The word “retreat” doesn’t really enter a mum’s vocabulary very often. For most of us, we associate it with over-indulging and the very thought of it evokes that horrid “mum-guilt”. We think we don’t deserve to go on a retreat, have time for one or spend money on one for ourselves when there’s swimming lessons to be paid, a mortgage payment due soon and a rates bill on the way… Sure, all those things are important, but aren’t you important too? How are you supposed to steer the ship and pour from the jug when you’re running on empty? Don’t you need to look after yourself every now and again so that you can tend to your crew properly? Don’t you need a reboot?
So, what if we change the stigma and turn the word “retreat” into a normal #mumlife word? Let’s take this word, grasp it, hold it, hug it, clutch it for dear life and make it a special annual or even bi-annual compulsory part of being a mum. What if we put it in the rule book when you become a mum and we ALL treat ourselves to a retreat every single year? Surely, if every mum starts doing it, eventually it will become the normal mum thing to do? How does that sound? What if we eliminate the “mum-guilt”?
When the opportunity for us to go on the METreat Retreat women’s retreat arose. Yes, it took a bloody long time for us to decide to go. We ummed and ahed for weeks, we mums, with our six kids between us and our crazy busy lives. The very thought of a weekend away by ourselves, no kids, no hubbies, got us wanting, longing, desiring. Should we? Shouldn’t we? Mum guilt played a huge role in our decision, so much so, we almost turned it down, but my gawd, we are so glad we didn’t. The retreat, on May 24 – 26, was honestly one of the best weekends we’ve ever had, and one of the best experiences we’ve shared together.
On the Friday afternoon, we said goodbye to the kids and the Hubby’s and hopped into the car, excited (and a little apprehensive!) for what lay ahead. We didn’t know any of the other eight women who were joining us, and we had never in our lives talked about a retreat, let alone actually had the balls to go on one. After a fun (and hilariously immature) two hour drive spent singing and recording our very own Mama loves to share Car Pull Karaoke, eating chips and drinking Kombucha, we walked into the Summer House in Torquay.
The house was STUNNING! We both agreed it was our dream house, styled exactly the way we would style ours (in another life, without kids smearing Vegemite and greasy cheese fingers all over everything!) and in a location we could only dream of living! Bliss!
We walked in to the lounge to find a few women, all different ages, settled on the couch, some with champagne, some with cups of tea, one colouring, others chatting. We soon discovered none of these women knew each other, and were all just as nervous as we were to stay in a house full of strangers. We were greeted by Tanya and Vikki (our hosts for the weekend and the amazing ladies behind MEtreat Retreats) , popped our things away in our gorgeous little bedroom, took a few deep breaths and joined the ladies in the lounge, ready for an icebreaker led by Tanya, where we introduced ourselves via a speed friending game before sitting down to dinner.
Dinner. Oh my Lordy. We don’t think we were prepared for just how incredible the food, cooked by our very own personal chef Carly from The Whole Food Artists was going to be. Healthy, nourishing and damn right delish! Just to be served food, we didn’t have to cook was bliss! And then to have our plates cleared AND washed for us! What was this magical land we had entered!??
After dinner, we popped on our slippers and headed into the yoga studio which was situated in a building at the back of the property (yes, there was a purposefully built room/bungalow just for yoga and meditation!!) ready for the welcome circle and what began as the place where our hearts opened and our minds relaxed. We were asked to choose a card, explain why we chose that card and why we decided to come on this journey to the METreat Retreat. Let’s just say there were a few tears, a few sighs of relief and a few friendships formed in that circle, as we shared things many of us probably didn’t plan on sharing.
That night we chatted and laughed with our new friends. There was no kids to put to bed, no dishes, no washing to sort, no curfew, no obligations, just wine (if we desired) friendly faces, a warm fire, a ridiculously comfy couch, huge floor cushions and homemade organic dark chocolate to nibble.
The next day started – not with the usual pitter patter of feet, the smack in the face by a toddler, the smell of a shitty nappy or the fighting of school kids over who has the last Weetbix – but with gentle Yoga at 7am followed by half an hour of meditation (all activities were completely optional btw). We may or may not have fallen asleep during the meditation… What a way to start the day! Is this how some people actually begin their days? Then back inside for another sensational breakfast (honestly we can’t rave enough about the food!) which then followed with a 1.5 hour walk in Torquay. After our walk we headed back to the house to the couch for a ‘stress workshop’ which included some stress reducing exercises led by Tanya.
After lunch was dream time – time to relax and rest. Some of us napped, some chatted, some had massages in the yoga room, some had off-site treatments or went bathing at the spa. For our ‘dream time’ we chose to have a team building Psych K session with wellness coach Tanya. Psych K is a spiritual process whereby you access your subconscious mind, body and spirit in order to change self limiting beliefs. In our case – we delved into our fears in relation to success, self worth and moving forward. It was empowering and perhaps opened up new exciting perspectives for us as a business. A restorative stretch yoga session was held before dinner – an awesome session however we got a little “giggly” because… well… we all know what happens when you perform some abnormal stretch moves after a lentil lunch…
That night we enjoyed some delicious Rose while we had facials and braided each others hair… yep, it went there! You could see on this second and final night how much more comfortable we were with each other as we were more open to chat about our lives, our fears, our failures and our successes. We were relaxed, well rested, no more apprehension but instead a new found inspiration embraced us. Could this be a trip we take again? Could this have been the something we needed so badly without actually realising it? Hell’s yeah.
The next morning started again with some gentle yoga and meditation (to be honest, we thought we might be sick of all the yoga and meditation by now but honestly, our bodies and our minds had never felt better!), then another delicious breakfast followed by a coastal hike along Torquay beach to Jan Juc, stopping at a local cafe for coffee half way. Then back to the Summer House for lunch, a personal development session on stress and finally the closing circle. It was clear that each of the women in attendance that weekend had changed as we went around the circle and talked about what we felt we had gotten out of the weekend. It’s amazing how much self reflection takes place in just two days and two nights when you’re forced to rest, relax and unwind.
It’s inevitable that you form a new perspective on your life and make promises to yourself that you’ll tackle things differently back in the stress filled world that is your real life. It’s true, this retreat was like a dream, it was an escape, a haven away from the stress that engulfs and overwhelms us at home. But it was more than that. It wasn’t just la la land. It was a space to not just rest your tired body but a space to empty your mind, reorganise and reevaluate the way you approach things at home. We still have a long way to go in terms of managing our stress, our success, our rest and our motivation, but if there’s one thing we’ve learnt, we are certainly on the right track starting with encouraging and empowering as many women as we can to do exactly what we just did – take some much-needed time out to reboot.