This past weekend I had the absolute pleasure of heading down to Dallas for the annual ACFW conference. Every time I go, I come back and do a big blog post on the amazing things that I learned at ACFW or the awesome authors I met or how hopeful the whole conference was.
This year I had such a different experience. It was the first time I'd gone as a published author, and yet I felt like this year was a good year to break it all down and get back to the basics. Truth be told, I needed to set this time aside to really focus on my writing. To ask God "what do you want me to do?"
A question I often don't like the answer to.
Especially when the answer is "nothing." or "relax."
God, don't you know what killers those are for someone like me?
I can almost see his raised brow as if to say, "Why yes, I do."
Those weren't the answers I heard this time... this time I whined (a lot) about how I didn't want to leave my family and almost talked myself right out of going. I have a tendency to obsess over the traveling side of these trips, but I have to tell you, I think every mom should get away for a long weekend at least once a year.
I'm not saying go be an absentee mom, but I came home so exhausted yet completely refreshed. I'm not even worried that I have 2,019 unread emails. I'm saying things like "Here's your breakfast my sweet little man."
We, as women, (and probably men too) feel so guilty to say "I need to be away for a little bit," but what I've found is that time away is often the thing I need to become a better wife and mom (and writer.) It's not something any of us should feel guilty about...it's important. It's critical. And it shows your kids that it's important for them too.
We put a lot of emphasis on date nights or family nights, but I believe a "me night" is every bit as vital to your health and well being. And if you can cram a few of them together like I did this week and go study something that gets your creative juices flowing, all the better.
Perhaps you've never even considered this and you need some ideas on what to do to give yourself that mental break you need. Here are my favorites (most of which you can do THIS WEEK!)
1. Go see a movie by yourself. (I am planning to see "Trouble with the Curve.") There is something about getting out and sitting in a dark theater by yourself. You don't have to worry that anyone else is liking the movie and you get to make up your own mind about what you think. For me, this is a great chance to dissect the story and figure out what I loved (or didn't love) and why.
2. Go see a movie with girlfriends. Maybe you like the comfort of having your best girlfriends at your side, but when was the last time you made a point to do this? Call your friends NOW and set it up! You deserve it.
3. Go to a bookstore with no agenda. Flip through magazines or books with a notebook at the ready. Whether you're re-decorating a room, looking for scrapbook ideas or trying to determine the best way to handle your kids, this is a great way to set yourself aside and focus. Oh, and usually the coffee is nice too.
4. Ask your husband to take the kids for an hour or two and steal away to your art/craft room. Spend some time in your big dream book. Don't "catch up" on anything, just dream. Just spend some time brainstorming. Ask yourself what you need to do to get back on track.
5. Start planning a long weekend. Depending on what stage of life you're in this may not be feasible. It's harder to leave with smaller kids, but that's not to say it can't be done. I find that if I can schedule time at a conference where I'm going to spend time with like-minded people, I come back so excited my husband can't get me to shut up. What's your passion? Photography? Scrapbooking? Writing? Art? Business? Jesus? Whatever it is, find a way to learn more about it and I guarantee you'll never regret obtaining more knowledge.
So, my question for you today is this...when was the last time you've done something for yourself? If money were no object and you had all the time in the world...what would you do?