Welcome to our final offering in our new series, Quick Body & Soul Fixes! Today we tackle a biggie for busy moms everywhere. It ain't quick, but it is a fix…read on.
Ever feel like chucking your cell phone into a snow bank, taking to the road, and having a little uninterrupted time alone? Most of us feel this way sometimes, of course! But the guilt of leaving your family, and the brunt of schedules and responsibility can often tamp this dream down before the thought can blossom into beautiful sweet retreat time.
My friend and co-blogger, Jessica, has bravely stepped away from her family on three separate occasions, each for a full week away of yoga training. I remember the first time I told her that I felt it was time to take a training-which meant a full week away from the fam. No lie, she looked like a deer in headlights! She looked at me with a frozen face, jaw clenched, hardly breathing, I could see the wheels of panic spinning in her mind. I reassured her that I’d go with her, show her the yoga-ropes, and gave her tips of how to tell her girls that mommy was takin’ off (“oh sweetie, I love you so much, and I’m going to go to school for a week so I can learn how to be an even better mom, share my love with you, and I’ll be so happy and healthy that when I come home I can share even more happiness with all of you-and commence smothering them with kisses”). I told her stories of how my mom traveled a lot for work when I was a kid; I valued the alone time with dad, my mom was happy-buzzy when she came home, and her example of strength made it easy for me as an adult to pursue adventure and love rather than stagnation.
Read on and see how Jessica tackled the difficult proposition of leaving her family for a week to train in yoga:
Three major reasons spurred me into taking time for myself:
1. I knew that furthering my training would positively impact my family financially, as a certified yoga teacher I can teach more classes and reach out into the community. So far, I'm certified to teach Yoga for the Special Child®, and I'm working towards my adult teaching certification, too!
2. The more I train in yoga, the better I am as a person. I come back recharged, with new insights on the world around me and how to deal with difficult situations and feelings.
3. Desperation for a vacation! I give my family everything I have, and it is a hard job. When I know that I will be leaving for a week, I cherish each moment I have with the kids because I know that I will be missing out. Knowing that a break is coming gives me energy to get through tough days.
How I conquered my anxiety of leaving my family:
I also suffer from anxiety, so I have irrational fears that something will happen to me on my travels so that I'll never make it home again, and even worse fears that something will happen to one or all of my family members. Early on in motherhood, I wouldn't even let my husband take the kids alone anywhere because I felt I needed to control situations, and if we were to die, then at least I would be with them. It was exhausting. I cannot always be everywhere, and I stubbornly refused alone time because of these fears.
My first time going away to a training, I had these thoughts running through my head for at least the first two days. On day three, I was more relaxed...until I called home and could not get in touch with my husband. I flipped. The girls in my dorm room were probably appalled at how I had gone from yogini to crazy woman in a matter of minutes. Fast forward a half hour of torture, and my husband calls me and says he was sorry he didn't answer. They were at Friendly's having dinner. So I pictured my children dead on the side of the road, and they were in a vinyl red booth enjoying a meal. After that, I realized how irrational I was being and how miserable I was. My only choice was to take the tools I was learning in the training and apply them to my life. It was not easy, and did not happen overnight. To be honest, I didn't leave for my next training for three years! Had I not got into yoga, and been trained that fear is useless and that if we live unattached to anything then we will be happy, I would be insane right now!
Sonia Sumar, the founder of Yoga for the Special Child®, told us the story during my first training about her daughter, who had Down Syndrome, and how she passed away at sixteen. I was a wreck hearing this, having a child with Down Syndrom we know that their lives are so fragile. Every child's life is fragile really, and she just simply told us to love them, but don't become attached, because they do not belong to us. They are given to us, by God, and if he needs them back then we need to trust that. These are not her exact words, but you get the point. I needed to hear this advice at the time, and still have to remind myself of this.
Changing my views, such as being so attached to my children that I am suffering and could possibly cause them suffering, has given me the strength to leave. I am showing them, rather than telling them, how to be a strong woman. Leaving is not easy, and coming home is hard too. There is no easy way of getting back into a routine with five small children vying for your attention after a week of solitude. But during the week I am away, I mentally have time to prepare, and know that I will learn even more about myself to help me through difficult times.
How about you? Do you need a night off? A day? A weekend? Is there a simple action you can take right now to move towards a little time off? Go for it, everyone will benefit!