How to Go on a Retreat

Kumler Chapel, a favorite quiet spot on my college campus
Kumler Chapel, a favorite quiet spot on my college campus

This is the third post in a series on the importance of taking a regular retreat. You may also enjoy Why You Should Go On a Retreat.

f you are now thoroughly convinced of the need for a regular retreat, the next question is HOW is this supposed to happen?

Firstly, let’s make clear that your getaway doesn’t have to be a multi-night extravaganza. It could be a half-day spent in a coffee shop, a day trip to a local nature preserve or park, a night spent in a local B & B, or even a friend’s spare room.

A retreat can–and should–look different depending on your particular season of life, personality, and resources.

But whatever your current child-watching support or financial situation looks like, please don’t let either of those prevent you from making a good effort to secure some needed time away. 

A ranch-style B & B in the hill country of Texas where Hubs and I once stayed
A ranch-style B & B in the hill country of Texas where Hubs and I once stayed

How I Got Away

Whenever I would mention the possibility of an overnight mommy retreat, terror would cloud my husband’s face.

To be fair, he’s working full-time, in grad school, and our 14 month-old son is only now grasping that nights are for sleeping, not hanging out and snacking.

So, it’s not exactly an easy season for him to take over my duties as mommy.

We also don’t live near our families and as we are still fairly new to FarmTown, the kind of friendships that allow for watching each other’s children all day are still developing.

All of this to say, I was not the ideal candidate for a 4 day/4 night mommy retreat.

And yet, that is exactly what I got.

On Thursday, a sweet friend came over in the morning with her toddler and watched our kids until Hubs got home. Then he “worked from home” (good luck, Hubs) on Friday. I hear Saturday and Sunday were a whirlwind of megablocks, Mary Poppins, and Consumer Theory (grad school stuff).

Frankly, it was more time away than I needed and I missed my family desperately as my trip drew to a close. But, it was also an amazing blessing to have such an extended break.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. I could sit here for hours.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. I could sit here for hours.

How You Can Get Away

(Especially When You Have Little Ones)

1.) Take a retreat at a time that works well for your husband (or whoever will be watching the wee ones). Coordinate schedules and consider what works best for them. If you’re shooting for an overnight, maybe you put the kids to bed on a Friday and then head somewhere until Saturday afternoon.

2.) Consider trading childcare with a friend. If your trip falls over a time when Daddy can’t be home, ask a friend to do a swap with you–she watches your kids now, you watch hers when she needs a break. Frankly, I think we should all be supporting each other in such things anyway. We gotta have each other’s backs!

3.) Start saving now! If finances are a hindrance to getting away, start setting aside a little each month until you have what you need.  $10-15 a month for a year would more than pay for a night at a B & B.

Or, remember: a friend’s house is free. As Kat mentions, you could always trade hosting retreats with a friend.

4.) Set Daddy up for success. (I am by no means slighting Daddy’s abilities as a caregiver. Quite the contrary. Our Daddy did awesome, night-wakings and all. Shoot, he even got them dressed and to church–early!–which I can hardly do by myself).

But you want the sailing to be as smooth as possible for him. Freeze some meals, write up a rough daily schedule, give him some ideas for activities when the babies get stir-crazy.

5.) Give up control. Yes, life for the babes will be a little different while you’re away. But it will be just fine. The baby may be fussy, wake up at night, and refuse the milk you left for him (all true in our situation), but baby will live. And Daddy will too.

Don’t dwell in anxiety about what may be going on while you’re away and let it rob you of joy in your getaway.

The house may be a disaster when you get home. So what? My guess is that some refreshing time away is WAY worth a little extra cleaning.

What is your biggest hindrance to taking an annual retreat?

Share it with your husband or a friend and brainstorm ways to overcome it. I can almost promise you it will be worth it.


About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • brenda venable

    Congrats on the 2 months for ASH! What a journey you have set out for yourself and your readers too. Keep it coming!

  • Jennifer

    Tread stayed home Friday and watched the kids while I spent the day at Doula training. We learned a lot from walking in the other person’s shoes for a day. I learned that after a hard day in class, I really just wanted to relax, not be met at the door with more chores. It would have been really nice to have walked in to a clean, peaceful house. Hubs though, learned that there was literally not a spare minute in the day to clean said house!

    So we have agreed that it is both nicer when the house is clean and that there is no time to clean it. We are now considering birthing a “quiver-full” of cleaning super-children to tidy up after us…

    …or we could just get a maid.

  • Pingback: What I Learned on My First Retreat | A Simple Haven()

  • Pingback: What to Do Upon Your Return | A Simple Haven()

  • Pingback: A Haven for Moms | A Simple Haven()