health

Why all mums should take annual leave (from their family).

Yes, family and work matters. But so does your sanity.

This morning was an amazing morning. I woke to a stunning breakfast with six fantastic girlfriends, a la carte omelette and delicious coffee beach-side.

I didn’t have to prepare a single thing, nag a single child, wipe a snotty nose, wash a dish, feed a dog, touch a piece of laundry, have rushed conversations with my husband – none of that. Instead, I breezed out the lobby and down to the beach with my girlfriends and had interesting, funny, intelligent, ADULT conversations.

Awaiting us on the white sandy beach were three young male surf instructors, ready to support us as we paddled out on our 12 foot boards in aquamarine, spectacular water to spend two hours catching the best waves of our lives.

Seriously – where am I, and who am I?

I’ll tell you who I am. I’m a busy mother of three beautiful young boys. I work full time at Mamamia as National Sales Director, and I often feel (like most working mothers) that I’m not doing either of my life roles as well as I would like to. With a never ending to-do-list, it means I can’t switch off. Ever.

“I work full time at Mamamia as National Sales Director and often feel (like most working mothers) that I’m not doing either of my life roles as well as I would like to, with a never ending to-do-list meaning I can’t switch off. Ever.”

So, when a dear friend of mine discussed her business idea of running luxury surf trips for mums, I immediately knew I had to sign up – even though the thought of “running” away from both my job and family sounded counter-intuitive to my current thinking of being a failure at both….

Fast forward six months, and I have managed a herculean task of arranging to leave my husband, three kids and work for one week of my life just for me. Imagine that…

So its day two, I’ve started to seriously decompress, and I think I’m on to something here, this whole “going away” thing. We are staying at a beautiful resort right on the beach at Waikiki, we have eaten the most amazing, delicious food mixed with margaritas and Bloody Marys and we have not stopped laughing since we got here. We surf for two hours every morning which is exhilarating, liberating, powerful and exhausting, all at the same time.

You see, the thing about surfing is that it teaches you so much. It teaches you to trust your instincts, to dig deep, to appreciate the highs, and to be patient and present. There’s little time to daydream – when a big sets comes in, you have to have your wits about you. You have to be confident, commit to your wave and own it. You can’t hesitate, be indecisive or unsure. Once you’re on the wave, you cant help but feel on top of the world, exhilarated, youthful and alive. But once that’s over, it’s dig deep time.

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Paddle hard, and long to get back out into the action again. These surfing lessons parallel our life lessons – nothing’s for free, even a wave. You need to work hard to chase it, and you need to learn from your mistakes to stop making them. You need to appreciate the good times, and celebrate them.

“Paddle hard, and long to get back out into the action again. These surfing lessons parallel our life lessons- nothing’s for free- even a wave. You need to work hard to chase it, you need to learn from your mistakes to stop making them. “

There’s also something so lovely about female friendships. We can go deep to the core and half an hour later be laughing uncontrollably at something ridiculously silly. And then there’s the getting away thing…

Dare I say it, but I’m not missing my family yet (it’s only day two) but what I have realised already is that the whole absence makes the heart grow fonder thing is kicking in with my husband and I’m getting perspective on just what an incredibly lucky woman I am.

It’s so important to leave your husband with the kids for more than one night. The kids deserve quality dad time – they deserve dad 24/7. And hubby deserves it as well. I’ve also realised it’s healthy to have me time, and that I deserve this just as much. I’ve realised me time is good for mind, body and soul, and makes me a better mum and executive.

Who would have thought running away from it all is often the solution? Maybe we should stop putting ourselves last all the time, and start putting ourselves first? Even for a few days……

So my friend Sarah who started Surf Angels for mums is my new hero, but it doesn’t matter what your bag is – if it’s good for mummy, it’s good for the whole family.

Are you a working mum? Have you ever taken time off from work and family?

Surf Angels runs surf/yoga retreats in stunning parts of the world for busy women of all ages, who want great travel, to be with like minded women and do something invigorating, away from the crazy demands of our increasingly hectic lives. To find out more about Surf Angels, visit http://surfangels.com.au/

Want more? How about:

Work and motherhood and not coping AT ALL. Advice & support needed.

We need realistic leave entitlements for parents. Like, you know, head-lice leave.

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