Mom-guilt in Mexico

It sounded like such a good idea at the time.  My BFF had lost her father last year and we had planned to go on a yoga retreat to Mexico this spring when she finally had a little time for herself.  Well, spring had sprung and our flight was just around the corner.  That’s when the panic struck.

All the reasons why I shouldn’t go swirled in my head.  What if something happened to my son?  I haven’t worked enough this year to earn a vacation.   This is way too indulgent.  I like my life. I don’t feel tired.  I don’t need an escape.  What if I miss out on that one job that catapults my income for the entire year?  On and on and on.

I tried to sit with the discomfort.  Honor your commitment.  Honor yourself.  Try something new.  Relax.  It will all be fine.  Maybe better than fine.  And don’t forget….it’s already been paid for.

The BFF called me the day before we left.  “How are you feeling about this trip?” she tentatively asked.  I admitted to secretly hoping  I would get a job which would give me total permission to come halfway through the retreat.  She felt the same.  We agreed that it felt like too long to be away from our kids.  The mom guilt had got us.  And bad.

We cut our trip short by two nights.  A couple hundred dollars in change fees (ouch!) later, we left for Mexico.

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Now, I sit here at a gorgeous beach side retreat, in a small Mexican fishing village, with homemade organic food, 2 yoga and pilates classes a day, warm water, pools, spas, and I feel…numb.  It is indulgent to get to spend time with my best friend, to work out, to focus on myself, but to tell you the truth, I’m wishing it was harder work.  I’m a reluctant vacationer.  I’m having a hard time feeling the joy, and designated time to be “unproductive” is foreign to me.  My BFF always teases me that when we travel it takes at least 2 days to “loosen my coil” and she’s right.  Maybe it just hasn’t loosened yet.  Maybe it never will.

At the welcome meeting this morning, the retreat owner, who started a medical program, a school and a work program for local women shared with us about her passion for making a difference in the community.  How she wanted to create a place of healing and health.  “The money comes and goes,” she explained. “What really matters is our physical and emotional health.  Without that we are nothing.”

Bam.  Those words hit me and gave me permission to release my self-judgments.  Is it really too much to ask to spend a week focusing on my health?  Laughing and relaxing with my BFF?  Meeting like-minded women?  Taking care of ourselves and not laser focusing on our careers?  Trusting that our children, even away from our constant watch, will grow and thrive and that we will be healthy and strong enough to witness their lives for many years to come?

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It took a couple days to completely let the guilt go.  I gave myself permission to be kind to myself and to take the time off while I have it.  Before life swallows me up again in family obligations, flashcards, soccer practice, grocery shopping, and career hustle.   I know life changes in an instant, and for this one week, I’m going to grab a book and a hammock, get my relaxation on, and savor cocktail hour with my BFF.

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 Salúd!

And of course, being the ever-resourceful business that woman I am, I still managed to make this video of the retreat for the instructors.  Hope you like!

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