conflicted feelings in france

Have you ever been on vacation and completely, successfully disconnected from your worries in real life?

Maybe you have fun, but also feel anxieties from home still swimming in the back of your mind?

I write a lot about play, and I’ve gotten pretty good about taking time off and away. 😉 But let’s face it…completely checking out on vacation is HARD (and if you know how to be totally present, PLEASE respond to this email and tell me your strategy!)

Here is what I mean.

I spent the last 2 weeks in one of my favorite places on earth…France!

I ate too much (crazy good) cheese, drank too much (delicious) wine, and laughed my way through 8 places in 14 days, channeling and (attempting to) embrace my favorite play personality – the Explorer. It was pure joy.

BUT I was also holding something big in my mind.

For the first time since my children were born, we were all in different places, in different time zones, and having very different experiences. The mother in me couldn’t quite shake the concerns for their safety, health and happiness. It was always in the back of my mind.

How could it not be?

If you’re an empty nester reading this, share your wisdom with me!

If you’re a new parent reading this, I GET IT. You are just at the beginning of a long road of FUN…but also worries (I promise it’s WAY more fun than worry).

Having a tween and 2 teens, I should be ready by now for each one of us to move on to our own unique adventures.

It’s time. It’s necessary. And it’s part of growing up.

But most parents will admit that the worries never end. I mean, imagine this: one child called throwing up, another lost her phone, another called from the corner of a bathroom recounting such bad dreams that I’d call it anxiety…what could I say? What could I do?

How was I supposed to be fully present in France while simultaneously carrying 10 tons of fear and uncertainty for my babies??

Then I reminded myself that we can’t fix everything.

But what we CAN do is hold space.

Listen calmly.

Love unconditionally.

Try not to book the next flight him and solve a problem they need to learn to solve on their own (that last one was hard for me, and a reminder that growing pains are for parents too).

So as I transported into the magic of France and found my version of joy in each minute, I watched my kids grow up from afar…causing me to grow up too. Funny how we never stop doing that…

And I was reminded that even as we parent, we need to create our OWN adventures too. We need to have our own moments of joy that are singularly and decidedly our own.

Becoming a parent doesn’t mean giving up who you are and sacrificing your own happiness.

Your kids will be the first to tell you that is the last thing they want.

What makes YOU tick? What are you craving for YOU? Not for your family, or your kids, or your friends, or your job…but for YOU?

I asked myself those same questions and then wondered how can I show up for anyone if I don’t have a sense of what I need for me?

Sooo….I invite you to play more and choose yourself sometimes – plan a weekend getaway, lose yourself in a good book, go on a long hike or start that photo project you’ve been meaning to create. Or eat some really good French cheese with a glass of rosé.

It doesn’t mean the worries will go away.

It doesn’t mean you are any less of a parent or friend because you took time to fill your own cup (and I mean that metaphorically, though feel free to refill your rosé).

What it DOES mean is that you will find more joy. And for that, everyone around you will too.

This should not be confused with what was one of the best trips of my life. I love France. I might live there one day. I loved every single minute.

I’m sharing this with you because if you are a parent, I realized it’s possible to hold two emotions at once. And because I learned a few things:

  1. Parenting never really stops.

  2. You deserve a vacation. It doesn’t mean life’s worries will go away, but you can and will be okay.

  3. Cheese (and wine) taste better in France.

With fierce love,

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