I learned this lesson the hard way, not just once, but twice. When my daughter was 3 years old and again when she was 15, it took being on the verge of a complete breakdown for me to take a much needed break. Both times I was literally hanging by a thread at the point where not taking a break was no longer optional.
As a single mom living paycheck to paycheck there were 1,000+ reasons why I couldn't; time off work, who's going to watch her, don't have the money, it seems frivolous when funds are tight and on and on and on. I look back now and there were so many signs and so many missed opportunities to decompress, rejuvenate and fill my cup, but I was too in the thick of it to notice.
Last weekend, my cousin who is a music teacher and a single mom with three kids, ages 15, 12 and 10, made it a priority and found a way to bring her two younger kids to LegoLand for a fun filled weekend. She used money from her tax return, scheduled red-eye flights Thursday night and Sunday morning, so she only had to take one day off work & it saved her money and made arrangements with a friend for her oldest. It was a whirlwind weekend, but they had a blast.
I drove down to spend Saturday with them. We had an amazing day full of fun and belly laughs, at one point I had my cousin laughing so hard, she almost fell out of her bed. And the kids, they were smiling from ear to ear. At the end of the day, my cousin and I were lounging poolside while the kids swam reflecting on how so many parents, especially single parents, don't prioritize fun, play and vacation, but how necessary it is for the kids AND the parents.
Then today, I receive a call from my Sister. She received an offer for a trip to Mexico that will barely cost her anything, but she can't decide what to do. Between the kids, her business, lack of time and money...she has every reason to regretfully decline.
But, she called the wrong person lol! I wasn't about to let that happen. I love my sister dearly, I know how hard she works and I know how desperately she could use some relaxation and a good recharge. I went straight into problem solving mode, shooting down her invalid excuses and offering solutions for the valid ones. I am happy to report she will be taking a much needed vacation!
You think you can't afford a vacation, but the reality is you can't afford not to! You can't hustle and grind every day with no self-care or fun. That is a recipe for disaster...or worse, a breakdown, which leaves you unable to care for those who rely on you. Instead of pushing yourself to the breaking point, learn from the lessons of my cousin, my sister and myself.
I know my cousin went home a different and more whole person than when she came to California. I know my sister will return to her kids and business fully charged having left her overwhelm and stress in Mexico.
Find a way, ask for help, be open to receiving and commit to making it happen. I promise, you will thank me later. :)
Here's to another week of living your life by design, not by default!