“Time and silence are the most luxurious things today” – US fashion designer and film director Tom Ford
Have you ever felt like you desperately needed the clear the clutter; to drown out the incessant noise of the everyday? To take a mini-break, just for you? I did just that today – I took off by myself for an indulgent night away, flying solo, for some much-needed R&R away from my beloved husband and two toddlers.
The mother guilt was palpable as I drove away from loved ones with crumpled faces. But, by God did I need some “me time”! Indeed, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a new mother of two: if you don’t get a day off to yourself to recharge every now and then, you ain’t good to anybody. How can you look after everyone else, if you yourself are too tired and broken?
And so it was that I drove off to my 5-star hotel, with the blessing of my lovely husband, who will shortly be taking his turn to escape to same resort, upon my return. We’ve decided our littlies are too young to leave with anyone overnight and so we’re resigned to spending nights apart, when we can, to restore our sanity. And I’ve had the most fabulous day– I have thoroughly enjoyed some quality travel time alone: sitting in the sun, being still, pampering self with a beauty treatment and drinking wine and feasting on my private balcony. Bliss!
I even actually listened to music and watched a favourite trash TV show uninterrupted – crazy!?
I just desperately needed to find my Zen; sleep deprivation as a new parent can be very debilitating and I couldn’t remember the last time I had a whole day off to myself. However, the psychologist in my family, who shall remain nameless, was a little scathing on the concept of “alone time” – which got me thinking; is this because as late-starting mums in our 30s, with we women increasingly delaying marriage and child birth, are we so used to our own space that the gruelling demands of parenthood are more of a shock?
Do we expect more from motherhood than our parents’ generation? Are we trying to do more: juggle motherhood with a career? Or, are we just better at taking care of ourselves than our parents’ generation? You know when you’ve reached the end of your tether – when you feel like you need to crawl into the foetal position, with a bottle of wine, in the pantry. Life can get so crazy busy, you can lose your sense of self, if you’re not careful.
Today, I needed time, space and silence to be me, first and foremost. Not a wife or a mother – just me. And it’s been absolute heaven! Now, I feel restored, revitalised and ready to return – in fact, I’m terribly missing my little family. For what it’s worth, here’s the tough love from the psychologist: “I don’t think spending time by yourself is necessarily the answer,” she says. “If you come back the next day and your thinking hasn’t changed, then you’ll be just as stressed as before.
“Conversely, you can do the introspection and self-analysis necessary to improve your emotional state without leaving your family … Our thoughts have an extraordinarily powerful impact on our emotions. So, the way to improve the situation is to examine your thinking/self-talk and work out what is causing the stress or anxiety and address these issues. Write all of your concerns down.
“Are you being reasonable and realistic, and if so, what can you do about your stressors? If you don’t do this self-analysis, you can go away a dozen times and nothing will change.” Bit of a Debbie Downer, isn’t she?
What do you think: is time alone necessary? Do you need regular solo getaways to recharge?
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