Why ditching our families is a radical act of self-care

If you’re anything like me, you’re pretty much thrilled when the summer comes to an end because the kiddos head back to school.

Yes, our hearts are full of wonderful summer memories made, but our nervous systems are shot from the overstimulation and constant “being on” that kids and summer requires of us during summer “vacation”.

So this year I did something crazy just as school started up again: I found my courage, ditched my family, and gifted myself a Labor Day weekend completely alone.P I N this to pinterest

Why might this be courageous, you may be wondering? Because I could have found a zillion excuses as to why this was a bad idea. I could have let guilt wash over me, “Good moms and wives don’t ditch their families for 3 nights to go be alone right at the start of back-to-school”. But I didn’t.

In giving myself this gift, I took my frazzled, over-stimulated self into a place of quiet so I could come home rejuvenated and ready for the new year. I knew this. My husband knew this.

Except I wasn’t expecting what happened to happen.

But before I go there, let’s recap some of the highlights from this experience:

  • Being alone (duh, isn’t that enough? I know!!)
  • Not having to take care of anyone else (do you know how good this feels for a change?)
  • Eating when I want (following my own natural schedule)
  • Eating exactly what I want without anyone complaining!
  • Not being interrupted while enjoying my coffee, wine, journaling, reading, creating, sleeping, showering, shopping, cooking, and just being there in silence…
  • Feeling freer and more authentic than I have felt in months and months!
  • Feeling playful and goofy and 100% untethered
  • Feeling completely in spiritual alignment
  • Noticing the nature around me like never before: butterflies, birds, ladybugs, leaves, trees, the wind, the smell in the air
  • Moving as slowly or as quickly as I wanted throughout my day

And finally…

  • Being able to sit in silence and not worry when it would end, when my peace would be disrupted or interrupted. I could really be in the moment more fully without this anticipation. It was so interesting to notice how in anticipating the arrival of a child home, the questions, the demands, the noise, the beautiful energy of our kids…it all plays into how we can live “on edge” to a certain extent…always “ready” to be in response to someone else.

What I wasn’t expecting in all of this glorious alone time was in discovering how unconsciously we live “in anticipation of” being interrupted, being asked to adjust our plans, not having things work out as we hoped, having to intervene, having to slow down, etc. In and of themselves, none of these are bad. To the contrary, we need to be able to go with the flow if we want to have any semblance of “succeeding and enjoying” parenting.

My surprise was more in the awareness I developed while being completely alone that I live in this unconscious way most of the time. And I’m guessing you do too. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s normal. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. It just is.

But this confirms my belief even further that when we’re alone on our own, we reconnect to our deepest selves. We reconnect to our own rhythms that aren’t dictated by anyone else. We lower the noise, amp up the quiet, and are able to hear the whispers of our own needs and desires.

P I N this to pinterestSo let’s just acknowledge how differently we can experience life when we’re not living unconsciously “in anticipation of”. When we can live for moment after moment in a state of being. I feel calmer and quieter just typing that! The question now becomes, how do I bring that into my “regular” life?

My weekend away nourished me like nothing else I have done in a very long time. It allowed me to stop being Mom and reconnect to me, Marieke. My own desires, wishes, dreams, and schedule. It was total and utter freedom.

Our hearts and lives are so beautifully entangled with our children’s. We wouldn’t trade the love and experience of motherhood for anything.

But trading in the caring of others, even for a short time, to focus solely on yourself is life changing. And frankly, it’s also a declaration that says, “Hey, my own needs matter. My connection to myself as a complete woman (not just a mom) matters. I matter!”

I came home so radiant that my husband suggested I do this every quarter. Didn’t see that one coming either!

I think the most beautiful thing to come out of this experience is that not only am I coming home nourished and replenished, but my family reaps the rewards from my experience as well. I am modelling for my daughters how to ask for what they need and that no one else is responsible for my needs but me. I’m my best advocate and it’s up to me to make sure my needs are met, even when it means taking a “leave of absence” for a few days from my life as Mom.

And the cherry on top is that in caring for myself, I can ultimately care for them even more deeply. And that fills my soul right up!

Here’s a selfie video I took while away on my weekend alone. It’s about giving ourselves the permission to want to be alone and that nothing has to be wrong in your life to want alone time! Go get it, as I say! 😉


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  • Marieke
    I love everything about this. Thank you. Resonates deeply. And those pictures. Perfect. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    Love Julie xoReplyCancel

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