Friday, October 31, 2008

A Canyon Ranch State of Mind

I am in a Canyon Ranch state of mind, and am fighting hard to stay that way.

I returned late Tuesday night (last week) from Tucson, where I stayed for five nights, sans husband or child. I was invited to speak there re: my books, and I stayed on a bit to vacation. Let me just say (and they're not paying me to endorse them), that Canyon Ranch is a really special experience. I actually found it life-altering on more levels than I anticipated.

Spending some alone time opened up an emotional well for me. Here I was with a rare opportunity to chill solo, and I'm crying on more than one occasion. This visit touched a nerve...a BIG one. I went with the intent on working on some specific things, i.e. weight loss, and trying some new exercise options, and I emerged feeling that I do have the ability to take some control.

I connected with some cool women who made me feel welcome. It was a bit of a challenge for me to be traveling alone, but I didn't have any friends who could accompany me at this time, and my husband isn't a spa fan. Once there, I proved I was able to handle it, and because I was alone, it led me to reach out to others more than I might have, and I'm glad for those I met in the process. I was out of my comfort zone for the better.

I was so grateful to have this time away for introspection.

As moms, we try to do so much, and after awhile, you feel like you're on a treadmill. At Canyon Ranch, I actually got on a treadmill...but by choice. And, that's a whole different feeling, because I was practicing self care.

We need to do that. As tough as it is, we owe it to ourselves as moms, wives, partners, women, sisters, daughters, etc. It won't happen if we don't take care of our own mental state. And, especially as "later" moms, we need to be all the more dilligent re: our health and mental well-being. We want to be there for our children and serve as a positive role model for them in as many ways as possible.

While I recognize not everyone can take a Canyon Ranch break, there are different ways you can incorporate some peace into your daily lifestyle.

I've always been a big fan of meditation and getting quiet (I don't do it enough).

Having lunch with a good friend and really getting to talk and share is wonderful (It's not the same as email).

Taking a walk, looking at the leaves turning colors, etc.

Exercising even if you don't feel like it. (It gets the endorphins going.)

Practicing mindful eating. Notice the texture, etc. of your food, and you'll appreciate it all the more. (I tend to eat quickly so I can move on to the next task.)

Don't watch television before bed. (I'm guilty of this.)

Playing music during the day. (Especialy when you first wake set the mood.)

Do you practice self care, and if so, what advice would you give to other later moms?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Trip Guilt

I am so conflicted.

I'm off tomorrow for a six day jaunt to Canyon Ranch in Tucson where I'm leading two workshops based on my book HOW TO MARRY A MENSCH.

I'm going by myself, which is a unique traveling experience for me. And, I feel like I'm racing the clock like a crazy person. Doing even more multi-tasking than I already do.

Aside from packing and preparing for my talks, I'm jumping ahead to projects that will arise when I return, trying to anticipate tasks so I can potentially kickstart them now. And, I'm planning dinners for Seth while I'm gone, his snacks for school, etc.

No wonder I couldn't sleep last night, with all that is going through my head. I jumped up at 3AM to send myself an email on my Blackberry, so I'd get it at my computer this morning and not forget to do something.

Part of me finds the notion of the trip freeing. When was the last time I had an opportunity to really focus on myself, aside from lecturing to singles? As relaxed as I hope I'll be once there, I'm doing a number on myself right now to pack all the right things. I want to seize the vacation moment and read books I've been longing to get some writing....chill....sleep later...and let my creative juices flow.

Yet, I don't want to have too many expectations for this trip. That's a lot of pressure. I need to live in the moment and let things unfold. That's when excitement can really kick in. But, I'm such a planner that I make myself nuts. It's not like this is the only vacation I'll ever have again, though I don't make a habit of going away without Marc and Seth. And, I'm only doing it now because of the speaking opportunity. I am very flattered to have been invited by Canyon Ranch to share my expertise as a dating book author. It is always gratifying to feel like I can help others.

So, back I go to my list making...leaving notes for my husband and nanny re: handling various matters during my time away.

I know things will be in good hands. Yet, it still feels odd to be flying the coop, so to speak. I'll miss everyone, though a little absence can make the heart grow fonder, as they say.

I bet, though, once I'm settled in my seat on the plane, I'll be grateful for some solitude and a break from everyday motherhood. How often as moms do we allow that for ourselves? It's so tough to give yourself permission, even if it's a short break.

We certainly do deserve it, so I'm going to try my best to leave my guilt at the door.

Have you gone away by yourself whether for business or pleasure, since becoming a mom? How was it for you?

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Mommy Cliques

I was speaking with a mom friend the other day who commented on how she felt like she was back in high school, and I fully understood. Here we are, two "later" moms in our 40s, feeling like we're 16 again, wanting to be liked. Holding on to old/existing/close friendships, yet yearning to connect with other moms in our local area for playdates, lunch, etc.

We've got many years experience on the work and personal front behind us, yet now we feel like we're backpedaling in the mom friendship department.

What is that about? Has that happened to you?

Case in point....

I was at McDonald's earlier this week with Seth. We are far from regulars there, but he was craving a Happy Meal toy and loves playing in their climbing maze.

We went there for lunch, and after eating, I parked myself on a bench in the outdoor area while Seth befriended some other children and ran around, having a great time. I had brought with me a supply of magazines and my Blackberry, so I could stay plugged in to emails (yes...I'm obsessed) and catch up on some reading.

Two moms entered the play area, one of whom I knew from the neighborhood. Our children had both gone to the same nursery school, and we've had some casual encounters since at local parks. She said "hi" and proceeded to look around for a place to sit with her friend, when there were two seats on the bench beside me. For the moment, it felt as if she ideally wanted to sit somewhere else, but since other seats weren't available, she opted to join me. She was polite enough and introduced me to her friend, but my instinct told me she wasn't looking for my company. I tried not to take it personally. Afterall, it wasn't our playdate. But, it made me very conscious of the notion of mom cliques, and how great it is to have a local, fellow mom buddy to pal around with and without the kids.

Another pair of moms came into the McDonald's play area with their kids, and after they were done, one said to the other, "I'll speak with you tomorrow."

I have to admit...I felt a pang of jealousy. While I don't want for friends, and have some close ones I treasure, many don't live near me, some are single, others work so aren't readily available, etc.

It takes a lot to be in sync with someone, and making new friends is never the easiest. Especially if you are seeking relationships with some level of depth, which I've always appreciated.

I just never expected to be thinking about this at this stage in my life.

Some of the moms I've met, I've noticed, who already have a mom social circle, have children older than Seth, so they've already had the opportunity to meet through school and other outlets. And, they may also have a close family, which makes a difference too.

My friend Debbie whose two kids are older than Seth tells me that it will get easier over time, as Seth chooses his own friends. And, perhaps I can get involved with the PTA. I'm certainly open to that option.

This is not to say that I haven't met any moms whose company I enjoy. I have. And certainly, starting has helped. But, it takes time to cement real friendships. I would welcome more of that into my life....for both Seth and me.

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