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Rekindle, Recharge, Rejuvenate

Many of us struggle with the mom martyr complex: It’s my job to be selfless and put my children first. It’s my responsibility to think of my family at all times. It’s my role as a mom to put my needs secondary, third or fourth after the needs of my family.


When was the last time you went away for the weekend with your husband without your children?

When was the last time you took a girls’ trip away for the weekend or even the day?

Do you regularly make time to leave the kids for an hour or two so you can go to the gym or participate in a fitness class?

How many pre-children hobbies and interests do you still make time for in your schedule?

I asked some girlfriends to come away with me for a girls’ weekend and got some of the following responses:

“My kids are a handful; I couldn’t possibly leave them for a whole weekend.”

“My husband works that weekend, and we don’t have other child care options.”

“We really should spend the weekend together as
a family.”

And the list could go on. Maybe you work all week and feel you need to devote your weekend to the family. Maybe you have five kids and honestly, they are a handful! Or maybe Grandma and Grandpa live on the other side of the country and you are all alone here with few resources.

After a lot of reflecting, here are my top suggestions for fitting in selfwhile still being an amazing mom and wife:

Recruit help. We forget that dads typically don’t have the mommy network that we do. They might not know a lot of other dads to call up for support while you are out of town. I would never go away for the weekend without trying to set up some kind of itinerary for my family. I try to plan a playdate. I suggest a dad my husband could call and get together with for an afternoon (maybe the husband of one of the women on your girls’ trip). I arrange for my mom to come over and spell him off so he can go to the gym. And I even suggest fun places he can go with my son.

Set up a child care swap with friends. Maybe you can watch your friend’s children one Saturday while she watches your children another Saturday. It’s a start. I used to do this with a friend during the week where every other week, it was my day off and she took my son. The next week was her day off and I took her son for the day. We used the day to pursue our hobbies and interests. She worked on photography and I went hiking. We tried not to clean the house, though sleeping was often tempting. That’s a hobby though, right? We both found our favorite thing to do on our day off was to meet our husbands for lunch near their place of work. It was like a little date in the middle of the week.

Find a gym with child care. My gym has child care for $3 per hour so it’s pretty hard for me to make excuses that I can’t afford fitness, can’t find the time to work out or that I’ll get to it ‘someday.’ Alternately, if you have a baby or small tot, there are many fitness classes where you can bring Junior with you. If you have multiple children, maybe a friend can watch the older one while you go to the mom-and-baby
yoga class.

Start small. If you don’t have enough time in your schedule for a weekend away, start small. Start with a scrapbooking evening once a month, a fitness class once a week or maybe a daytrip away. There is lots of amazing meet-up groups on for every interest out there. I joined a scrapbooking group a couple of years ago that often had group cropping events on a Saturday. It was a start.

Mostly, we just have to let go of the mommy guilt! If you skip one weekend of family time because you go away for the weekend, your children will not be worse for it. They likely won’t remember. You will be a better mom and wife if you are happy. I can’t imagine being happy myself if I were to give up everything I loved and enjoyed before having children. I need to make time for writing, scrapbooking, fitness, hiking… the list goes on.

Make this the year that you prioritize you and put ‘self’ back on the to-do list.

Tanya is a freelance writer and mom to a spunky six-year-old. She loves hiking, camping, skiing and all things mountain-related. She is the author of the blog, Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies,

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