I’ve been thinking that it would be wise to institute what I’ve done in the past, but that I don’t do with enough regularity: a Mom Retreat. Truthfully, what I’ve done in the past probably can’t legitimately be called a mom’s retreat as much as simply a planning session.
I try to have a planning session sometime during the summer for the following school year. Typically, I’m able to do this on the weekend of the curriculum fair when my wonderful husband takes the kids to his parents’ house for the weekend. I gather a legal pad and my planner (and, from now on, my laptop!) and take myself out for lunch at Panera Bread. (I like Panera Bread because it’s “grown up” fast food — I can place my order, take my food and be alone with no servers stopping by my table wondering when I’m going to leave…not to mention their sweet tea or free Wi-Fi.)
There, I can sit and really think about the direction I want our school year to take, brainstorming what worked and what didn’t the previous year. I can explore what made some things a success and others not so much. I can spend time thinking and praying about my goals for each child as well as considering what activities we might want to get involved with. I can get tentative schedules down and think about what a successful routine might look like for us for the upcoming year. I also enjoy reading homeschooling books for ideas and inspiration.
I guess that’s actually quite different than what I’d envision my mom’s retreat to look like, though the benefits of a regular planning session are many. The place for a “retreat” might be the same and it might still involve my laptop, but it would be more “me” time — time to read my email, catch up on some blogs or do my own blogging without guilt or interruption, which would mean leaving the cell phone at home or only answering calls from my husband (after asking him very nicely to please only call if he really has to). It might also simply involve a book that I’ve been wanting to read — there are four or five sitting on my nightstand right now.
I’ve also heard some moms speak of taking their Bible and some inspirational reading and spending a night or two in a hotel alone with God. That sounds really nice, too, but probably more difficult to plan.
I know that Crystal, of Money Saving Mom fame, has posted about taking some time each Saturday morning for coffee and planning.
All of these ideas are simply a different approach to the same basic idea — having some time, on a regular basis, to get away from the responsibilities and interruptions of home to plan, focus and rejuvenate.
I know that it’s often difficult for me to get away on my own — either due to scheduling conflicts or simply just guilt about taking the time. However, I think it’s important that we moms take time for ourselves on a regular basis, be it weekly, monthly, or every other week (I don’t think my once a year plan is as effective as it could be! lol). As Veronica Maria mentioned, in her comments on Tiffani’s post, this time away for us moms is also a good chance for the dads to spend some quality time with the kids.
What if you’re a single mom? I would suggest arranging child care with a relative or even arranging with another mom to alternate child care. I know that there are several relatives and friends that my kids love to stay with, so they would probably enjoy this time away as much as Mom.
While I love our homeschool group’s monthly mom’s night out, I think I could equally enjoy just getting off by myself for a couple of hours once or twice a month.
What about you? Do you do anything like this? What do you enjoy doing during your time away?
photo credit sarah gilbert on flickr