I just got back from sitting around a gorgeous pool in Palm Springs, drink in hand, with seven of my best friends for three whole days. And the weekend before I was in Chicago with my best friend since second grade laughing, working, shopping, and rocking out to Pearl Jam. Two weekends away from my kids and husband in a row?! You better believe it! Now, I fully admit, two weekends away, especially back to back, is very rare, in fact, I don’t think it has ever happened before, but man is it fun. I love being with my family and I cherish our time together. But my girlfriends are my family too and our time together since many of us have had kids or moved away from each other has become harder to get. We have to make it a priority, to fight for it in our busy lives, to commit to each other like we do to our spouses and kids. It is so worth it. Here are my top five reasons why:
1. You deserve it.
I mean, really. Think about all the schedules you keep track of, the endless amount of lunches you’ve made, the mountains of diapers you’ve changed, the hours logged at the office, all the things you do EVERY SINGLE DAY. You deserve a weekend away with your closest friends to catch up, to drink some wine, shop, go dancing, see the sights, or do absolutely nothing (this one was pretty popular with us in Palm Springs, unless you count laying by the pool an activity, which, actually, I totally do). We ladies, spend a lot of time taking care of everyone and everything in our lives. Every now and then we need to reward ourselves for all that we do. Go jump in that pool, girl!
2. It recharges you.
I FaceTimed my husband and kids while I was in Palm Springs and my husband told me that I looked more relaxed than I had in years. Honestly, I felt more relaxed than I had in years! Being an adult is exhausting. Some days, I just don’t want to do it. From figuring out career stuff to taking care of the kids, I am pretty spent most days. I need days to recharge. I have always been the type of person that goes and goes, is social and busy until a day comes where I just can’t anymore. I have to retreat and recharge. For me, my girls weekends do this. Whether it is just venting to each other around the pool or singing songs so loudly at a concert that you leave feeling drained in the best possible way, you have to take of you. Schedule that yoga retreat if that is what you are interested in, or go to that concert or event, or travel to some far off place. Do it, quit talking about it and just go! My mom retired over ten years ago and has since started taking big trips with several of her girlfriends. My dad can’t understand why she wants to do it but I totally get it. It keeps her alive. It makes her feel whole and revived, and sometimes really tired, but she loves it. Find what you love and share it with your closest friends. It wakes you up and makes you not only a better mom but a better human.
3. It keeps old interests alive.
I’ve been going to concerts since I was a little girl. My parents loved the Oak Ridge Boys and we saw them so many times over the years that they got to know us and even gave me my first dog. I still love going to see live music, especially to see Pearl Jam, whose shows I have been going to since I was 15. But I don’t get out to as many concerts as I would like these days, with work, kids, babysitters, all the typical reasons. So for my birthday this past year, Pete and the kids surprised me with a flight to Chicago to be with my best friend, Alicia, and to see Pearl Jam play Wrigley Field. I was thrilled! What better way for me to celebrate my birthday than being with one of my oldest and dearest friends and seeing one of my favorite bands?! Being at the concert took Alicia and I right back to when we were teenagers and reminded us of why we fell in love with live music all over again. And what a great way to show my kids that mom has interests too and that they are important just like theirs!
4. It keeps friendships strong.
Most of my close girlfriends are friends that I have had my entire adult life. We have stuck by each other through so many ups and downs, through so many milestones. But we also all have full lives of our own and many of us now live in cities far apart from each other making our time together even more precious. My group of girls that I was just with in Palm Springs all met each other in our early twenties living in LA. We have spread out all over the place now and seeing each other, especially all together, has become more difficult. So several years ago, we decided to organize a weekend away to DC, where one of us lives. It was such a great weekend with much needed reconnecting, laughter and dancing that we decided to do it every year. We are four years in and none of us want it to stop. I feel closer now with those girls than I ever have, even though we don’t see each other all that often. It is a beautiful thing and reminds me, and lets me be an example to my kids, that friendships are important and that good, true friends become your family and that those relationships are worth fighting for.
5. It makes your family appreciate you.
Let’s face it, as good as my husband and kids are, there are days that go by where all that I do feels unappreciated. The dinner you tried out only to be meet with “Oh, this is what you made?,” or the pantry that is always stocked until it isn’t because you just haven’t had time is met with “Mama, why are we out of _____ (insert any number of items)?,” or the countless amount of times you have organized and re-organized toys and closets only to have them torn apart within hours of you finishing… the list can go on. Your family needs to miss you for a day or two. I’m serious. Try it out. You come home and all of a sudden your fifth grader that doesn’t want to hug you in morning drop-off is holding you so tightly that you think you can’t breathe IN FRONT OF HIS FRIENDS. Your little one is telling you that they want to take a break from their game to snuggle because they missed you so much. Your husband is looking at you with that va-va-voom look in his eyes. They missed you! They appreciate you and love you! You need to do this more often. Or at least once a year, and if you’re lucky, twice!
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