Hey mamas! I know the inner voice struggle – it goes something like this, right?

What do you mean “take time for myself? What on earth? How would that even be possible? My husband barely knows how to keep the kids alive and he wants to relax on the weekend after a hard week at work. There’s no way I’d be able to get away for a few days to have time for me. That’s selfish and honestly, I signed up for this gig – this parenting thing.

I’m a mom and it’s my job. It doesn’t matter if I’m exhausted all the time and I only think in terms of “what do I need from the store? “how many hours of sleep will I  get tonight?” and “does anyone else thinks all these crazy thoughts in their heads?” all the time?!

I thought this same thing, too – that I would never be able to stop the hamster wheel that is my life because I ’d feel too guilty, I didn’t deserve it and my family NEEDED me. And trying to find childcare or someone to cover me at work?? Gaaahhh, that’s just too much, right??

Then I joined Thirty-one Gifts. Now, truly, this is NOT an ad for the company – I’m just telling you how I came to see why time away for ME is so important. My kids were 3, 9 and 11, attending 3 different schools, in multiple sports and I was OVER IT. I knew I was in need of a break for a long time but If we’re being honest here, I’d taken a couple weekends off when the kids were littler and had always felt so guilty before, during and after that I finally decided it wasn’t worth the stress. I also knew heading to Vegas with the girls wasn’t my style anymore – those party weekends were great when I  was single and had no responsibility but after being a happily married mom, I  was looking for MORE. I hadn’t found the right fit for me – the right getaway that spoke to my heart and made me gleeful and HOPEFUL just thinking about it!

After being invited to a Thirty-one conference where I was promised a wonderful time in the form of a girl’s weekend, away from my routine, plus I’d be offered motivation AND free goodies, I was IN! I KNEW I needed that break and that it would fill me up and I decided to put myself first, for once. I told my husband how badly I wanted (needed) to go and I asked my mother in law, my mom and a few friends to help out with play dates and carpool for our 3 kids and then I booked my flight and hotel room, all the way across the country! 

Was it hard to ask for those things – the money for the trip, the childcare coverage, the time away? Absolutely! 

Was it worth the stress leading up to it – making the decision to go and putting myself first, asking for the help, getting on the plane heading to a city I’d never been to where I had no idea what to expect? YES, YES, YES!

Being part of a group took some of the stress off leaving and the guilt seemed lighter when shared with the other ladies going with me. Hence the term “girl’s weekend”- having your girls with you makes the stress-load lighter, promise! With 4 women sharing one hotel room to keep the cost down, it’s a built-in slumber party and was just the icing on the cake. 

I’ve since attended 4 of those conferences in 3 different cities – none I’d ever been to. I roomed with women I barely knew and some I’d known for years. I’ve ridden in pedicabs, on rental bikes, eaten at a food truck and had drinks at a fancy restaurant, dressed up, slept in, learned to find my confidence (thanks to all the motivational speakers) and held my head high when I returned home because my CUP WAS FILLED.

I  can’t even begin to tell you how good you’ll feel if you give yourself the chance to get away from your routine so that you can just BE, be the YOU that you were before you were changing diapers, doing dishes, homework and deadlines, racking up wrinkles and laundry…let that girl you were BEFORE life got so busy that you put her on hold – let her have a lighthearted, carefree weekend to herself….

I can tell you that putting yourself first, to just breathe, to honor your hopes, to REST and to spend time with friends, giggling and trying new things is one of the best gifts you can give yourself as a woman.

But don’t take my word for it – find out for yourself! Carve out your own time away by scheduling something NOW, ahead of time! Don’t wait until you’re so overwhelmed that you’ve lost sight of yourself – book a weekend away now with a friend or two so you all have something to look forward to and anticipate with excitement! And for goodness sake, when you come back – let your family know how much fun you had, how much you enjoyed yourself and show your children that it’s okay to take a break sometimes and not feel guilty about it….your kids will see this and learn from it and your partner will appreciate how refreshed you are when you come back home from an unforgettable time with your friends!

Need ideas for some great getaways? My favorite is obviously the girls’ getaway/women’s conference I founded for moms 3 years ago called Start Loving You. It’s my own version of those first conferences I went to but it’s for ANY woman…there is no multi-level marketing, political party or religion you have to be a part of. You’ll get all the inspiration, celebration and booty-kicking’ motivation you can use to go back home with a spark in your step! Navigating a new city, eating at trendy restaurants, dressing in something other than your yoga pants and making new memories with your #girlsquad will be a gift to yourself that you’ll treasure forever. 

There are also many other ways to enjoy time for you…find a friend who has a winter cabin or summer place and make a weekend of it with her! Or – one of the easiest is a staycation in your own city – I just did this with friends to celebrate our winter birthdays and it was a blast! Ten of us split 3 hotel rooms at the nicest hotel in town and shopped, ate out, took pictures with Santa and stayed up until way too late in matching Old Navy PJs and giggling! It doesn’t matter how or what you do to give yourself time away from your normal routine – it just matters that you care enough about yourself to do so! 

Happy Trails, girlfriends! XO Kelsy 

Kelsy McHenry
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