away without my family I was so consumed with guilt that I didn’t enjoy myself. I stressed about what they were eating, if they were brushing their teeth, if my husband would have too much work to do without someone there to help? I felt bad that I was away supposedly having a good time without them. Um, yeah, I got over that quickly. My family coped just fine. In fact, they had a damn good time, ordering pizza, ignoring the food pyramid, not making beds and basically getting a break just like I was supposed to be getting. Needless to say I don’t let the guilt get to me anymore. My husband is a great cook, my kids are responsible little people and although they miss me, they’re certainly not moping around the house when I’m gone, which brings me to my next point.
Get Over Yourself
It’s so easy to inflate our self-importance, especially when it comes to ruling the roost. We pay bills, plan meals, clean, do laundry, bring home some bacon, and good grief, your family would just be lost without your benevolent guidance for two full days. Puhleeze. While there is no doubt that our roles as mothers and wives is a crucial one, it’s amazing how well your house will run without you. Things will get done without you *gasp* or it won’t. Either way the world won’t fall apart in a weekend.
It’s Good for Your Health
I’m not kidding. Good friends are great stress relievers. They’re like psychiatrists/comedians/nurturers all rolled up. On a recent trip I revealed that I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night so stressed out that I can’t get back to sleep. I also shared how stress is starting to manifest itself in physical reactions…sore stomach, achy joints, etc. Sharing that with my girlfriends, revealed that they too were experiencing similar things and opened up a long discussion about how we all need to get that under control. It was the best group therapy session ever and we did it over really good wine and great food. Also, the adage “laughter is the best medicine” is true. If you’re not laughing your ass off when you get together with your friends, then you need to get new friends. It’s a health issue.
Keep the Bonds Strong
Life is a bowl of cherries and sometimes you get the pits my friend. That’s when your girlfriends show up and let you cry the ugly cry on their shoulder. They are your rock. The bonds that we have with our friends can become strained over time though. The demands of work and family, sometimes means friends can go adrift and then when you need someone who won’t judge that snot-bubble you just blew, you won’t have anybody. Setting aside dedicated time for your girlfriends, keeps the lines of communication open and it sends an even more powerful message. It tells them you love them.
Get a Little Crazy
I may or may not have done cartwheels in a maxi dress down a street on a recent getaway. The only people who know for certain are my girls and they’re not telling anyone. Nor will I be telling anyone about their antics. What happens on the girlfriend trips stays on the girlfriend trip. But these things are the fodder for years of inside jokes that will keep you chuckling for a long, long time. So, let yourself get a little crazy mama, you don’t have to get up early, your family is just fine without you and you are in great company. Go bungee jumping, ride the big roller coaster, have that extra drink. Give yourself 48 hours to just be you….only you, before you had your family. It’s fun to get in touch with that carefree soul every once in a while.
You wouldn’t work with no break for years and years, why should motherhood be any different? The only thing holding you back is you.