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A few years ago I went on my first real weekend away. I'd been on many a women's retreat. I love them. They are a great way to build community within a church and connect with women in a meaningful way, not to mention an opportunity to retreat from the normal responsibilities of family life. There is not so much relaxing, however, when you're one of those running the thing!
So my first 'real' weekend away was about 3 or 4 years ago - just me and three other girlfriends at a beach house owned by the boss of one of the 'girls'. I came home from that amazingly relaxing and wonderful weekend thinking "oh my goodness I am a nice person"! In the midst of all that it is to be a wife, and the mother of three very normal (you know, ones that argue and fight with each other) children as well as responsibilities beyond the home I had forgotten who I was without my children. I had forgotten that when I am not giving out instructions, refereeing arguments and dishing out discipline for non-compliant behaviour I am a great person to spend time with. That whole weekend I did not once feel frustrated, angry, annoyed, exhausted or any of the other emotions I deal with on a daily basis as a result of being a mum. Don't get me wrong - there is a lot of laughter and enjoyment that comes with having children, but if we're honest we'll all admit that motherhood is not without the other side of the emotional coin.
It's been a couple of years since we've managed to get away like that but one of those three girlfriends and I have plans again, in the very near future, to enjoy some respite from our busy lives and just stop. My family was a little miffed when I was a little too enthusiastic about going away without them and why couldn't they come too? The answer is that this is my little bit of respite in which I will rebuild some sanity and remind myself of who I am. I think that at some point every mother needs to remind herself that sanity and identity can be rediscovered.
How do you stop, recharge and rediscover who you are?