Parents, answer honestly: when is the last time you really got away? Like, really got away?
Go ahead. I’ll wait. And I don’t mean dinner with friends, a date night with your significant other, or a quick weekend away.
That sets you back a minute, eh? I’ll keep waiting.
I'd venture to say that few of us have ever truly gotten away. I travel a few weekends a year for work and with friends. These are definitely luxuries in terms of a mama getaway, but I don’t consider them rejuvenating. I travel for conferences, press trips, or two nights away that tend to be more actual travel time than anything. (Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn these trips down and I'm certainly not complaining!)
But I recently went on an incredibly indulgent trip: six nights out of the country with my best girlfriend. I was gone. Across the pond. A very different time zone. A very different life. And, get this, we went to see rock shows. Yup. This wasn’t a tourist trip. I’m talking unsensible shoes and all my make-up. This was a purely indulgent trip about me.
I didn’t really think twice about it until a conversation with a friend after I'd returned. We ran into each other at the grocery store. She looked at me wide-eyed and exclaimed, “Your trip!” She commented on how much fun it looked like I had. (Thank you, social media.) And then she got this look in her eye… like an idea. She said, “If you can do that, I can do that, too. You’ve inspired me.”
We love our children, but parenting is hard. It takes up time, money, and all of our energy. It is exhausting both mentally and physically -- no matter what the age of our kids. The days are sometimes long, but the weeks go fast and the years seem to fly by. Eventually, we likely wonder, "when did we lose ourselves?" And then we wonder, “how can I tap back into those things I loved before I became a parent?”
For me, that means traveling around the country to my favorite rock shows. It meant a trip across the Atlantic to my favorite European city.
So what is your "thing"? What is something you love that you did before you had kids, but mostly gave up after? What do you miss? It doesn’t have to be a big trip like mine, but it needs to be something you can escape to, or into, on a regular basis. This is my challenge to you: Find something you love, something seemingly unparent-like, and make it yours again.