A mother doing Trans-Himalayan Cycling

It is OK to be a ‘Me-Time Mom’ – An Open Letter to all Mothers!

Mother with her children traveling and playing in snow in Himalayas, NarkhandaCold-Hearted Mom?

2008 was a year of transformation for me!! From being a Commissioned Indian Naval Officer for 7 years, I had decided to take the plunge of being a Full-time- mom! I was in the JAG (legal) branch of Navy and so overnight I had shifted my entire focus from Courts Martial to clinging and playful 2 toddlers of 2 months and 2 years of age.

How did it go for me? Well not as expected! Or shall I say I should have rather expected it! My entire world was now focused on the toddlers and I was struggling to find time for myself. At times, it was rewarding but exhausting most of the time.

I felt chained.

I wanted a break.

What kind of a mom was I? Did I want a break from my own kids? It horrified me to think that I was horrified to be chained at home with my own children!


READ MORE: 18 AWESOME INSPIRING TRAVEL QUOTES to fuel your wanderlust in 2018!


Stay-at-home Mom…

How could I feel like this? Is a mother allowed to feel this way? I felt like a cut-meat in a cold-storage! I felt wicked to put my young ones in a play-school just so that I could get some free time on hand. Truth be told, there is no free time for a stay-at-home mom, there is always housework or repair work or pay-the-bills work. I was either doing baby talk with my children or talking about babies with other mothers.

Indian Navy Lady Officer in Uniform
Motherhood Beckons!

I badly needed a break!

Thankfully travel was always a part of our life but so were the children. It’s very enchanting to see your children take their first tiny steps, babble their first words, build castles in the sand, roll over grass or make snow angels!

“Mamma, look what I made”

to

“Mamma, the earthworms don’t taste good”

traveling with toddlers can be endearing to exhausting.

And that is when I realized I needed to break out of the cycle and travel…ALONE!

woman scuba diving
Scuba diving in Kavaratti, Lakshadweep

READ MORE: Feeling High at the Highest Post Office in India


ALONE, without my children, without my husband, without anybody I knew. Because for once, I didn’t want to take care of anyone and didn’t want to be taken care of by anyone.

“How can you leave your children?” Asked a friend!

“What about your in-laws?” Asked a cousin!

“What’s wrong with us?” Asked my husband!

There was nothing wrong with them or the questions everyone asked! Rather it made me question my own sanity? Was I wrong in wanting to be myself?

Zanskar Frozen River Trek
Walking on Frozen River (Chadar Trek) at -25 Degrees

Me-Time-Mom

I have friends who work and when I say ‘friends who work’ I mean they get paid for their work unlike for the ‘housework’ done by ‘Stay at home moms’. It is perfectly alright with everyone when working women go out of the station on work leaving their kids behind! Few have confided that it is a ‘stress-buster’ to go on such work-trips! I wondered why is it ok for a working parent to travel for work but laden with guilt when the same trip is for pleasure!? And more so if you are a stay-at-home mom, then the question is if you are so comfortable sitting at home all the time supposedly “doing nothing”, what is it that you seek the break from?

solo female traveler at spiti highest post office
Highest Post Office in the world in Hikkim, Spiti at 14,567 feet

READ MORE: Mesar Kund: A family trek in the Himalayas


 Breaking the shackles – both mental and physical

So the question then was, am I wrong in wanting to travel alone leaving my kids behind or was I wrong because others thought that it was not the right thing for ‘me’ to do. It was at this moment that it dawned on me that I can not and will not run my life because someone else thinks it’s not right for me to do so! I should seek opinions to take the right decision, but I will not be governed by them.

Cutting the Umbilical Cord

And so in 2012 leaving behind my 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter in the safe custody of my husband and my ever supportive mother-in-law I left for my first trek as a mother.

a mom climbs Mount Shitidhar - a snow-covered imposing peak at an elevation of 5250 meters
Climbing Mt Shitidhar a snow-clad peak perched at an altitude of 17220 ft Pir Panjal range, Himachal Pradesh.

Mt Shitidhar is a snow-clad peak perched at an altitude of 5250mts in Pir Panjal range, in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, India. I don’t know what was more liberating, the thrill of being at 17,220 feet or the feeling of being at peace with myself in my sojourn in the hills. But I knew one thing for sure, this wasn’t going to be a one-off thing.

When I came back home after a week, my 4-year-old was too shy to come close to me. For a moment I could feel my heart sink but my chatty 6 years old made up with all her stories. It took some time for the younger one to cozy up with me again and it was a lovely feeling having them back in my arms.

I felt calmer and more patient ..well at least for the first few days till drawing on walls drove me up the wall!!

We as a family are passionate travelers and we have taken our kids to swim with sharks, trek on Himalayas and paramotoring amongst other things but I have managed to strike a balance between a ‘Full-time mom’ and ‘Me time Mom’! I am a freelance writer, which makes me an Almost-full-time mom and I go every year on a high-altitude trek which makes me a ‘Me-time Mom as well! I like the challenges the terrain throws at me and I like the break it gives me from my everyday Mom-life.

Children hiking on the mountains of Uttrakhand, India
Trekking with children in the Himalayas (Nag Tibba 9,915 ft)

I am at peace with my imperfection!

In the eyes of many, I might be a selfish mom, to many, an irresponsible daughter-in-law, not an ideal wife, but then who is? In this judgemental world, no one is perfect and I am at peace with my imperfection!

Woman trekker with basket on back
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky” – Rabindranath Tagore

READ MORE: Rani Padmavati and other Legends of Chittorgarh


So dear moms, spread your wings and take the plunge of faith! For every mother needs a break, even our own mothers!!

PIN IT 

Manali to Leh cycling womanHow about you? Have you wished to travel alone without your kids? Could you fulfill your wish? How was your experience?

I found my mojo in traveling and scaling high mountains, where did you find yours?

Leave your comments below to share your successes for encouraging others and your failures for drawing comfort!

Been there done that
Was here..missed you!

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  1. …keep doing the things that you want most…. and being who you are…… life is crazy and you are crazy about life…..

    • ..life is easier with encouraging people like you around 🙂 Love

    • Abhishek Shrivastava

      Richaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! Golu ji…..So nice to read such a wonderful ‘Open Letter ‘ for all moms!!
      Fantastic to see you traveling….Keep Going …!!
      Abhishek Shrivastava

  2. I cannot agree more the article. Beautifully worded. Being a mom, professional, wife, daughter and every other role that we have assumed in our lives cannot be our limitation. The idea should be to learn, explore and grow. Don’t stop growing and evolving just because you are a ‘full time mom’. It’s just an aspect of one’s personality.

    • You nailed it when you said not to limit ourselves!! I found liberation in climbing mountains, someone might find it in dancing or singing! Recently a friend took to learning Djembe!! You are right it’s all about exploring and growing!

  3. Loved it! Though it’s too early for me to comment on my journey. I can totally relate to you! I guess every mom will! I have learnt, the world judges no matter what u do, so rather u do the things you love and enjoy.
    😘😘😘 and you are amazing in every role your playing. Keep going 💖💯✔️

    • That’s very sweet of you to say 🙂 and agree with you that we can’t stop living our life only because a handful of people don’t approve of us!!

  4. Richa… U will rock and love your 40s. You know the air hostess rule…secure your mask before helping others. That’s what being a mom is all about. Be happy, get happy kids. And what better role modelling than to let them know that its imperative to be yourself. Roles are not sustainable. Being you is. Givevthem the joy by being Richa and not just their mom . you rock…BTW.

    • Wow, you have summarised it really well Bhavna 🙂 Yes being oneself is imperative for being a sane mom 🙂

  5. You are awesome!! Totally love the way you are living your life. Please keep going and inspiring us 😘

  6. Richa, u r awesome. U have penned down exactly what I felt when I decided to take a solo trip.
    Or rather what most of us stay at home, me-time moms feel. The experience was liberating and very very satisfying. Wishing u and all of us in search of some fun and madness many more such memories to write about.

    • I agree it is very liberating to be on your own at times… makes you value your family-time and most importantly yourself!! Yes, hoping we all find our mojo 🙂

  7. Richa you are truly an inspiration… I have always loved and enjoyed stories about your travel… you have proved that number 1 rule of life is… do what makes you happy!!!….I hope someday I’ll muster up enough courage to take one such solo trip …till then cheers to me time mommy!!! Keep inspiring ones like me…….much love!!!

    • You nailed it when you said – “Do What makes you happy” – that sentence by itself is so soothing!! Love 🙂

  8. Wow! You are an inspiration to all of us. Don’t stop exploring. Keep exploring and growing. Intact many girls( mom’s) must be thinking the way you think but everyone don’t have guts to do or express what they feel. But after reading your blog I am sure many will follow you without being feeling guilty. Keep inspiring and encouraging us. Way to go girl!

    • That’s really sweet of you to say, Leena 🙂 We as women, do need to get the courage to find time for ourselves guiltlessly!

  9. It’s always fun to hear about your travels and adventures Richa! You are such an inspiration! May we all find our me time moms within and muster up the courage to follow our dreams! 😊

  10. Loved it!! Breaking free living for only yourself. You are an inspiration, I am m trying to muster my courage to go on my own trip from quite some time. Let’s see how and when…….. Thanks Richa

  11. Nidhi Tanna

    Hi Richa, you have always been inspiration. I have always admired you. I believe in that you cannot make happy people around you, if you are not happy. I am sure when you back from trip, you would so happy and so energetic….Keep doing what you are doing and inspire people around you. Love you yaar.

  12. Nidhi Tanna

    Hi Richa, you have always been inspiration. I have always admired you. I believe in that you cannot make happy people around you, if you are not happy. I am sure when you are back from trip, you would so happy and so energetic….Keep doing what you are doing and inspire people around you. Love you yaar.

    • Yes my solo journeys remind me that I am more than just a wife and a mother. Whilst I enjoy being those, I need to be myself at times too. Thanks for all lovely words Nidhi 🙂

  13. Glad that you broke the shackles and how! Throwing them off from 17,000+ feet must be uniquely rewarding. ;-D.

    Keep inspiring! (Thundering applause! :-D)

    Motherhood is quite overwhelming, to say the least. It is important to pursue whatever brings you inner peace, even when you step into Motherhood for good. Perhaps it becomes all the more important. Start (re-start) when your body and mind permit. Make progress – no matter how small. Keep evolving. That said, it is hard without a support system that can ensure your child’s safety & well-being while you are away. And as we know, in times like these, that support system narrows and largely includes parents, parents-in-law, and husband. They need to be wholeheartedly ready whenever we (Moms) are ready. This is vital.

    The other important thing is to decipher how you want and can handle your life with that support system not being fully employed or available – especially during the early years of motherhood. Can you still indulge in some of the things that matter to you, in a small way, somehow – without compromising on the time & attention that you want to give your child? Or can you “accept” some new realities and analyze the possibilities of making it pleasurable, nonetheless. Often, we may not have had the ‘time’ to even think and make some of these decisions. Make that time – somehow. Take a long bath, may be?! ;-P

    With Motherhood, while a whole lot of new dimensions of me came to fore, I gradually began missing some of me that made a lot of me! There was a conflict between enjoying-motherhood and surviving-motherhood. And many times, I was walking that thin line and still do. Thankfully, it is not a tightrope walk yet, and I still have my feet firm. Every smile of my child is an elixir, every word-a melody, every milestone – greatest of rewards. I take pride and derive immense happiness in being able to give exclusive time to my child. Yet, I miss the whole me. I strive to put it all together.

    Thankfully, I did not give up on finding ways to do a little of what wouldn’t make me miss me too much, on a regular basis. Beginning with locking myself in my room for a couple of hours – just introspecting (while my little one would be in the safe custody of my folks), setting my office table in my bedroom, working-from-home even on projects that meant no money but were either interesting or challenging or helpful to someone deserving, to writing things that I like to (for myself, for a change!) and so on. I feel better and am hopeful of witnessing further improvement in every way as my 2.5 year old darling grows.

    While at this, I must mention the healing power that a child’s love yields, helping us through some maddening times. Here is a short poem that I had written early this year, reflecting my feelings of that time:

    ————-
    No Kidding
    ————-
    Wild hugs, sleepy cuddles
    Arbitrary snuggles

    Clasped in your tiny arms
    My catastrophic-thinking stifles

    Amid the paraphernalia of your love
    I lighten
    And exult briefly.

    ——————————————————————–
    PS: Please ignore typos.

    • Such a Brilliant write up – we should have a blog post out of your comment!! It is indeed a tightrope of enjoying-motherhood and surviving-motherhood!!

  14. Silverfish.bhavna

    What a satisfying read…. We moms question ourselves each time we step out of the ‘traditional’ mommydom roles.
    Seeing your journey from self doubt to self realization is certainly going to help me step out of my comfort zone. My bucket list will get lighter soon.
    Thank you. Waiting for the next treat from Light Travel Action

  15. Beautifully written. You are an inspiration to all of us. Have always loved your style of writing….passionate with funny quote. Easy read and it stays with you. Love. Much muah.

  16. Very very inspiring and the pics thrust ‘proof of concept’ tag on your journey with and without kids. Thanks for sharing your story – I plan to camp with my cheeky 5 yr old in a month – can’t wait. Loved the blog! Someday….I shall further myself too :)!

    • Hope you have a lovely time with your little one! Do let us know how your experience was – we would love to hear about it and till you further yourself…let the thoughts of it give you peace 🙂

  17. Very nicely penned down n indeed an inspiration for all those in this phase…. Proud of you Richa….

  18. Very very well worded our feelings into words. Never had a lone trip but look forward to one. Thanks for being an inspiration and clearing guilts that I do have once in a while

  19. kalyani Deshpande

    Richa u r superb!its nt always to do a job for one’s space.one can discover &live happily with her hobby also .I love ur blog .u wrote it very impressively &passionately.u wrote abt family support ,yes all r good &with u. but then its also because of ur positive attitude .love u.…let be a best &record breaker trekker mom.

    • Aww..that’s really sweet of you to say! Let your blessings keep coming 🙂 and yes, I agree with you that hobbies are immensely satisfying as well!

  20. Payal uttamani

    Loved it! You are an inspiration to us
    I am at peace with my imperfection! I liked this very much beautifully written

  21. Hey Richa, so good to see you break the invisible shackles and free your mind! I may be the only one on the forum who isn’t craving me only time at this point … for my holidays or breaks I still want my kids or husband or friends … but I’m sure that when that me time craving comes, I’ll be ready and inspired!
    Women have been made to feel so guilty about taking care of themselves and been given the gold stars only when it involves some sort of physical/ emotional/ financial sacrifice … there is a world of mindset to change and conquer and you’re in the right direction!
    We have to define ourselves and not let ourselves be defined by others!
    You go girl!

    • I am sure there must be mums who agree with you, in fact few working mums say they want to spend more and more time with their children as due to their busy schedule they hardly get time to spend with them…so far none of my stay-at-home friends have said that 😉 but of course to each one their own… it’s not about traveling with or without them, it’s about finding time for yourself. I found my Me-Zone in climbing High Altitude mountains, someone else might find in singing, cooking or absolutely any other hobby.I travel with my children EVERY SINGLE MONTH and I LOVE IT… but I enjoy my solo sojourns as well! And you are so correct in saying that there is a whole world of mindset to change. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  22. Madhu Saxena

    Hello Richa,
    My heartiest congratulations to you for achieving this milestone in your mountaineering and traveling adventures . I truly love this aspiring zeal with which you go solo and try to discover yourself though your ” Me time Mom” concept. I know that there is a huge mental, physical and emotional effort that is required to step out from the comfort of the sweet homes. My best wishes and blessings to you and your family to attain boundless liberation while you explore the world. It is said ” The substance of a dream is held in materialization by the subconscious thought of the dreamer” I see that happening.

    • Even the thought of Boundless Liberation is so liberating!! Such a beautiful thing you have said about the subconscious thought of the dreamer 🙂 Thank you so much for the kind words Madhu aunty. Much love.

  23. Mohini Deopujari

    Fantastic n mind blowing Richa.Its a courageous step to express in words such thoughts. I agree with u that every women should get her own space n time while playing the role of a Mom n wife n daughter in law.She should come out of the bubble n explore her talent in any field she really likes from her heart.Your write-up will inspire so many sleeping talents to get up n do what they actually want to do in lives. My blessings r with u always.

  24. This is really liberating. I am a mom to a 3 years old. And I have a very supportive family. I am a working professional, but ever since my daughter was born, my career has hardly grown. Because if I give attention to anything apart from my daughter, it fills me with the mom-guilt. The trips to movies, beauty parlors or any self indulgent activities have been minimal. We have taken our daughter with us on each and every holiday. I still feel like taking a break and then the mom-guilt comes back stronger than before urging me that I already get a very limited time to spend with my daughter and then also I feel like taking a break. It’s not just about being a stay at home mom or a working mom. Each one have their own needs, limitations and guilts 🙂 But yes, I also feel it’s important to break free of them

  25. aruna sanghi

    ARUNA SANGHI 5th oct. Hi Richa i am totally impressed and awestruck by ur achievements. Blog is beautifully written and very inspiring for the one who ever wants to do something of one’s own choice. I wish all women of any age and status shud be able to create an atmosphere to achieve and explore what they want. I am so glad that I know a girl who has achieved so much at such a young age. Keep doing what u like and be happy. God bless u . With lots of love.

  26. Richa, this is integrity – To recognize the need for me time and make it happen. Making it happen appears easier than it actually is – as any mum would know. carving me time definitely one returns home a fulfilled and better person . I hope reading this inspires more women to live their lives.

    • Mich as always you are so good with words – it’s so very true that making it happen appears easier than it actually is! Much Love 🙂

  27. Richi rich darling ……. Ya that’s how we it batch mates generally address u right. Having been ur roomy I know u very well. U have the capability of time management. U were never found wanting for any of ur roles as a undertrained officer, daughter,friend and fiance. Spending qualify time with kids and setting examples for them to love the life not just live the life is most important learning that we can give to our kids. The balance that u would be drawing with ur mom in law in times when u r at home pays when u r not around. This every daughter in law can appreciate. So darling it’s perfectly fine to give qualify time rather than quantity time to ur kids. It’s always better to make them I dependent from an early age. It’s yet better to give them time to build up relations with the other parents I.e. Father and granny independently. These are the things which will pay off in life. Being forever by their side and makes a mother over protective. I avoid being an over protective mother even if I’m with them. So it’s perfectly fine to be richi rich and not only mummy rich.

    For those who have been go-getters it’s not just possible to keep ourselves bound within four walls of the house.

    U r setting an example for ur girl child specially how to love life not live life ………… So darling suno sabki karo man ki 😐😅😅😅😅

    • ha ha it was lovely reading your comment..muah! You have put things in a very new light that I had not thought of… letting kids build a relationship with their father and granny when I am not around!! Thanks for bringing in lovely memories and the inspiring words. Much Love 🙂

  28. Sudhir Kumar

    RIcha…after coming back from our Manali-Leh trip, i give Bhavna and yours example to so many moms, who say we cannot have our own lives beyond family and all.

    This is so well written. Hats off to you and your family. Keep inspiring..!

  29. Swasti Sthapak

    It needs courage enthusiasm family support and most of all being YOU to take such steps… I always feel great to see you both sis… Who are in true sense brand ambassadors of the uniqueness of sir and mam.

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