Last weekend I flew off for a weekend away to attend a Power of Moms Retreat. I want to remember it all. I tried my best to soak up every single moment. From the bustle of the airport to meeting up with my friend Sarah at the baggage claim. Trekking and finding out what our mystery rental car was and driving 2 hours in the dark across the state to our quaint home away from home for three days.
My anxiety was high regarding the whole leaving Sydney thing. My anticipation was huge because I haven't really done this big of a get away since the kids were born. My expectations were enormously high and I was so afraid I would be disappointed - since I had built so much up in my head about what I wanted to take away from this weekend. I also had a lot of fear...I was afraid that hanging out with some amazing women who were deliberate about their parenting would leave me feeling like a not great mom. BUT - the weekend was wonderful and met expectations. And the take away...has been so radical. There was not a single moment when I questioned my mothering choices. Instead I felt empowered to take what I already do and tweak and challenge myself to find more joy and more intention in all the ups and downs.
The friend that asked me to join her on this adventure is my friend Sarah. We met in college. She is the one who introduced me to the world of blogging. I have MANY great friends. Many great mom friends. Sarah is one of my favorite people to talk to about being a better mom. I really feel so alike in the things we want to get out of this season in our lives. We don't see each other often or AT ALL - once a year if we are lucky. But we text, email, and stay connected with our blogs. All three nights we sat up until at least midnight talking about everything we learned and heard during the day. We talked about our families and all the things that are so important these days as moms. It was my favorite thing about the whole trip.
The rental car we received after signing up for the mystery car...and some sweet talking and flashing of our mama smiles...
We requested that we just really hoped for something a little more fun and that a minivan would not do...since that is our vehicle of enjoyment at home. When we turned on the car the song that was playing was....I am not kidding : Girls just wanna have fun! How crazy is that! Kicking off a girls weekend with that.
We drove 2 hours into New Hampshire, mostly in the dark, so we really didn't know where we were or what the landscape looked like. Waking up we found we were in the cutest New England town, RIGHT on the water! Friday morning was our one free morning. We got up and walked the town, sipping lattes, and shopping. My friend Sarah even bought a pair of shoes! We had lunch and then headed over to the house where the retreat was being hosted.
This is just their summer home. It is right on a beautiful lake. It has 8 + bedrooms...one for each of their children to return home to each August. The amazing mother that hosted has 7 boys and one girl. She had many wise words for us and was so gracious to let us explore her house. I told her, "I could be a really great mom in this house!" She laughed.
The gals that I hung out with all weekend are these fine ladies! They were from all over the country. I enjoyed meeting two moms from New York City...and when I say New York city, I mean New York City. They live in apartments with three kids and two bedrooms. They don't own cars and walk everywhere. One of them road the subway to the hospital because taxi cabs don't always want to stop for VERY pregnant women.
During the day we sat in a cozy living space and because there were only about 20 women we could easily discuss and share our thoughts and ideas. Again, it wasn't so much about walking away with crock pot recipes...even though I did walk away with some cookbook ideas, an oatmeal recipe, and a green smoothie to try. It wasn't so much about sharing little things we do with our children or specific discipline solutions. It was more about the big picture and a way of thinking that has you reacting to your child's behavior, enjoying your days the best way that fits you, choosing what is important, and finding confidence in the mother that you are for your children.
Each day we took time to walk the area surrounding the home. It was breathtaking and beautiful. And very midwest - yet, I rarely take strolls without watching one running ahead and one lagging behind and one crying in the stroller. Walking with other women, discussing our children's names and what we like to do for "me time" was awesome.
Sarah and I celebrated the retreat with a fun seafood dinner and shared a bottle of wine on Saturday night. We talked and laughed and realized that we wanted the feeling we were heading home with to last. And I am so glad that I attended with a friend who I can go to and be reminded of some of the thoughts and ideas that we soaked in.
It has been a super busy week with the Halloween festivities going on. But I have felt soooo much more content, happy, and relaxed. I have felt deliberate in the choices I have made this week for our social. We have family coming into town and I have not let cleaning be the focus - because I know they are coming to see us and not how everything has it's place in our house. I have kept myself from the computer and phone during the morning and evening times when Charley is home. I have gone to bed earlier and risen more happy. A friend said she can tell I am happy this week. I am. I told Ed that I feel like that weekend was SO good for my soul and I want to remember it and I want it to last. And I can tell he can see it too. Of course I can't go on motherhood retreats monthly but, I can etch out some time for myself, talk more positively with friends about this important job that I am doing during this season in my life, and I can find other ways to refresh and rejuvenate as a woman and mama.
The job of a mother is 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week...and even if you fly across the country and distract yourself with girlfriend time...you are still thinking of your job and your family all the time. The guilt is enough to keep us home, stopping us from getting away and giving ourselves a break. And every parent deserves a break, a chance to step back. Because when you step back and have space you are really able to see how awesome your life is, how lucky you are, and how you are filled to the brim with gratitude.
Someone said at the retreat,
"Motherhood is not a chore to be endured, but a gift to be treasured."
I hope that my ability to treasure more of this season in my life can be shared with those around me.
You too can be inspired by just visiting their website here.
For the Love of Naps - Sarah