For so many of us, a women’s retreat gives us that chance we need to get away from all stimulus that can distract us from God.
For me this means a night (or two, or three) where I don’t feed the animals, tend to my garden, raise my kids or serve my husband. I’m not washing laundry, mopping floors or scrubbing toilets for a short amount of time so I can just really focus on God.
But…there is a stressful part to it…the part where I know my husband is perfectly willing and able to run the entire farm and house and honestly, do a great job–but I still crave to be the one serving my family in that way. I know I’m not needed for those couple of days, but I crave the serving. I love to serve them.
Do you feel this way when you leave your family for any amount of time like I do? If you do, then I’d like to share with you five things I do to prepare my family for a woman’s retreat.
I’m not talking about your normal cleaning. I’m talking deep cleaning. This is a habit I got into when I was single and living by myself. I used to travel a lot and if there’s one thing I couldn’t stand, it was a long trip where I’d get home exhausted and walk into a dirty home. I’m told this isn’t normal–I get it. But I always had to come home to a clean house.
Often times when I was traveling back and forth from one side of the world to the other it would take me 2 days to get home and I would just be exhausted. I would sleep for an entire day and then have to get up the next day and start my full-time job.
My husband now tries to tell me that it’s not necessary now that we have a house full of kids. “It’s just going to be trashed by the time you get home, you know?” Yes, I know. But at least I left my family a gift.
2. Leave meals
Again, my husband reassures me everyone will eat well if I don’t do this, but I crave serving them. I make casseroles and frozen meals, mostly. I like to leave a slow cooker meal ready to go too. It makes me feel good to leave them–even though my husband cooks well and has an amazing attitude when it comes to serving his family too.
3. Leave easy projects for the kids
It would be difficult for my husband to try to just jump in with the homeschooling schedules only because it’s not his normal. It’s kind of like a substitute teacher. But, he does an amazing job anyway.
I see my days away as special bonding days for the Farmer and kids. I hate history and he is totally Mr. History. I buff up the history projects and movies for the days I’m away. I just make sure everything is set up to be super easy so he doesn’t have to find things. I want this to be the best experience for all of them.
4. Write and hide love notes for my husband
Okay. I love my kids and I dearly miss them. But it’s really hard at night to lay my head down and he’s not there. I miss my good-night kiss.
Leaving loves notes around the house in places I know he will find them lets me know he has something to read when he is feeling the same way.
When I leave, I get to focus on God 100%, but I don’t want my husband to feel like I don’t need him.
5. Pack ahead
When I get that phone call saying, “We’ll be there in 15 minutes to pick you up,” I’d rather spend that 15 minutes saying good-bye to my family than wondering if I have everything I need for the next four days.
I don’t want to be on edge trying to find everything at the last minute. In fact, I don’t want to be only paying half-attention to my kids that day because I’m packing.
I pack everything a day or two (okay, or four or five) ahead of time. I leave a list of things not packed (hairbrush, toothbrush, makeup, etc.) on top the suitcase. On the last day, I put the items in my suitcase as I use them and know I won’t need them again until my trip.
This helps me to stay calm and not anxious as it comes time to leave.
Do you also have a hard time leaving your families? What do you do to prepare your family and make leaving easier?