October 28, 2017

Girls Trips and Goodbyes.

Perspectives

I took a vacation last week.

Not just any vacation, mind you. A girls trip. The first one I have taken, well ever really. At least since my kids were born. And do you know what? It was an absolute game changer for me.

Ever since my oldest daughter started kindergarten, I have felt myself being ushered into a new season of motherhood. My youngest daughter is three, and both the girls are now either in school or two-day-per-week childcare. The whole thing has been a complete rollercoaster of emotion. Just like most seasons in motherhood, my feelings have been all over the map. One moment I am missing my daughter like crazy, the next breathing a huge sigh of relief to just have a little more time to write, work and get things done.

This trip was huge for me.

I had, in the past year or so, been having a terribly awful time when I left my girls. I hated being away from them. Not just in a normal “I miss you” kind of way, but a “I can’t find my footing, the sky is falling” kind of way. I would sometimes even suffer from panic attacks while I was away from them. It was awful. I wanted to be able to be present when I was away from them, and actually enjoy myself. But this was proving very difficult.

My best friends and I had been planning this epic weekend for over six months, and as I anticipated the event, I found myself dreading my own dread.

Just not feeling confident that I would be able to enjoy it, while also feeling this intense pressure from within to do just that. It was driving me mad. So I decided to talk it through with my counselor, and she asked me some very pointed questions that helped me reshape my thoughts around the experience.

She told me, most importantly, to “rewrite the narrative”.

Instead of this ending in disappointment or frustration, what if I could just take each moment with a sense of acceptance, and let the positive or negative feelings happen without judging them? What if this could be an epic adventure story instead of some Shakespearean tragedy? (yes, my mind always goes there. Because what mother’s doesn’t?)

When she said that, something shifted.

And this time around, something changed. I had the best time of my life. I was able to be present in each moment, and truly enjoy myself. I missed my kids, but I reminded myself that they were well loved and cared for, and that this short time away from them would only help us all to cherish each other even more, as well as building a little resilience in each of us.

This is always something that I have thought about.

Being physically separate from your children seems like an impossibility when they are newborns, but slowly and surely things change, and their need for you 24/7 begins to shift. Once they go to school the world seems to turn on its axis, and they begin to create a beautiful little life without you in it every single moment. It’s amazing to watch, and such a gift to be reminded that each season is so fleeting, so precious, and that there is grace and a soft place to land during each one. I’m so glad I took that trip, and I was able to really enjoy it to the fullest. And someday I can’t wait to take my daughters to that little slice of heaven for our own grown up girls’ adventure.

 

About The Author

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Hilary Barnett

Hilary Barnett is the founder of The New Mystique where she believes every mother is extraordinary, and typically writes the words that she most needs to hear.

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