A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be flown to Cape Town for a work event. When I initially received the invitation a week or two before I was so excited, not only because such an exciting event but also because when I asked if I could fly back the next evening instead of the same day as the event, I was able to.
I needed some time away from my day-to-day life, and I needed that time to be without my gorgeous little girl and wonderful husband. I needed a break from my family and I don’t feel guilty about it. At all. In fact, I would recommend it to everyone.
Being a mom is wonderful but it can be exhausting, regardless of whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a work-from-home mom or a work-at-the office mom. They all come with their own trials and tribulations and, at the end of the day, we all go to sleep wondering, “Did I do enough?” even though we completely exhausted ourselves giving our kids the best that we could for that day.
Aria is at the age where she is non-stop whenever she is awake. As amazing as it is watching her explore the world, it also means that I have a lot less time to get my actual work done (yes, I have a job that I am fortunate enough to do from home) because I need to make sure that she isn’t sticking her head into the dustbin or eating Moose’s food (both true stories). That means work ends up being done at night until at least 10pm. Time that I should be spending with my husband and time that I should use to carve out some much needed me-time.
So, after a few months of all of this busyness, I was absolutely finished and like a lovely friend reminded me, you can’t pour from an empty cup. I was short and distant with Dan and I was easily irritated with Aria; this mama needed a break!
Now, I do need to give a shout-out to my hubs. When I mentioned that I was thinking of staying in Cape Town for longer than the actual event, he put in a day’s leave for the Friday to look after Aria (we have a wonderful nanny on a Thursday) and encouraged me to go to Cape Town and have a great time. And I did. After the event I sat in a coffee shop and had coffee by myself. I had the time to sink into my own thoughts and it was wonderful! I met my cousin and aunt for more coffee (can’t stop, won’t stop) and then went home with them and did nothing. Absolutely nothing. And it was ah-mazing! I went to sleep early and when I woke up in the morning, I lay in bed for as long as I wanted to. We went shopping and I didn’t have to worry about anyone’s meal times except my own, and I didn’t even have to drive; it was bliss!
I didn’t do anything opulent or particularly exciting, but it was exactly what I needed. When I got home to Joburg that evening I was pretty exhausted, but when I woke up the next morning I felt so much better compared to when I had left. I savoured every moment with Aria and I was able to talk to Dan without having 10 other things on my mind. I felt motivated about my work.
Is my cup full again? No. But it’s not empty. Is a night away going to become a regular thing (every three months) now? Nope. But I have learnt that sometimes a break is absolutely necessary. Whether it’s an entire day at the spa, an hour alone at a coffee shop or a solo night in a hotel. Being a parent (and sometimes, being a wife) is a full-time job, sometimes you need to get away to recharge so that you can keep doing an incredible job. Sometimes it’s just the thing you need to help you feel that you can actually tick everything off your to-do list and meet your deadlines without becoming a complete stress pot.
So, if you get the chance to have the house to yourself for a morning, or to spend the night on your own, grab it with both hands. Soak up all that alone time and when you return to your day-to-day life, you will feel so much better for it.
Sarah is a beauty-product hoarding mama who simply cannot get enough coffee into her system. You can expect to see a little of everything in her blog Mascara & Mimosas, from what makes parenthood a bit easier to her latest beauty obsession – or even what DIY she’s just tried.