Going it Alone: Why You Should Give Yourself Permission to Do You, All by Yourself
If you don’t recall the last time you had an opportunity to get away without your partner, your kids or for work, it may be time to think about what said opportunity could look like for you – and how it could be just what you need to support your self-care journey. Doing so did just that for me.
As a reluctant stay-at-home mom and trailing spouse who found herself in a new city with two small children, a typical day includes caring for my sons, tending to our home, and running errands. During nap-time I squeeze in taking care of my needs the best I can – doing a quick work out and showering, for example, and, more recently, creating content for She Before We.
In the very early stages of exploring She Before We as a creative outlet and platform, (only a few short months ago), I became drawn towards the idea of wanting to get into a space that would both inspire me to push forward and allow me to be immersed in my thoughts. Unsure of what this could look like, I took my search to Google. Obviously.
That’s when Summit 21, a two-day conference by Blavity, fell into my lap. I got excited.
Enter: Mom Guilt. It looked and sounded like this:
“You can’t go away to a conference for your own gain...by yourself...without the kids and the husband. You’ve never done that before. Who does that?”
I internally rationalized with myself, and I was glad I did. As an extrovert and a lover of people, personal development and all things women’s empowerment, I told myself that I should go out on a limb. The kids would (probably) survive without me, I also knew it would be only a matter of time before I went back to work and would have significantly less time to invest in myself then I do now. When I asked my husband what he thought about staying home with the boys while I venture out, and he nonchalantly said, “We’ll be good. Go for it”, I knew I had to grab my ticket. (It’s important to recognize and acknowledge here that #supportivepartnersmatter)
I flew to Atlanta, one of my favorite cities, in early June to attend Summit 21 to be in the presence of some of my favorite speakers and influencers, including Brittany Packnett, Angela Rye and Sarah Jakes Roberts. The intent of the conference was to guide attendees, who were all female, African-American millennials, to our “greatest vision for our lives and to provide actionable steps towards making it a reality”. We attended master classes and fireside chats, danced and did yoga, and created a sense of community and impact with one another that felt meaningful.
I found it to be so amazing to engage with other black woman who were in a positive, creative and forward thinking headspace. The diversity of thought and perspective within the sessions I attended was refreshing and so fun to be a part of. Bonus: I ran into old friends and a co-worker of mine from St. Louis (where I lived previously) and loved reconnecting over lunch along with new connections that had been made at the conference.
Something that struck me while in Atlanta is that you almost forget what being alone is like once you become a parent. I remember feeling odd upon returning to my hotel room at the end of the first day. Almost alarmed by the quiet. After I nervously paced my room a few times ("No one is crying, there are no diapers to change...OMG!"), I surrendered to just doing what felt best to me. I ordered room service, changed into something comfortable, got in the bed and journaled, and read and reflected on what I had learned that day. All by myself, in my quiet hotel room. It was awesome.
My lesson learned? Good times + Good people + Learning something new = Time well spent
I’d encourage you to take the time to create a space in which you can immerse yourself in your development and well being (preferably alone) if you are able to do so. Two days felt perfect for me, but maybe a day is all you need. Or maybe a week? And perhaps this won’t look like a conference for you. Perhaps it’s a yoga retreat, or weekend in a cabin on the water, or a spa get-away.
My Top 3 Take-Aways:
1. It’s important to take time for you - and you only - if you are able to do so. What steps can you take to begin exploring what this may look like for you?
2. Let someone else manage the kids from time to time without feeling guilty, worried, anxious etc. The house did not burn down, the kids lived without their mom, and they got some precious bonding time with their father. Everyone wins.
3. Black women are powerful creatures filled with passion, purpose and a strong sense of community. We have fun. We are simply amazing. You are too.
There you have it. Have I convinced you to try going it alone? Commit to what works for you, and then give yourself permission to do it. You won’t regret it. Who knows…maybe I’ll see you at Summit 21 next year?
You got this:
1. Consider ideas around how to spend some quality time with ourselves.
2. Think about how to be intentional in your personal development. It matters.
“I am adventurous, fearless and fierce.”