When I tell people I'm a stay-at-home parent who also works from home as a writer and blogger, I often get that faraway dreamy gaze that seems to suggest I've achieved some kind of Parenting Holy Grail by managing to do what many parents dream of doing while on mat leave: figuring out a way to stay at home with the kids and make money.
Unfortunately, it's not always quite as idyllic as it sounds.
It is exhausting most (ALL) of the time trying to juggle so many hats. I've often felt like that guy from the story Caps for Sale (remember that book?) where he is walking around with this tower of different hats.
Don't get me wrong, I count my blessings (along with my hats) every single day. But that doesn't mean it's not a challenge. And, while I'm busy trying to keep track of everyone else's needs, my own needs often keep getting pushed further and further down the priority list.
Recently I had the opportunity to attend an ECM Media blogging workshop at Oceanstone Seaside Resort in Indian Harbour, moments from Peggys Cove. My immediate reaction was YES. But then the reality of making it happen started creeping in. I would need to find childcare for my son for the day; I would need to find a friend who could look after my daughter after school; I would need to find the time to drive out and back (almost a two hour round trip from home); and all that while still getting in my usual list of daily errands and household chores.
I almost cancelled. My finger hovered over the "CAN'T GO" button. And then I smartened up and made it happen. I called on my mom tribe and found childcare for both my kids, I premade dinner so it just had to be popped in the slow cooker before I left, and I filled up the gas tank the night before so I'd have no excuses.
And once I made the decision to just do it, boy, was I glad I went.
First of all the drive there really set the mood. Something about that long, windy, oceanside road lulled me into a sense of calm and relaxation. Then, as soon as I set foot on the property, I felt like I'd entered a little seaside oasis.
After giving us a moment to grab a beverage and catch up (for a group of people who spend our lives behind the screen, we have lots of talking to do in person!), our hosts at Oceanstone Seaside Resort gave us a tour of the property and let us have some peeks into the accommodations.
All of them of been updated or renovated in the last few years and ooze comfort and charm. There are so many special touches that make each one unique and all I could think about was what an incredible spot it would be for a romantic couples getaway, a girls weekend, or, even, a solo writing retreat. One even has a window seat which is my dream.
Then we were treated to an entertaining and delicious cooking demonstration by Chef Steve (assisted by Thanh of Love and Sundays, and Kayla from Short Presents).
He made Curry Chickpea Salad to go along with our BBQ chicken and salmon lunch.
SO YUMMY. I'll be returning to dine in their on-site restaurant Rhubarb for sure - for both the food AND the amazing selection of sweets and local goodies that they carry.
Then we got down to business with the stunning ocean views surrounding us. While the workshop was about content planning and scheduling, as always, we took a few detours and, as always, my brain started cranking into overdrive, full of ideas and fun directions to take my blog as I move forward.
Honestly, this group of women never cease to inspire me. I love the encouragement and support I receive. I love learning from my many blogging role models in this team. I love hearing about how people took their passion and turned it into a career and seeing people in my community doing exactly what I'm doing, and making a real living at it - it gives me the motivation to keep working and trying to bring you the best content that I can.
When we finished the "work" part I resisted the urge to jump in the car and fly back to the city to pick up the kids. Instead I took a stroll along their seaside and relished the surf and sand. I even found a rock with pink stripes that I picked up for Miss M's rock collection (that "mom" hat is never REALLY off, is it?).
I came away from the day rejuvenated and energized at the same time, ready to get back to life.
But, the best part of the day was that I realized that it's okay to shed my other hats for a little while and remember who I am and what I need. Whenever I allow myself the time to do that, the rest of the hats never feel quite as heavy when I put them back on.
A very special thank you to Oceanstone Seaside Resort who generously provided our group with a meeting space and lunch.
*Some images (where credited) provided free of charge by the very talented Tanya Canam Photography.
This post is part of an ECM Media hop about what my fellow bloggers took away from their experience at Oceanstone Seaside Resort. Click on the links below to see what they have to say!