I was a mom at the young age of 20, married at 21, and had four kids before my 29th birthday. I was also a successful entrepreneur and even sold one of my businesses to a publicly traded company before I was 30. But, in the midst of that chaos and hustle I lost myself and my happiness. At 34, I found myself feeling alone and depressed on the inside even though from the outside I appeared to have it all together. I didn't like the person I had become. I was stressed out, easily agitated and not a very loving wife or mother. I knew I had to do something to fix myself and that is when I decided to travel- ALONE!
I needed to re-connect with my inner being. I needed to remember who I was and what made me happy. I had no idea how I would do this until I came across a quote that hit me like a ton of bricks, “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” Pico Iyer. That was it!! I wanted to open myself up, I wanted to be a fool and fall in love with myself so that I could learn to give love back to those who so dearly loved me.
I talked to my husband about my plan, and after some careful thought and consideration he granted my wish. He agreed to take on the role of dad and mom, allowing me to escape for a few weeks alone. I booked a trip to Prague, where my sister was studying, and also to Rome. I remember feeling scared that my plan wouldn't work or that something might happen to me while I was gone, but I forged ahead.
I boarded my flight and set off. I was nervous I had made a terrible mistake, that something awful would happen to me. I remember shedding a few tears as the plane took off. I took a few deep breaths, got lost in a few movies and started to relax. By the time I reached Prague I was in a better mood. My sister met me at the airport and we spent the most glorious 10 days together. We ate amazing food, drank incredible wine, wandered and took in historical sights and treated ourselves to ice cream daily. I could feel my blood pumping through my veins again, I felt ALIVE, FREE and HAPPY!!! I soaked up those feelings and vowed to never let them go again.
It has been nearly a year since that trip and I can tell you that my life has changed in every way for the better. My marriage is stronger than ever before, I have more patience for my kids and I am incredibly happy. The trip reminded me who I was. That gift allows me to take care of myself, to nourish who I am and the needs that I have. Every mom deserves that. I know not everyone can travel the world, but you can take steps to take better care of yourself. I believe the self care routine I developed during my travels has healed me in so many ways. Try it for yourself!
Amber's self-care routine: Take a day to reflect on what made you laugh before you were married and had kids. Ask yourself, honestly, if you still make time for those things. If the answer is no, you need to find a way to schedule them back into your life. Even if it is only in small increments. For me those things were yoga, reading and horseback riding.
- Wake up each morning and remind yourself of three things you are grateful for. Eat healthy foods and exercise... taking care of your body has to be a priority.
- Schedule in alone time and do something that makes you happy at least once per week (I rotate yoga and reading + I schedule in a horseback ride during on of our vacations each year).
- Limit your social media usage. Instead spend time reading a good book or daydreaming.
- Make time to go out with your girlfriends and DON"T FEEL GUILTY.
- Date your husband at least 1x per month, don't have a sitter? We enjoy date night's in and send the kids up after dinner for quiet play while we watch a movie or eat carry out.
- Plan fun activities with the kids that YOU actually enjoy. For me that is cooking or doing a craft.