Last October I was kayaking with my best friend and her husband on a river in the Mont Tremble Park in Quebec. It was peaceful, wild and amazing all at the same time. For a moment, we stopped paddling and talking. Enjoying the silence of the woods, the quiet flow of the river and the fresh air on our skin.
No one around, no stress, no duty, nothing. Only us and the Canadian woods. I took a deep breath and felt lighter…
To all the mums who run behind schedule the whole week.
The ones who organize babysitters, housekeepers, birthday parties, pediatrician check-ups, and change the winter tires all within the same week.
The moms who, while driving, are mentally doing the grocery list, remembering to pay the bills and to call a friend to congratulate her on her new job.
To those who after their children´s bed time, reopen their laptops and continue working.
To all those mums who somehow manage to plan and do 20 things for the family within a day yet do not find the time to squeeze in one hour of sport or relaxation for themselves.
Yes you, this post is for you: take a break and get away for a couple of days. Alone.
For those who know me, I’m known for taking a “holiday from my life” once a year. I call it that because I literally take a break from everything. No family, no work, limited use of my smartphone, very limited use of Internet. Sometimes a friend joins me, depending on the situation, but last year I stayed away for four days, completely alone. The reason is explained above. Hundreds of things going on the whole week; work, family duties, ONG activities, social life … I love my life and I would not change it for anything in the world, but even for the most organized person sometimes it is simply too much.
The problem is that the energy is limited and at a certain point you start to wake up tired, even at the week end, your response to people is on the verge of yelling, your ability to cope with new unplanned events is reduced… Those are all signs that you need a break.
Even before being a mum I used to get away for a weekend with friends somewhere, leaving my lovely partner at home as well as work, Internet and mobile phone. You might think this is completely selfish.
And yes, I guess in part it is.
You cannot continuously run. You need to take a break, rest, think about what is important, make distance from some problems and come back to your life full of energy.
Here are the three main reasons why you need a break:
It is good for your work performance:
Legally we have at least 20 days of holiday in Switzerland and once a year we have to take at least two weeks in a row. This is because we all know too well that after a holiday we feel better, positive, full of new ideas. For a working mum, taking a break gives perspective on what is important. It helps to refocus and prioritize tasks and duties in order to be more efficient and be able to go home and not think (too much) about what it is left on her desk.
It is good for your family:
When mum feels good, everyone feels good. I think this is something we say in all languages and cultures. It is because it is true. A mum on the edge of her nerves, tired and frustrated, is not what a family deserves. Taking a break without your family is not that bad as is sounds. Your family will appreciate you even more when you are away for a couple of days. They will survive without you, trust me.
And the best thing is that when you come back everyone will be so happy and you get the best hugs ever!
It is good for you
Indeed. THIS IS GOOD FOR YOU!
You have to think about yourself. Taking the time to go for a walk alone (or with a friend), go check some shops without even buying anything, just for the pleasure of going in to a shop without being in a hurry. Take the time to read a book. Wake up when your body says you are rested. Make time to go to the hairdresser, have a face treatment, a massage, do meditation, an Ayurveda session… whatever will make you feel good. Having a moment to yourself will also help you to put things into perspective. Cool down from the stresses of the daily routine. Rethink what really matters. Relax and enjoy the fact you have a wonderful life and family. Accept the fact that you are doing the best for them and that’s why you deserve a little break.
When I’m back from such break, I always get interesting reactions. When speaking with men and dads they look at me like I’m half crazy. After five minutes of speaking to me, however, my smile and my energy is so contagious that at the end (I think) they agree it was a good idea. On the other hand, women and mums just jump on me with “Wow!” and “That is great!” and “I should do it too…” . Yes, of course you should because you deserve it!