The last few years have taught me a lot on the importance of self care. Especially as a mother. When you become a mom one of the first things you do is lose your self identity. You are no longer you, you are “mommy.” Next thing you lose is your time for yourself. After than your life is completely wrapped around your family and its needs. This really is the norm for mothers in our culture. We don’t even give it a second thought. We are just “mommy” and that’s it. Sadly as bad as this is for us mothers, we do it anyway. We really do not have a choice because who else is going to do what we do for our families??
I really got into focusing on self care after dealing with a terrible break up and very long custody battle. I was losing myself so badly that depression was starting to get the best of me. I had to basically hit almost rock bottom before I learned that I have to take care of myself, first. You can’t take care of anyone else if you fail to take care of yourself. It’s impossible. A lot of times women believe they are being selfish if they decide to take some time to focus on themselves. That is the farthest thing from the truth. The better you care for yourself the better you will be for your family. When you practice self care you are in a much better mental space. A happier mom makes a happier family, a healthier one too. Plus when you practice self care you become stronger.
Self care was something I never even heard of until I was an adult. I never once remember my mom ever taking a momcation. In fact I don’t ever really remember her taking any time for just herself. I also know that my mom had a lot of stress and probably could have used a momcation more that once. I think momcations are a relatively new phenomenon however, I am here to tell you, do it. YOU NEED A MOMCATION!
I decided a few months ago that for my birthday I was going give myself a momcation. A beach momcation, on a tropical island. And that is exactly what I did. I know the first thing many moms are thinking is, “I can’t afford a momcation.” You can’t afford not to. Your mental health depends on it. No one said you had to take an expensive momcation. A momcation can be a staycation at a local hotel. The point is to go be by yourself. No spouse, no kids, no obligations. Just be by yourself for a few days.
Really when was the last time you were by yourself? (Chances are, if you are a mom you haven’t even been to the bathroom by yourself lately.) Do you even remember who you are? Who are you? Since I have been on this momcation alone without having to feed anyone, put sunscreen on anyone else, take anyone to the bathroom, figure out what “we” are doing for the day… I have been able to just be myself. I can’t remember the last time I was alone for this long to the point where I could focus on doing exactly what I wanted to do at anytime I wanted. If I wanted to take a nap, I took a nap. If I wanted to go for a swim, I went for a swim. If I wanted to sit and write uninterrupted for four hours, I sat and wrote for four hours uninterrupted. The point is, I was left with the mental freedom to only focus on giving myself what I wanted. That’s something moms often cant do, have mental freedom. We are constantly thinking about our family’s needs. That is mental labor and it becomes a burden over time. And the problem with that is that if we continue to carry that mental burden and don’t recharge ourselves eventually we burn out.
A momcation allows you to be just “you” again. Someone you may have forgotten since becoming a mom because you have been so focused on taking care of and maintaining your household. But you need to be “you”. When you don’t take time to recharge and take care of yourself you become unhappy. This happens slowly over time, but eventually we find ourselves snapping at our children, tired all the time, forgetful, unmotivated, and sometimes just depressed and often wondering “what is wrong with me?” It’s because you have been taking care of everyone else and completely forgotten to take care of yourself. You have been drained of all of your energy and you have nothing to replenish it.
You deserve a break. You deserve time to yourself. You deserve to be happy.
Replenish yourself. Take a momcation!
But who will take care of your family while you are gone? If you are married your spouse will survive a few days without you. Don’t try to do everything for them before you go. Let them figure it out. Because once you take a momcation I promise you it will become a part of your regular self care. So it’s best your family figure out how to survive without you for a few days anyhow. If you are a single mom then go when your children are with their dad or even ask a relative if they can keep your little ones for a couple of days, or even a close friend. Your babies will survive at the grandparent’s or auntie’s house without you for a few days. Just make sure you leave your little ones with someone you trust. And don’t worry, a momcation doesn’t mean you can’t talk to your children daily. I have been talking with my mini me every day. Staying connected is fine, just make sure that once you hang up the phone you go back to focusing on you.
I also understand that most people can’t just drop everything and take a break for financial reasons. However you can plan to take a break. Planning gives you time to budget and it also gives you something to look forward to. I know finances are the concern of many. Simply sit some money aside for your momcation. If you plan for it and budget for it, when you take your momcation you won’t be stressed about the financial impact. Plus again a momcation doesn’t have to be expensive. With groupon and travel sites now, mini vacation deals are everywhere, especially local ones. Just regularly check groupon and travel sites for deals. You may even find something for a couple hundred dollars or less. The point is to go be alone. Of course if you want to take the tropical vacation like I did or even a foreign vacation, simply set your budget and wait. I budgeted for a vacation and checked flight deals daily until one showed up that was in the budget.
After being here for a week I feel like I am myself again. Just Kai. Not mommy. That’s the point of a momcation. Find you again. Love you again.