Mom Retreat: What It Is and Why YOU Need One

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Dear Mama… You need a retreat. 

“What is a mom retreat?” you may ask. Let’s start with what a mom retreat is NOT.

It’s not a weekend trip with your best gals. It’s not a getaway with your husband or a camping trip with your kids. The type of “retreat” that many churches offer for women with speakers and group meals? It’s not that, either.

A “mom retreat” is you, alone, for 24 hours, minimum. It’s listening to your body, getting lost in your own thoughts for a while and just catching your breath. I just completed my second annual mom retreat, and both times it’s been exactly what I needed. 

Mom Retreat: A How-to Guide

Location, Location, Location

  • A mom retreat should NOT take place in your own home. There should be no piles of laundry glaring you in the face, no stacks of bills to sort, no tiny people demanding quesadillas. If you’re like me and lack connections at The Broadmoor, find some dear friends that are empty nesters and ask if you could sleep in their guest room for a night. Or, ask a mom friend if you can stay in her basement for a night and then do the same for her on a different night. Even if you can hear little ones running around upstairs, that’s ok. It will still be better than not doing it at all. 

Think Ahead

  • Bring any items that you’ll need for your 24 hours of solace. First, ask yourself—what would be energizing? Reading? Going for a run? Journaling? Sketching? Is there something weighing on your mind that requires deep thought and planning, and you just never get the chance to zero in on it? Maybe all you want to do is tweeze your eyebrows or paint your toenails in peace. Moms, we’ve been letting our eyebrows get the best of us. ADDRESS THE EYEBROWS, people! Whatever that thing is for you, it should leave you feeling recharged, accomplished, and ready to greet your family again. It should NOT leave you depleted or add to your to-do list. 

Unplug

  • I know, I know. There are a billion articles and blog posts telling you to put down your phone.  You be the judge here. It’s actually OK to spend some time on your phone. Did you hear that? It’s ok. IT’S OK.  If watching cooking videos on Insta stories sparks your creativity and inspires you in your hobby, do it. Is there a podcast you’ve been dying to listen to or an audiobook with your name on it? Go for it. If you want to give yourself 10 minutes of guilt-free Facebook scrolling, go for it. DO NOT spend the time responding to all the texts you’re behind on, scheduling that playdate for Billy-bob or answering your friend’s questions about diaper ointment. Also, don’t let technology make up the majority of your time. I promise that if it’s the focal point of your mom retreat, you won’t find it to be as restful. Give yourself some time, then get it out of the way. 

 Fuel up

  • As appetizing as the rejected PB& J crusts are when it’s after 2pm and you haven’t had lunch yet—give yourself a brief hiatus from such delicacies. Ask yourself… what food do I like? What’s nourishing and comforting? This is no time for drive thru Chick Fil A. Pick something that will satisfy your stomach and remind you that you have taste buds, and that God gave them to you for a reason. For me, this was take-out sushi, a rare treat but one of my favorite foods. While you’re at it, pick up one or two snacks for your retreat. Maybe a fancy trail mix or some dark chocolate—something impractical for kids and not what you normally buy.

Silence

  • Make time to sit in silence. This is NOT always easy. But we need silence. We need to hear ourselves breathing. When I arrived at the guest room of the friend who hosted my mom retreat, I entered the room, closed the door, laid down on the floor, and stared off into space for about 15 minutes. Resist the urge to text someone the minute something pops into your head. Be alone, and be ok with it. 

Refocus

  • I’m going to sound really vague here, because this will be the “meat” of your time away and it will be different for everyone. How can you regroup on your retreat? Maybe start with asking yourself- WHY do you do what you do? What are your priorities? How are you doing at those things so far? What needs to change? Maybe you’re in a season where you’re too exhausted to ask yourself those questions. Perhaps you just need to sit, breathe, and read a good book. Maybe you want to challenge yourself with some new goals, like running a marathon or deciding to eat better. Most moms I know have a million of these types of things floating around in their heads. Now is the time to think them through, write them down, and make a plan.

Soak in every minute of your retreat and when you return, thank your husband or whoever cared for the kids. I’m guessing they’ll all notice a change in your demeanor, and maybe your eyebrows, too. 

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Danielle was born and raised on Long Island, NY. She married a handsome country boy from Idaho and together they moved out to Colorado for a new adventure. Ten years later, they have 3 children, ages 6, 4 and 16 months. Though she sometimes misses the beaches and the Italian bakeries back east, her daily view of snowcapped mountains and the piercing blue sky remind her that she wouldn't want to live anywhere else. She reads cookbooks for fun and loves getting creative in the kitchen. A musician at heart, she can't walk by a grand piano without sitting down and playing for as long as those around her will let her. Her favorite thing to do with her little ones is snuggle under a quilt with them and read through a fresh stack of library books. She hopes her life will reflect the things she values most- her faith, family and friends (both the flesh ones and the TV show).