Taking Time for Myself Part 1: Conquering Fears

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I’ve been told before that it’s important for moms to take time for themselves. It always sounds so easy, but practically speaking, time is hard to come by for moms, regardless of whether they work or stay home. In the last year or two, though, I haven’t felt like myself, mostly because of a general lack of sleep. I decided it was time to make a better effort in this department, and I knew I’d need to conquer my fears. 

So what did I do? Instead of getting myself a gym membership or getting a mani-pedi, or even taking a girls weekend away, I decided to book myself a nine-day trip, halfway across the world, with a tour group full of people I’d never met. That’s right. I decided it was finally time to book the Birthright Israel trip that I should have taken while in college. 

Honestly, when I first applied for the trip, I never saw myself actually going if accepted. I just felt compelled to apply, since I had previously missed out on this trip by aging out of eligibility. Recently trips for 27 to 32-year-olds and I felt like it was my second chance. Once accepted, I had to decide whether or not to pay the deposit. It was a week full of questions running through my head, mostly concerning my safety, but ultimately, I decided to pay it. 

Over the next few months, I talked myself in and out of the trip hundreds of times. I got my 20-month-old to finally sleep without being attached to me, and we had a practice night of him sleeping at his grandparents’ house, so at least my Israel trip wouldn’t be his first time feeling that separation. I was the one with the separation anxiety, though. Despite my negative feelings, I was also getting excited about the itinerary and thinking about everything I would do, see, and eat. This would be good for me, my husband, and my kids!

Two weeks before the trip, my husband and I found out we were pregnant again, which just brought me back to that place of feeling apprehensive. Both of my previous pregnancies started with a lot of nausea, and I had some early complications, too. How could I manage that in a foreign country with nobody familiar around? It seemed like a great reason to back out of the trip, and stay in the comfort of my own home with my husband and kids, where all would be normal and fine. 

My daughter practically pushed me out the door on the day of the trip, as I just cried and cried, thinking about all of the what-ifs. She kept reminding me that I had been excited about it and she wanted to hear about Israel. I had lost sight of the excitement and my reason for applying, which was that I wanted to model to my children that it’s essential to do things for ourselves and that they should do these things, too. I wanted to show that fears can be real, but we can work through them. My behavior up until this point wasn’t demonstrating any of it. 

What happened next? You guessed it. I went to the airport, kissed my family goodbye through many tears, and counted down the hours until my safe arrival back home. I did it, and I’m home now to share the story of conquering fears. Next up, I’ll be sharing about the experience of being away and how it further defined and shaped me in my role as a mother. Stay tuned for more! 

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Sarah is a Massachusetts native, currently living with her husband and two young children, ages 4 and 1, in the same North Attleboro neighborhood where she and her husband grew up. When her daughter was born in 2014, she left the workforce and decided to stay home, while also building up a portrait photography business, capturing the bump through baby phase of life. Now with two kids in tow, the days are busier and the nights are more sleepless than she ever imagined possible. When she musters up enough energy, she gets the kids outside to play, visit local parks and farmers markets, and help out with tending to the gardens. Other times, though, she can be found hiding in the kitchen, sipping a cup of coffee and eating the very same snacks she denied her children five minutes prior. This mom gig is no joke and she is just trying to find some balance in what she does.