In 2016, I attended the Mom Conference for the second time. My first time attending in 2015 is a bit hazy, as I was two weeks postpartum with my second son. However, regardless of the haze, it was honestly life-changing.
So, I was very excited for 2016’s conference, entering into it with more sleep, increased ability to focus, and a better understanding of what I would be able to gain from the speakers. While all the presentations were amazing, I loved what Erin Odom had to say. I had never heard of her before (Maybe I just live under a rock, but the Mom Conference has introduced me to many new people that I can’t believe I never knew about previously). Erin exudes positivity and makes you feel like you can get things done! She provides tips and ideas to help moms take action.
I love what she encouraged moms to act on last year: a personal retreat. She spoke about the importance of taking time away, but not just any time away where you pamper and sleep (don’t worry, there can be some of that too if you go away for an overnight!). No, Erin talked about taking time away and being productive. She presented the idea of planning ahead to take a day, or two, or more, and to use that time purposefully, to plan. As a fellow planner, I loved this idea. And, as a mom, I loved the idea of getting away.
If you’re already checked out because you don’t think it’s possible to take a personal retreat, keep in mind this can be a simple trip out of the house for an hour or two, but the focus and intent is likely different than our usual outings. And, full disclosure- a year after learning about this idea, I haven’t had a lengthy personal retreat, but I do try to take a couple hours here and there any apply Erin’s principles.
Your personal retreat is used to plan, to set goals, and to organize. With additional time, you can tackle tasks. Maybe your personal retreat can be a trip to the coffee shop where you organize your monthly calendar and do your meal planning (which Erin will help us with this year at the Mom Conference), or perhaps you can get away for a day or two where you can dive deeper into your goals and areas you want to focus on. The retreat allows you to organize and get ahead. Because let’s face it, day-to-day is often about survival; it’s treading water. How nice would it be to have personal time where we can be productive in this way?
I love the idea of taking a personal retreat with a friend, which Erin talked about last year. However, you and the friend need to be on the same page with the purpose and focus for the trip. You can make some time to chat and socialize, but you also want to support each other in reaching your retreat goals. I remember Erin talking about getting away on her own and meeting up with friends at the end of the day for dinner. This way, you can focus on yourself and what you need to accomplish but still have the social connection that’s important for many of us.
Sometimes we need to hear an idea from someone else for a lightbulb to go off. A personal retreat is one of those beautifully simple ideas that I probably would never have thought of on my own. Alone time? Yes. A vacation? Yes please. A purposeful time (that’s more than a few minutes) to plan, organize, and lay the foundation for progress? It never would have occurred to me because life often feels like I’m just trying to keep up. By adding in personal retreats, getting organized and on track feels more like a reality!
Sara Robinson is a (mostly) work-from-home mom of two boys. She has an MA in Sport Psychology and aims to help busy moms create more balance and develop the mental skills needed to survive and thrive in motherhood. She writes at Get Mom Balancedand can be found on social media at Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.