The other response to having a real break is that we are able to see how much we needed it. A woman in our Weekend Mamas Circle shared that she and her partner had gotten away for one night and she felt like a brand new person and how could she have gone so long without that feeling! A woman in our Pregnancy Circle shared that she went on a remote trip where she slept for 10 hours straight and she needed every minute of that sleep.
I went on a rural vacation recently. It was cool there and the trees blocked enough light that I felt like I was in a cocoon. It rained a lot and there was an epic thunderstorm one night. I slept in almost every day (and so did my children!). It was amazing. After 5 nights of this, I returned back to city life and it actually felt harder. Why? It is because we all need so much more rest than we are getting, so when we do get that rest, it shows us just how much we need to thrive and that awareness can be brutal and debilitating if we can’t get it.
Awareness as to how much rest and downtime we actually need can also be empowering. When we know that we’re not getting enough, we can make a plan, we can ask for help, we can set firmer boundaries and do less, we can make different decisions, we can be kind to ourselves, we can set the bar lower and we can support each other. We can change our lives.
Whether you are a pregnant person, a new parent or have been doing this parenting thing for a few years, I always tell people that this stage of life is a time to ask the bigger questions. Do I like where I live and my job, could I get more support somewhere else?
If there’s one thing that parenthood does, it puts a spotlight on what is not working and what we have to let go of. My question is what can we add to our lives that will create that joy and contentedness (hint: we can strive to create space for “downtime & rest” on our To Do lists). It is only when we know that we need more that we can make the change.