By: Jen Traynor
A few months ago I came across a blog post where the author talked about taking a momcation – some time away on her own without her kids or her spouse. As I read about how she took a vacation all by herself I couldn’t help but think about how I would love to do this! Now, unfortunately I was not able to plan a full on, get out of town for a few days, vacation for myself, but I did make arrangements for one night away.
And so began my 24 hour break. As I drove away from the house on my way to the GO train station I found myself feeling a little bit sad thinking about how much I was going to miss my kids.
But as I sat on the train heading to downtown Toronto I thought about how much I needed this break for myself. This was not just a temporary break from my responsibilities as a mom – I cannot call it a break from motherhood because even when I’m not with my kids I am a mother – but it was also a break from the everyday stresses of life. It was an opportunity to focus on me, just me, and have some time to relax, reflect and rejuvenate.
My plan for this experience was to not have too much of a plan (which for someone like me, that in itself is a challenge because I’m a planner!) Aside from making hotel reservations, the only other thing I planned was an appointment to get a manicure. After all, this mama could use a little pampering! Plus, it’s been almost two years since I’ve had a manicure. At the last minute I also ended up making plans to meet a good friend of mine for dinner. She’s also a busy mom of two and decided she wanted to join me for this break, even if it’s just for a few hours.
The manicure was nice! I used that time to just clear my mind, which is always so cluttered with thoughts. What am I going to make for dinner tonight? Did I pay all the bills? I have to remember to bring more pull-ups to my daughter’s daycare. My son needs to bring his bathing suit to day camp tomorrow. Did I take the laundry out of the dryer? Did I start the dishwasher? And so on, and so on…
It was good to take some time to switch off those thoughts. It doesn’t always come easy for me, and is something I definitely need to keep practicing. But this time, I was able to do it and I found myself thinking back on a time in my life when writing was all I wanted to do. I was going to be an author and publish books. My dream was that simple. However, life hasn’t brought me to that point yet and lately I have found myself wondering how I got on the path I am on now. Over the years I have kept making excuses or coming up with reasons to put my dream of writing a book on hold. But I haven’t given up on that dream, and in a way it’s coming to fruition. I am a writer now, albeit as a blogger, but I’m writing regularly again and I love it! Perhaps this is the path I was always meant to take?
Dinner with my friend Sarah was awesome! It was just what this gal needed…an old friend to laugh with and swap stories about our kids, reminisce about younger, more carefree days, eat yummy food and drink great wine! Life for me since becoming a mom has been one with less socializing with friends. It is something that has been missing from my life. Parenthood can take up so much of your time and energy, so it’s easy for a normal social life to fall by the wayside. But in the past several months I have been making an attempt to get together with friends more often. I have been reminding myself that I am not just a mom, I’m Jen. I love being a mom, caring for my kids and watching them grow, but I also like having drinks with friends, going to the movies, trying a new restaurant, and having a conversation that doesn’t involve what happened on the episode of that kids show I’ve now watched for the thousandth time.
Having a big comfy king bed to myself was fabulous! No tiny limbs kicking, elbowing or jabbing me in my head, neck, side, back…well, you get the picture. And I didn’t have to sleep on a tiny sliver of the bed! Nope, I was able to spread out and get comfortable! I thought that I would drift off to sleep quickly, but oddly enough I lay awake for a while. Usually this is because of those pesky thoughts that clutter my brain but this time it was just because I found myself listening to my surroundings. I could hear the faint city sounds outside, I could hear some people still coming and going from their hotel rooms and in between all of that there was silence. No hum from the baby monitor that sits on my nightstand, no sound of small feet making their way to my room and into my bed or the soft, rhythmic breathing of one of my kids beside me. The silence was soothing yet I drifted off to sleep with thoughts of missing what I normally hear at bedtime.
I woke up to a beautiful sunny day and decided to go for a walk to find somewhere to have breakfast. I found a great place and opted to sit on their patio. It was wonderful to enjoy the fresh air, admire the city view and take in the faint sounds of the city before it gets bustling and noisy later. I’ve never gone out for breakfast by myself before. I thought I would feel awkward, but instead I felt relaxed and at ease.
I went back to my hotel room to enjoy some more quiet time to write before checking out and heading home. I found myself realizing what this break gave me. Yes, I got to pamper myself a little, have some fun social time with a friend and enjoy some peaceful relaxation, all of which were much needed for this mama. But this mini vacation also gave me some clarity. The dream that I had all those years ago to be an author…it’s time to stop putting it on hold. I’m going to start writing that book. I don’t know how long it will take me or if it will ever get published but I am going to do it. It’s time to finally make my dream come true.