Refreshed Motherhood:Why and How To Take A Weekly Retreat

By April 13, 2010General

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I’ve shared about my morning routine. My morning time helps me tune my heart to God, get His plans for my day and organize my activities so I can get more done with less effort. They’re the equivalent of a wonderful daily retreat. But a daily retreat isn’t enough for me.

I’ve found that I need to step back every week and evaluate what I’ve done and what I’m doing to make sure I stay on track.

Today I want to tell you about my Weekly Retreat.

Why Take a Weekly Retreat

I am very easily distracted. For example. Um. Yeah.

It’s vital to step back regularly and evaluate if what we’re doing is actually what we should be doing. Having a morning routine helps a bit, but that time is usually just focused on the day at hand.
We need a larger chunk of time when we can look at our overall activities and decide whether they line up with our goals and mission statement.

So every Saturday morning from 5:30am – 10:30am I go to a local coffee shop to plan my week.

I LOVE this time. This is my lifeblood. An opportunity to step back, review what I did last week and what I’ll do next week. An extended period of peace and quiet when I can focus, plan and brainstorm.

I really enjoy being up and out so early that time itself is a point of conversation with the other poor souls who have also forsaken the comfort of their beds for a greater purpose. I love watching the sunrise from a cozy chair with my journal in one hand and a cup of tea in the other.

The best thing about a weekly retreat is that when you’re refreshed and prepared for the coming week, you AND your family benefit.

What To Do During Your Weekly Retreat

Here’s a sample of what I do during my weekly time:

  • Pray and journal
  • Menu Plan and Calendar Review
  • Create shopping list
  • Blog Post Planning
  • Organize to-do list – Select projects and tasks for the week.
  • Inbox zero – processing and reply to emails and try to get my inbox to zero
  • Write

Basically, this is the time to do things that require concentration and focus. Because, if your house is like mine, it might be the only chance all week to have complete, uninterrupted thoughts.

Where To Retreat

Not many places are open at 5:30am, so coffee shops and convenience stores are pretty much my only options.

So, yeah, I frequent Starbucks a lot.

I start my time as soon as I get in the car and put on some worship music. When I get to the coffee shop I spend time reading, praying, journaling and brainstorming.

Once the caffeine kicks in, I start replying to emails, planning and writing.

I rarely have several hours of completely uninterrupted time, so I do my best to complete each task before I move on.

How To Get Your Own Weekly Retreat

I have an amazing husband. He sacrifices sleeping in on Saturdays to take care of the kids so I can get away.

I realize that not everyone has a husband who is willing or able to allow you to get away each week, so here are some ideas you might use to make sure you get time away:

1. 
Trade each week with another mom. One week, she watches your kids, the next week, you watch her kids.
2. Family – 
If you have family in town, pehaps they’d be willing to watch the kids one morning or evening each week.
3. Early Morning Cartoons – 
If there’s no one who can watch your kids, perhaps you could wake up early get breakfast all ready for the kids and queue up their favorite cartoons. You should be able to snag an hour or so this way. I promise it won’t make their eyes square.
4. School or MDO – if your kids are in school or mother’s day out, and you don’t have that time allotted for anything specific, that’s the perfect time to get in a little retreat.

In Conclusion

A peaceful and refreshing home required a peaceful and refreshed mother. If you’re exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed, your home will reflect that. There are a thousand reasons not to have a weekly retreat, but the benefit of finding a way to steal away for that small chunk of time each week is amazing. It’s wonderful greet Monday feeling focused, refreshed and prepared for the week to come.

Action Step: Talk to your spouse or a friend today about scheduling a weekly retreat time.

Community question: What would be your ideal weekly retreat spot?

If you want to read more about weekly retreats, Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking has a great post about how she does her weekly planning. While you’re there, be sure to read my guest post last week – Get A Chef, A Maid and A Nanny By Creating Effective Routines

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Comments

36 Comments

  • Crystal says:

    This is such a great idea! I do all those things reguarly but rarely have time to actually injoy them. My ideal spot would be the park in the spring or even my own front porch once I get some patio furniture. 😉
    .-= Crystal´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday~April 12 =-.

    • Kat says:

      Crystal,
      You have a front porch…how fun! I do imagine that would be a really nice spot. Hope you get some patio furniture soon!

  • Anna says:

    Starbucks! I love that place and just the smell of that place put a smile on my face! But i don’t think i can make that work in my schedule but will be seeing how I can do that at home. I already do some of these things but scattered through out the week. I love the idea of setting time aside to really plan out and reallign for the week. Also, I love this blog and look forward to reading it! I love it when I have a new one in my inbox!

    • Kat says:

      Anna,
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. Thanks for your encouragement.

      There have definitely been seasons when I’ve had to adapt my weekly routine, but the early saturday morning at starbucks is what I always go back to when I can.

      I hope you find something wonderful that works for you and your family.

  • I love hearing about your weekly planning retreat! It is essential for keeping a godly and focused perspective in my homemaking as well. I love the term “refreshed motherhood” – that says it all! I also like that 5 hr chunk of time you take. Maybe I should get out earlier myself because it is usually just 2 hrs for me!

    • Kat says:

      Well, I was thrilled when I first found your post about it. It gave me a lot of new inspiration for what I could accomplish during that time.

      Yes, the 5 hours is really nice. It IS early, but I thoroughly enjoy watching the sunrise…

  • Trachelle says:

    hi! i am a new reader via simple mom and i am loving all this inspiration. i loved your ebook and am working on implementing it. i love this idea! previously i had been trying to do something similar once a week while my littles were at our babysitting co-op, but it was hit or miss. getting up early on saturday is the perfect way to motivate me to not sleep in on the weekend and get a consistent retreat. thank you for your inspired words and ideas.

  • Leslie says:

    I actually follow Lindsay’s blog……I found yours through her website. I started my weekly retreat this past Saturday. I love the library so I’ll be going there every Saturday afternoon for a couple of hours while my husband watches the kids. I loved it. I even got a few minutes in of reading, which I don’t get to do very often. I love the idea of getting up early, but the library doesn’t open until 12 on Saturday, so I go after lunch and during 1 yr old’s naptime.

    • Kat says:

      Leslie,
      The library – what a great idea. It’s cozy, free wifi and you don’t have to buy a $1500 cup of coffee to hang out there.

      Thanks for sharing!

  • niki says:

    Ooooh, I love this idea!

    Hi there! Niki here, stopping over from WFMW. I just wanted to pop in and check out your blog. I like what I see so far.

    Stop by my blog, Free 2 Be Frugal, when you get a chance!

  • What a great format for your weekly retreat. Being in a confined spot for 5 hours is key to removing the distractions. Just you and the list and the ability to focus!

    • Kat says:

      Rebecca,
      Yes, the long amount of time definitely helps because I’m not watching the clock feeling like I need to really rush. I can actually relax AND be productive.

      The caffeine helps too, of course. 🙂

  • Laura says:

    Thank you. This is so timely for me. I’ve been reaping the benefits of daily retreats and I think weekly is my next step. I love how you write. I love your angle. =)
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Make a Request =-.

  • kelli says:

    Hi Kat! I just happened on your website via a link from simple mom, and I read every single post. Love it and love how God is using you to inspire moms like me. Looking forward to participating in the discussions you are generating. Blessings to you tonight!

    • Kat says:

      Kelli,
      Wow. I’m so glad you found the site so engaging and useful. Very cool. Can’t wait to get to know you!

  • mindy says:

    what a great idea! I may not be able to do 5 hours, but at least 2 sounds doable. Do you find that you save time/money since you’re planning more?

    • Kat says:

      Mindy,
      I definitely do. I don’t waste as much money at the store buying things I already have and I don’t over plan my meals and buy too much food.

      As far as time goes, I get A LOT more done than I used to because I don’t spend so much time wondering what it is that I SHOULD be doing.

      I hope that helps!

  • may g says:

    I am in a completely different boat. Two weeks ago, everyone in my family including myself got sick one after the other. Since then, I am playing catch up with chores. I also find myself staying up till 1am. I know, I am stealing time from the morning when I can be more productive. After a long day homeschooling and a clingy 6-month old, I just find myself wanting some time to chill after everyone goes to bed. Paraphrasing Paul, I do not what I want to do. What I want to do, I do not do.

    I enlisted my husband’s help this week to help me stretch at the end of the day (i am in pain from holding the baby) and go to bed earlier. Unfortunately, he got sick and is in bed almost immediately after coming home from work. I will try again!

    • Kat says:

      Ah…I’ve been there. That’s such a rough place to be.

      Here’s a post I wrote after The Plague hit our house in February – http://inspiredtoaction.com/2010/03/how-to-get-back-on-track/

      I hope you find some of the ideas helpful.

      And I’m totally with you on the staying up late thing. I love the solitude of the late night when everyone is asleep. Even now, when I know I’m getting up early, I let myself stay up crazy late every now and then. There’s just something special and more relaxing about that late night silence.

      I hope everyone (especially your husband) gets better soon!

  • Melanie says:

    I absolutely LOVE this! Although I don’t have kids–yet–I can see this being of great value even now. I don’t get up and moving quickly on Saturdays but to spend all those hours in retreat would be pure bliss. I know spiritual retreats are essential–even for just a few hours–and I need to get back to this habit. Thank you for sharing and for the detailed way you presented your thoughts!

  • Anna says:

    I think I need to do this. If I had a library close, I think that would be my first choice, depending on when it is opened. Here (Congo) that is not an option. There aren’t even restaurants or cafes! I do have a desk in my room, and I think going in and shutting the door would be best.
    I do have a schedule that I attempt to follow, and do pretty well with it. But I sometimes lack the planning time that is necessary to keep everything going smoothly. There’s not really a time when my husband can watch the kids, but getting up earlier on Saturday would be a good start. (I’m usually not up until 6:30-7:00) Then maybe the kids could watch a movie when they get up.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..A Typical Morning =-.

  • Today is the day I ask my hubby about this. I’ve been wanting to do this for sometime now, but have never brought it up. My morning retreat would ideally include a time of Bible reading and prayer, a yoga class or a long walk, and some time to sit at my computer and make lists, calendars, schedules, and write. It may not be able to be 5 hours due to the fact that I’m still nursing, and it may not happen every week, but I’m going to try to do it regularly. Thanks for the encouragement!
    .-= Kim @ Staying Home´s last blog ..Free Starbucks!!! =-.

  • This is some great stuff, Kat! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas with us.

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  • Timbrel says:

    Is it cliche to say, “YOU ARE SO RIGHT?” I’m sure every other mother nodded their heads in agreement whilst reading this entire article. I’m working on a morning routine as of this week (and a running routine, and a life routine–need I go on?). Being successful is definitely a running-commitment. Thank goodness for encouragers so that we all have the motivation to keep on!
    .-= Timbrel´s last blog ..3 Must-Have Ingredients For Life To Be A Tasty Piece Of Cake =-.

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  • Keilah says:

    Hi there!
    I am new to your blog, Mandi had a link to this post and I have stopped by before from Simple Mom. You are on my reader now and I am excited. I love the idea of a weekly retreat because I too get sidetracked. I totally related to your story of distraction. Thanks for the encouragement and great ideas of how to get it done without being overwhelmed. We are coming out of a week of minor colds and I need some motivation.
    .-= Keilah´s last blog ..Weekend Links 5/22-5/23 =-.

  • Tara says:

    I have a uni student come and baby sit the children for a couple of hours every week. Usually I run errands or do housework while she plays with the kidlets, but I think I might start using this time to take my weekly retreat.
    .-= Tara´s last blog ..Wall Art =-.

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