Taking a Family Sabbatical

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Taking a sabbatical is something that many professors and pastors do. The concept is to go away for one year, after seven years of working. The time away is usually spent on travel or study. It’s a break from the day to day grind to get refreshed and inspired.

I’ve had a lot of questions about what we were doing this month in Mexico. And yes, we’ve had some fun “touristy” experiences while here, but it’s been more than just a vacation for us.

It’s been a family sabbatical.

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We’ve been intentionally taking things slow. Savoring time together, chatting while taking walks, going deep with the kids in conversations when they throw tantrums or get into fights. We’ve had EVERY SINGLE NIGHT free from meetings or events or parties or obligations, just think about that! Getting to spend our evenings just Fernando and I, talking over things we’ve been needing to, getting to be early, pushing the pause button on life.

Traveling is beautiful and fun because you get to go and see, but this month is more than just that – it’s really putting on the breaks. Giving ourselves time to BREATHE, time to ask questions like: “How are we living?” “How are we raising our kids?” “How are we building our marriage?” “Is this how we WANT to live?”

It’s been super helpful for me as the stay at home mom, to have Fernando apart of our day to day life. We brought our school books and did a few days of formal school and he was shocked at how hard it was and how much patience was required. He was able to be a fresh set of eyes on the kids and give me some much needed encouragement and feedback that he just never could in our regular day to day.

Our first week was difficult because I wasn’t used to him being involved in EVERY part of our lives, and we had more than one “heated discussions” but it was SO good – it revealed cracks and weaknesses in our marriage that we just didn’t have time to deal with but NEEDED to. We had many late night talks, tears, prayer and healing. Away from everyone and everything familiar we couldn’t distract ourselves with events, meetings, parties, dinners or church functions. It was me and him and the kids – banding together like never before.

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Life get’s SO busy and hectic and often times it’s EXTREMELY difficult to have those kinds of conversations, to carve out time for really thinking and praying and planning.

I know for many, the idea of taking a month, or more, completely off and taking a sabbatical might seem impossible. However, you might be surprised at what can happen when you start to get creative and figure out how to make things work. At one point this would have been unthinkable for us as well, but then I got a vision for it. I could imagine how it might benefit our family. You see, this vision started years ago, when I started supplementing our family’s income and we could actually DREAM about what we would do as the income grew.

We set aside some of my income, little by little. We decided on the town we wanted to live in, we found great flights and an air bnb for a month. Everything started falling into place, but it was only because we were looking for it to fall into place, we were working for it to fall into place.

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Now that we are home, we have many things that we are planning to implement from our month abroad – less hustle and bustle, more slow and savoring. Less letting other’s agenda’s dictate what we should do, more being intentional with our time. Less buying stuff, more making memories.

Not feeling like we HAVE to say yes to EVERY social invite, making time to take more family walks, enjoying the mundane and we are already looking forward to planning our next trip – no idea where or for how long, but we are setting aside airline points and keeping our eyes and ears open for where we might got next.

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This sabbatical, this sweet family “detox” has been so refreshing for us and something that we are planning to do on a regular basis.

What about you? Have you ever thought of taking a sabbatical as a family? Have you ever tried to intentionally slow down life? What’s the hardest part for you?

Comments

  1. I love this! I took my two kids two Spain for a month this summer and was working but had them in a Spanish Montessori camp too. My husband was able to come for the last week… but it really does help you reflect on your life back home and think about what you want to change, and what you want for the future.

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