Updated: Nov 18, 2020
From motherhood to solo mom trips...
We welcomed Kailo into the world in June of 2016 after five different doctors told us pregnancy wasn’t possible for us. I was 42-years old when my son was born. Before we conceived, I had been told by each doctor that I no longer had eggs.
My journey to manifesting my son was incredible. It took a lot of faith, daily visualizations, and a bit of mystic tea (Check my Journey to Motherhood blog post Here)
Because we struggled to become pregnant and because I was an “older mom,” I held Kailo close. So close, I began to lose myself in my care for him.
He was my miracle. I felt I needed to protect him. To give him every comfort and be there when he called within a moment’s notice.
I regarded time for myself as selfish. If I think about it, I can recall actually trying to fill time with more fussing, more chores, more giving – beyond what my son needed and far beyond what I could sustain.
I felt his care was in my hands and my hands only, and I felt my worth as a mother was measured by how much of myself I was willing to sacrifice.
I was wearing my exhaustion as a badge. I was buying into the myth of motherhood that the more of myself I gave up, the more I was giving to my son.
I won’t lie. It took a lot of convincing and probing by my husband to finally take the damn trip. All of the usual excuses came up. Not having the money to justify a trip. Not having the time. Excuses around breast-feeding and fears that if I went away, my son would no longer want to nurse. These excuses were clever disguises for the codependence that was already starting to creep in to my experience of motherhood. Which reflected my limiting belief that I was only a good mother if I was tired, cranky, and overwhelmed because only then was I giving my son enough.
I’ll be honest, my husband had to stand next to me at the computer for me to actually commit to clicking the “Book Now” button for my hotel to Palm Springs. I was so nervous I was sweating. Even as I booked the trip, I was thinking up ways I could get out of it.
Mama’s, we are so hard on ourselves! The butterflies and the mom-guilt stayed with me as I packed my bags. Even at the last minute when I was hugging my son good-bye, I was berating myself for my selfishness and vowing never to leave him again.
But do you know what happened when I drove away? I was flooded with a sense of calm and relief. I love my child more than anything but do you know what happens to a mother when she gets enough sleep? When she wakes naturally for a few days in a row instead of to the cries of a waking baby? When she gets to sit out in the sun and just be? Mama, it’s like meeting yourself again after a long time apart. I had a moment on the second day of my trip where I couldn’t believe I was lounging by a pool alone and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it sooner. I literally wanted to shout to myself “there you are Myriam! Where have you beeeeen?” We deserve this kind of restoration as mothers but it can be so HARD to acknowledge that we need help. Or admit that time away from the BEINGS THAT WE LOVE MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF might be kind of nice for a few days. Something my mother told me that’s always stayed with me is “when a woman has a child, she also births a mother.” We go under an incredible transformation when we become mothers. Transformations that change and reshape us. It is so easy to get lost in these new identities that we forget to bring the things that were great about us beforehand along for the ride. Our kids deserve those sides of us. Another thing my mother reminds me of often is that in our culture (my family comes from Madagascar), a village raises a child. Mother’s aren’t meant to do it all. We were never supposed to raise our children alone and unsupported. In contemporary Western culture, mothers have been given a bad script. Rest and renewal were always supposed to be part of motherhood. We were always meant to receive help - for our benefit and for our childrens. Our personal fulfillment was always supposed to be as important as the health and joy of our families. In fact, they are intertwined. Stepping away from my family for a few days gave me the clarity I needed to show up as a better mother and a better Myriam. Restored, I had such a deeper well to give from - more love, calm, and compassion to bring to my family. And a renewed sense of purpose and passion. I was also having a whole lot more fun.
Since that inaugural trip three years ago, I have prioritized rest DAILY and make solo-mommy trips a habit. At least 4 times a year, I get away on my own or with girlfriend’s who recharge me and make me laugh. I always come back better than I was before. My kids are always the healthy, happy creatures I left behind when I return.
Motherhood can be restful. There is enough time. There is enough money. And you are a good enough Mother.
Transforming motherhood and prioritizing self-care is about so much more than booking a plane ticket. It can be easy but it takes intention. It’s about getting out of belief systems that you need to DO, BE, and GIVE it all to be a good mother. It’s about defining what rest and self-care means to you and setting yourself up to receive rest and care DAILY. It’s about communicating with those you love most and getting them on board to shift how you run your family so that you ALL have room to breathe. And, it’s about having fabulous, annual trips that RECHARGE you.
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