The writer’s retreat sounded perfect: The gift of time, unstructured, peaceful days to write, surrounded by nature, away from everyday stresses and demands.
As a full-time first-grade teacher writing a novel during the pandemic, the retreat was exactly what I needed. Yet I hesitated to sign up. What kind of mother drops her whole family for four days to go write in the woods? But why shouldn’t I go?
I filled out the application and paid the deposit. I was going!
Still, my doubts persisted. The retreat was scheduled for a holiday weekend, a sacred time usually set aside for family. Why did I feel guilty taking time to write? I’d never hesitate to attend weekend-long tournaments to cheer on my children. I floundered with my decision, especially when my daughter announced she’d be coming home from college that weekend.
Seeing others in my writing community prioritize their craft encouraged me to do the same. I took those days to surround myself in nature, to write, to create, and have conversations with other writers. I found a safe, supportive, welcoming space where I was able to find joy and express myself in my work. It was wonderful.
Back at home, I felt lighter, rejuvenated. Full. I was recharged with so much more to give my family than if I had not gone. As mothers, we often struggle to make time for our own creativity, yet when we make it a priority, everyone benefits.