It was April 2017, my youngest son William (aka Billy) was three months old. I was no longer running off the adrenaline and hormones that a new baby brings. I was living off broken sleep gifted to me by 3 hourly feeds. Unlike the early months after the birth of my first son Thomas, I could not sleep when he had his 3 hour sleeps. Billy instead prefers to take a much different approach and opt for a 30-minute cat nap. Sadly, even on the occasions that he does mix it up with a longer sleep, this cannot be a time for rest as I am entertaining a 3-year-old whilst trying to explain the foreign concept of “being quiet” whilst his baby brother sleeps. To top it off I was in the early stages of developing Mums Who Wine, so this would also take up a lot of my “spare time” when the boys were entertained.
Firstly, let me be clear, this is not a “poor me” scenario, not at all. I recognise that this is the reality of motherhood. I also recognise that I am lucky that Billy sleeps at all, a luxury that many mothers sadly do not experience. However, it was at this time, that I realised that I needed to do something to invest in my own self-care, for my own mental state. For those that know me, know I do not do things in halves – so my decision was not to take myself for a massage or a glass of wine with friends, but to book a trip to travel to the Napa Valley in California for a week…. SOLO!
So why Napa? Sounds pretty extreme? Thankfully, I am very lucky to have one of my oldest and dearest friends living with her husband here and it was around this time that we were chatting and she threw out the suggestion of me coming to visit her. Instantly I was met with internal thoughts and mummy guilt such as “I can’t, I have two young kids”, “I can’t leave Billy while he is so young, that is so selfish” and also don’t forget the most common “what would people think?”
I am happy and on reflection proud that I didn’t instantly dismiss this suggestion despite my initial reaction and thoughts, I just sat on it. During the middle of the night I would research flights “just to see what it would cost” and as such I found an incredible deal of $1000 return flights from Melbourne to San Francisco, basically unheard of. This then led me to discuss the option of me going with my husband Mark, who I am so thankful for as he immediately encouraged the idea and we discussed options and how we could possibly make it work. We both came to the conclusion that this was an incredible opportunity for me to travel before I finish maternity leave, but to also spend some time with my good friend and to take some deserved “self-care” time.
Whilst I completely acknowledge and understand that a trip to Napa is not an option for everyone, I encourage and invite all of my “Mums Who Wine” to make the choice to ignore the noise and mummy guilt and make that decision to prioritise your own self-care. Whether it be taking yourself off to a movie that is not Disney or Pixar, or to grab a girlfriend and go out for a glass of wine and talk about life or jump on a plane and travel to the other side of the world to drink wine uninhibited – the choice is yours! Do not feel guilty, remember that you deserve it and taking the time for yourself will not only have a positive impact on yourself but also your family.
Sending my love from Napa