Retreat - Desperate Cracked Out Mom Style

The story begins with a beyond exhausted cracked out mother who has started to panic and lose all peace because there is So. Much. to do.  Said mother has dealt with sleep deprivation.  It's part of the mothering game, she says.  But this was beyond anything ever experienced and was out of control.  Like several days in a row with two or three hours of sleep max per night.  And night terror-esque behavior from children and a nursing every hour or two baby.  It was bad.  I was desperate.

The husband sailed through on his white horse and suggested that he stay home the next morning while  I made the trip to the new Trader Joe's in Rochester.  Alone.  An hour long car ride.  No need to ask twice.

I awoke long before dawn (after the baby had woken only THREE times that night!  Henceforth, I'm feeding him organic hotdogs every. night.).  I prayed, grabbed my coffee, some CDs, pulled on my fancy grandma boots, and stealth ninja-ed my way out the door so as not to wake the sleeping children.  (Ninjas are quiet, right?  Does that metaphor make sense?  Wait, what are ninjas anyway?  Do they wear awesome boots that belonged to their 96 year old grandmother?)

I got in the husband's fancy truck (forsaking the about to keel over van of death that you need to kick to start).  I pulled away in the dark predawn hours and drove.  And as I fought the urge to just drive and drive and drive, I broke out the song that got me through Luke's birth and let it rip.  I am admitting that my favorite Advent song is not a centuries old chant or time tested hymn.  I played it over and over and over the whole way.  And I prayed and cried and planned and breathed.
I spent two hours in the new Trader Joe's and spent one month's grocery budget in one trip.  I alleviated my guilt by acknowledging that I was buying for Christmas as well as normal food, some of which will last us five or six months.    

This was my retreat.  I needed a break so very badly.  And in lieu of the perfect Catholic women's retreat that somehow recognizes the needs of nursing mothers while simultaneously giving them a brief respite of calm and quiet reflection from the demands of motherhood (how that would work I don't know, but it needs to happen) complete with beautiful sacred music and a stellar spiritual director, this will have to do.  That and some more Adoration.  It was glorious and just what I needed.  To take care of one of the tasks while at the same time getting a much needed break and time to just breathe.  I came home feeling refreshed and renewed and excited to celebrate Christmas rather than worn down by the to do list.  I highly recommend it.

And I treated myself to a rosemary tree:

So, here's what you need to do, dear fellow stressed out mother with way too much to do:  go to your bedroom, close the door, and lay down on your bed or get on your knees.  (Of course, if you are able, go for the drive.  Especially if you have your husband's fancy truck.)  Turn this song on loud, but NOT so loud that your children think you are daring to have fun.  Then pray and cry and plan and breathe.  Listen to it as many times as you need.  Give it all over to Him and let His Spirit give you new life, new strength, and new hope.  It will be okay.  You will sleep again.  You will get through whatever you are going through right now.  You will find rest.  You can do this motherhood thing (or whatever thing) that feels way too big and way too hard.  And He will give you the strength to do it.

(I know you were too tired to really click on the link up there.)

Have a retreat on me.  And I won't even make you grocery shop.

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  1. Trader's Joe is simply made of awesomeness. I almost worked for them at their headquarters and it's one job I'm sad I didn't get because they are an amazing company. My local store is really fantastic because the employees get to know us and some will stop and have one-sided conversations with my autistic (and thus not verbal) 3.5 year old. When they help me out, one of the employees will make racecar sounds to entertain my son. If they took WIC, I wouldn't shop anywhere else.

  2. Can you believe I haven't been to Trader Joe's since I went with you? What's wrong with me?!?! It's just not the same without you, Mary!

  3. My favorite song of all time!!! Love the video that goes with it- perfect. Glad I had a break and hope the boys will give you both some rest!

  4. Oops supposd to be " hope u had a break" sorry just getting used to life with an iPod and no computer so typing isn't quite the same.

  5. I didn't have Trader Joe's when you guys were little or a fancy truck to drive, but this song carried me thru some very, very hard times. It touched my mother's heart and gave me strength. There's no place else to go but to the Breath of Heaven. I'm so glad you had your retreat time and are renewed and refreshed. This is a beautiful Advent story.

  6. Love this story, Mary! Isn't it awesome to get a much-needed, rejuevenating break. Soooo good for the soul. (I'm speaking from experience, and am not implying that your soul needed a tune-up!) One of the best parts of stories like this - awesome husbands! They're the greatest gift to a mom, huh?? (Again, speaking from experience... but it sounds like you've got yerself a good one too;) )


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