My husband and I sort of have this unspoken deal. It’s nothing we have ever sat down and officially discussed, it’s just sort of morphed into the he-does-that-I-don’t-touch-it category. I bet some of you probably have similar agreements, and (unfortunately for you) probably the opposite deal as I have. I mean truly, I lucked out on this one. Hubby definitely got the short end of the stick!

The deal… Vomit. Kid puke. Regurgitation. Call it whatever you want. I don’t do it. I don’t look at it, I don’t touch it, and I certainly don’t clean it up! Yeah, don’t hate me, remember this sort of just “happened” to work out this way. And no, it doesn’t make me a bad mom, it makes me a mom who won’t add to the mess to clean up, if I were to clean it up. And yes… I have a good man!

This deal. There’s something you should know about it. It’s a 99.999% of the time deal. Can you see where this is going? You guessed it: The .001% called me out to fulfill my duty. Now before I jump right into the hazmat situation (and as gifted a writer as I sometimes can be, I promise not to appeal to all your senses, and I won’t create a visualization that would have you running the other direction), let me back up a little bit to set the scene…

Sunday morning, before dawn, my family of four load up into the car for an eleven hour drive down to San Diego. We check in to the LEGOLAND Hotel (ah-MAY-zing! we all loved it) and spent two full days at LEGOLAND and then headed down for another full day at Sea World. Nothing like a fun, family vacation before school starts, right?

Well, as is pretty common with Brayden (our now six year old) when we travel, his diet generally ends up consisting of pizza, french fries, pizza, apple juice, pizza and chocolate milk. Did I mention pizza? And thanks, but not looking for judgment or advice on his less than perfect eating habits, trust me, it’s an ongoing process and I choose my battles wisely. *wink*
Brayden also happens to be allergic to down. So when we travel, we bring his own pillow and chuck the hotel pillow across the room. Well, not really, but that would be fun, wouldn’t it? A big ole pillow fight with feathers flying everywhere??? This trip was no different. I removed the hotel down pillow, but… forgot about the covers. *sigh* Yes, you guessed it again (wow, you’re really good at this!): the blanket was a big cozy down comforter, which I didn’t even realize until after we had already checked out of the hotel on Wednesday morning. Again… *sigh*

Luckily he isn’t deathly allergic, but he does get pretty congested and his little eyes get all puffy and dark. Poor kid. Combine that with the heat outside, the air conditioning inside, the three-day pizza cleanse diet, late nights and lots and lots of walking, it’s no wonder he didn’t feel very well by Wednesday afternoon.

After day three of Zimmer family fun, as had been the plan all along, we headed north again so I could be dropped off at my hotel for my week-long-ish mastermind retreat, and Will could spend a few days road-tripping back home. I would fly back after my retreat, and the boys would get some good quality time together (without mom nagging about their manners to say “excuse me” after every, well, you know…)

So now the scene is set. I’m excited to be with my fellow Sassies for my retreat, and Will is all set to have boy time. Except, it doesn’t quite go as planned.

As luck would have it, literally right as we are pulling into the hotel parking lot, right as I am texting my roommate to say “I’m here.” Brayden throws up. Yep, all over himself, in the car, twice. Nobody saw it coming, probably not even him until he gave the quietest little whimper just before, and then…

I gotta give it to him though, his aim was impeccable (as if he really had a choice), it was a pretty contained zone mostly in his lap, and the poor kid didn’t even shed a tear. What a trooper! I promised I wouldn’t divulge the sensual details, and I won’t, but I will say this was the occasion when I had to step up and put my big-girl panties on, and clean up vomit. Yuck! I mean, what kind of wife would I be if I had just said “See ya! Thanks for dropping me off, take care…” ??? Not a very appreciated one that’s for sure. Not to mention, how could I just leave my baby who just got sick???

An hour and several hotel towels that might have mysteriously ended up thrown away in the dumpster later, Brayden was in clean clothes, the back seat of the car was wiped down, and the boys were once again buckled up and off to another hotel a mile down the road. I know what you’re thinking: How could I leave them or send them away? Why didn’t I just have them stay with me? And to that I say these things: 1-we could have brought two cots into my hotel room for the boys to sleep in, but my thoughtful husband didn’t want to risk getting me or my roommate sick. 2-they could have stayed at the same hotel, except that it was sold out. 3-given that Will was originally planning on driving through LA up to Santa Barbara that night, one mile down the road seemed like a good compromise.

So as my husband drove off, my baby feeling, well, not that great, and Zack being a super duper big brother, I walked up the one flight of stairs to my hotel room and prayed Brayden wouldn’t get sick again. Can I just tell you about all the feelings and thoughts going through my head in that moment? Mainly guilt. The dreaded ‘Mommy Guilt’ – cue evil plot music.

Although Brayden didn’t ever throw up again, the story doesn’t end here. In fact, I have a pretty huge lesson to share with you. Thursday I had scheduled myself a massage and a day to relax by the pool. While my retreat didn’t “officially” start until Friday, I had planned Thursday as a little mini private retreat to get myself ready for the first formal retreat day. Over the course of the hour and in the moment of Will driving away, I could have let myself get sucked into the guilt.

I could have cancelled my trip and stayed with my family (which no doubt would have caused huge resentment down the line), or at least cancelled my massage to spend the next day with them and “be a good Mom,” which I thought about – a lot. I could have chosen a dozen other negative thought patterns to explore. But I didn’t.

It took me a minute (well, honestly, maybe five or ten), but I chose to let the guilt go and remind myself why I was where I was in the first place. I was at this beautiful resort property for a mastermind retreat. A retreat where I would need to be fully prepared in body and mind to receive and to give. I knew that in order to show up fully prepared, and present, I needed to give myself permission for self-care.

I needed to create a day of space, where I could transition from a solid three days of family, to a week of solid masterminding, training, connections and up-leveling, complete with the physical, emotional and mental fatigue that goes along with it. I knew that if I wanted to get the most out of this retreat, I needed to show up full.

What I do is teach moms how to practice regular self-care for themselves. So wouldn’t it be fitting that this was a big test for me to follow my own advice. The situation and circumstances weren’t perfect, in fact they were pretty stinkin’ sucky! But I knew that if I wanted to fully live in integrity of what I teach, to fully embody the message I am putting out into the world, then my only option was to stick to my original plan and give myself the gift of self-care. My responsibility was to put myself first – not in a selfish way, but in the way that would support me showing up in the world as the best version of myself.

I give moms permission to put themselves first, and on that day, I did that for myself. I went to the spa on Thursday, I thoroughly enjoyed my massage, I floated in the saline pool and soaked up the sun while resting my mind. I checked in with Will and said “hi” to the boys, knowing that they were in the more than capable hands of their awesome Dad. I had the most amazing experience that week (stay tuned for the next blog post about it… and a little hint, you can check out this post to get prepared:

My retreat didn’t quite start off the way I had envisioned or planned, but it sure started exactly the way I needed it to. Life is unpredictable, self-care should accommodate. You can quote me on that one…

Here’s to the BEST version of YOU!
Pamela Zimmer
Author, Speaker, Mentor