“Female friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other belong to themselves.” ~ Louise Bernikow
Not to be Captain Obvious, but motherhood is exhausting. It goes without saying that it’s also joyful and a huge blessing and all the other positive adjectives you can think of but that doesn’t make it less of an all-consuming, energy draining endeavor at the same time. Even for those fortunate enough to have a supportive partner sharing the load, it can be pretty lonely and isolating as well. That’s why the importance of having a tribe of girlfriends (or even just one really good one!) can’t be understated.
In my early days as a mom, I believed that giving less than 100% of myself to my kids at all times meant I was a failure. They constantly seemed to need something from me and I thought that being there for them always was just part of my new role as a mom. I reasoned that letting the pre-kid sides of myself and my own needs go for the time being was just part of the deal and what I signed up for. I also believed that only I was truly capable of caring for my kids for any length of time without the entire world falling apart and causing them irreparable psychological damage. Thankfully, I totally got over that.
I quickly learned that taking care of myself and taking time to recharge and reconnect to my identity outside of motherhood was actually essential to being the great mom I aspired to be. The cliché about the oxygen mask on an airplane really is true. You have to put your own mask on before you can help someone else with theirs. Sometimes just the daily mental and emotional requirements of parenting can add up little by little until the cumulative effect leaves me weighed down and incapable of being my best self. My problem-solving skills weaken, my patience is diminished and I’m so exhausted that I’m certain if I have to break up one more fight or have one more conversation about the importance of good oral hygiene I’m going to have a complete nervous breakdown. It’s during those moments that I’m so grateful for my girlfriends and when I realize that I am in desperate need of a “Momcation” in order to reset myself.
What’s a Momcation you ask? It’s simply a vacation from the trials and tribulations of “momming.” We all need them from time to time. This can be as basic as stealing five minutes to lock yourself in the bathroom and exchange venting texts and hilarious wine memes with a friend, to a girls’ night out for which you wear real pants, heels and carry your stylish tiny purse (the one without crushed Goldfish Crackers at the bottom of it), to a full blown weekend getaway.
Whatever version of this you’re able to pull off, I urge you to give yourself some sort of break from time to time-not only do you deserve it, I believe it’s absolutely essential to being the best mom version of yourself possible. As moms, not only to we often bear much of the physical load of parenting, we also tend to carry the largest portion of the mental burden as well. I bet every mom reading this would be able to rattle off a mental list that would include which of their kids needs a haircut, how much toilet paper and milk you have in your house at this exact moment, the birthday party invite you need to reply to, the permission slip you have to remember to sign, the soccer jersey that needs washing, and the ballet shoes that need finding, and that’s just before the end of the day! It’s EXHAUSTING, I tell you!
It’s hard to leave that big long list behind and trust someone else to take care of all those things (or not-everyone will still be fine!) even for a few hours, but it’s so worth it. And it gets easier the more you practice! I used to leave a three paged list of detailed instructions whenever I left and now I pretty much just walk out the door with a wave and wish everyone good luck. In fact, the last time I went away for a night, my mom had to text me and ask where my daughter’s school was and what time she should pick her up. Oops! Maybe don’t take it that far…
I absolutely cherish the times I have been able to get away with my girlfriends. There is something about laughing with other moms, sharing your heart and enjoying an evening or two of responsibility-free time with other women that is so good for the soul. Sometimes seeing our own reflection in our friend’s eyes is exactly what we need to validate that we really are good at this mom thing. Hearing our girlfriends’ stories somehow makes us feel less alone-especially when we discover things like the fact that our child is not the only one that’s ingested dog food (true story). After I get away, I always come home feeling empowered and ready to take on my To Do list with more energy. I know overnight trips can be hard to swing, especially if you have little ones, but if it’s an option for you here are a list of places I’ve gone that are not too far away from Lake Country:
The American Club or Inn on Woodlake in Kohler, Wisconsin. The Kohler Water Spa is an absolutely fabulous experience as is the shopping at The Shops at Woodlake. The American Club is a luxurious Five Diamond resort that will leave you feeling relaxed and pampered. The nearby Inn on Woodlake has rooms at a lower price point as well as new multi room suites if you’re traveling with a group.
Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, WI is another great place to stay with a group of friends. It’s located right on Lake Michigan and also has a spa. A group of my college friends stayed in both the two and four bedroom villas and had a great time!
The Osthoff in Elkhart Lake, WI is another favorite spa resort. Located right on Elkhart Lake, the property is absolutely gorgeous. They offer traditional hotel rooms as well as multi-bedroom condos for a group.
What are some things you and your girlfriends like to do to recharge? Do you have a favorite getaway place? Let us know in the comments below!