Staying in a hotel, no laundry, no cooking or dishes for 4 days? Now that sounds like self-care to me! Yet at the end of these 4 days I am so happy to be home. I am exhausted, physically and mentally. But otherwise, it was a great little family stay-cation!
My husband had the week off, so we decided to head into Saskatoon for a few nights as a treat and to get the girl’s back to school shopping done.
I know all of you Mama’s out there will hear me on this…the sentence “Mom can I get this?” heard enough times during back to school shopping can start to sound like nails on a chalkboard. As my kids have gotten a little older, they started asking a bit better questions like “Mom if I get this, can I still get that?” and “Mom how much is this?”.
So this year we decided to change things a bit. They are old enough now. So we gave the girls a budget and let them handle their own cash (with the youngest’s wallet in Mom’s purse for safe keeping!). Then they had to ultimately make all of their own decisions and we were only there to intervene if things got out of hand!
They really developed a great thought process on how to spend their money in the wisest way. The best example of the trip was them both really wanting expensive leggings, but being very hesitant on spending that much cash on one item. So while they also got (too many!) other things, they shopped at a used clothing store and found some great, cheaper items to make up for the cost of their leggings. I was quite proud of the way that they handled their budget and helped each other shop. They also did very well with price comparing and window shopping before making final decisions. There was very little impulse buying, and for people struggling with something like mania, as I do, that can be a life long skill to develop.
We did manage to do a couple other things too, besides shopping! We all went to the movies one of the afternoons. My oldest and I went to see Ocean’s 8 and I thought it was amazing! I’m definitely no movie critic, but the female star power alone, wow! My husband and our youngest went to see TAG. I’m sure it was much too inappropriate for her, but for real? Pfft or meh, take your pick. They thought it was hilarious and enjoyed each other’s company, and we all got some one on one time. So you know what? I’d call that success!
We also ate food. Lots of food! Ribs, tacos and pickles on flatbread! Hey, I’ll be honest, even the food court food was good! Not healthy at all, but we were at the mall, and…when in Rome!
Besides such good family time with no fighting, my personal, absolute favorite, shiniest moments of the trip were those spent in the bookstores. Most would tell ya, I’ve always been enamored by bookstores and libraries. An eager reader from a very young age, books have always been my confidence, knowledge and escape. I have no idea how I only walked away with 2 new memoirs, because our hotel was across the street from a huge chain bookstore! BUT, I did come home with some inspiring new writing and office supplies. Notebooks, pens, new stationary, pencils…as any other writing, bookstore nerd would know, the essentials!
I am ecstatically happy to be home. Although I love the city for it’s easy access to almost any shopping or services that you could need, it becomes too much for my mind to constantly be in public when I am there. It was hard when certain situations arose and overwhelmed me a little. In a place like the mall, there are so many people, 20 stores playing different music and there was construction inside added to this visit. My brain was beginning to get over stimulated.
What surprised me the most about that stress was how I handled it this time. It may have been one of the best tiny moments of the trip and a sign of my mental health progess. As I was feeling overwhelmed, I looked over at my husband and actually told him exactly what I was feeling. He put his hand on my back and just talked to me quietly and told me everything was fine and we’d be out of the store right away. That is major progress for both of us! I didn’t hold in my fear or anxiety and risk an anxiety attack later on, I spoke up and told (my #1 supporter!) how I felt. It was also progress for my husband for being calm with me, not making me feel irrational, and helping me get through a couple of tough minutes.
Any of you out there not struggling or not in the support system of someone who does, you may not understand how amazing a difference that small amount of progress can make in your life. That hand on the small of my back gave me enough confidence to remember to breathe normally and collect my thoughts by myself.
THAT felt amazing!