Every parent has said it: We need some time away from our children. As a mom of three boys under the age of seven, I mean it in the most endearing way. In society today, we’re either implored for encouraging kids to have a sleep over, or shamed because every waking second should be spent with them.
Not only is it a perk for partners to take a break but children too can reap the rewards by gaining more independence and freedom. My husband and I proudly take advantage of kid-less weekends and to avoid the guilt of saying, “I wish the boys were here to see this”, we like to be unorthodox in our choosing. Sure, a dinner and movie can be fun, but I also find myself wondering what that movie was about months later or trying hard to stay awake.
During our most recent adult adventure, we decided to visit a weekend music festival in Rothbury Michigan called, Electric Forest with friends. I know what you’re thinking: I’m too old, it’s too loud and I barely know a few artists performing.
But, the beauty of these festivals is that you don’t realize how life changing they are until you experience one. There’s more to it than dance parties with young adults and tiny glittered outfits. Here’s how your relationship with your children and home life can benefit from a music festival getaway:
PEACE, TRANQUILITY, LOVE:
Often the motto at festivals, Electric Forest promotes joining together as strangers but leaving as a family. E.F gathers all attendees by hosting classes such as Yoga, Dance and Crafts. There is no wrong way, no judging of clothing, no shame. The fear of not wearing makeup just to run into the store is diminished. Pajamas are admired as regular day time attire! Not only do most music festivals encourage being raw in your own skin, they advocate it through growth experiences.
My favorite was The Barrier Project titled, To Write Love On Her Arms. Where one can take a break from day to day life. For parents with children, try to recognize the relief that can be brought by this involvement. To emotionally unload ones’ burdens of school, bullies, income, bills, weight, looks or wonder if we’re being the best we can be.
Writing one word on the wall opened the door to remind us we are not alone in our struggles. We embraced this beginning with our friend Patrick, which also shed light more personally into the lives we surround ourselves with daily. Lives can be so hectic we often forget to check in with the people closest to us. The sentiments we shared with our friend promoted a closer relationship going forward. The Barrier Project was emotionally moving and a rad way to start the weekend.
I must admit, the first day was difficult. We did speak to our children, face time, text, etc. As much as they missed us, they were having their own type of breakthrough. Being unconstrained, feeling the rush of staying up past bedtime while STILL eating cookies (Thanks, grandma!) and the best part, creating memories that will help shape them into better humans. What I cherish the most about my boys spending time with our parents are the nostalgic games or routines that I once enjoyed, being put into place in their heart. After we remembered that, we gave them space for the rest of the weekend. Once we truly let go and enjoyed the surroundings, our mind, body and spirit were rejuvenated.
I’m what some may call, an introvert. Masked by a desire to have fun and a really loud voice, I tend to stray from meeting new people as my life feels busy enough already to keep up with. My plan was to relax, take advantage of endless Yoga classes and remember what it was like to fall asleep in a hammock for hours. Most people will be reading this and think, “I can do all of that at home. Why pay money to camp out and do it”?
The answer is simple: THE PEOPLE. I love my family and friends. They are chosen carefully as not to be toxic and are “my people”. The ease of procuring new friends is endless, even if you don’t have the courage to do it. From waiting for coffee or bumping into each other while dancing, we met others from all walks of life. They were marvelous and still our friends today! I left the music festival with a new openness for society, which in turn will be bestowed to our children.
Lastly, the music.
Most music festivals all foster a headliner known for their wildly deafening bass and outrageous special effects. Maybe that’s not your style and you’re more low-key. Music Festivals cater to you too. We walked into this adventure hearing of two bands and walked out with an entire playlist of jam bands. Hidden between the trees, under fluorescent lights, through mind-boggling artistic displays, I guarantee no concert will ever compare.
We easily went a full day not hearing one house DJ or stentorian artist. Instead, we rode the Ferris Wheel, marbleized our arms, listened to the most incredible violinist and ate donuts until we wanted to explode (without having to share our last bite with anyone else!)
The next time you want to visit the beach or sit in the mountains again, I challenge you to put all fears aside, break down your own wall and attend a festival. To participate in a music festival is to experience love made tangible.