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By Jocie Ferron

It's Monday morning and I find myself staring out the window with a coffee in hand. The kids are at school and there is a -36C wind chill blowing outside, and I am dreaming of the warmth of the sun, golden sand, the ocean, the sound of kookaburras and wishing I had a lamington to have with my coffee.

But unfortunately dreaming and wishing is all I can do since returning from our Australian holiday!

After spending the last four weeks travelling to the other side of the world we are back in snowy Canada – and what a greeting we got! First we were hit by a blizzard (or as they were calling it in the States: "Snowmaggedon") and today is the calm before the next storm arrives bringing another 30cm of snow.

So after spending LOTS of time with my kids, I was very excited to get them back to school. They were excited to go back to school. And BAM: two snow days. Thanks Canada!

What a wonderful holiday it was: spending quality time with my parents and friends, many of who I haven’t seen in almost four years. On the way we stopped for three days in LA where the kids got the Disneyland experience. Talk about two excited little kids, Disneyland really has magical quality to it (oh and did I mention busy, crowded and extremely crazy??)

Mr 7 wanted to line up for everything, and I wanted to line up for nothing that took longer than 20 minutes, so we did a bit of negotiating and ended up spending a long time lining up for Splash Mountain, which turned out to be the highlight of the day.

As magical as Disneyland was, the gastrointestinal bug that we got from it, not so much. It was every travelling mother's worst nightmare.

The morning of our big 13-hour flight, Mr. 5 loses breakfast and every bit of food from the last two days. All I could think was, 'oh no, not now'!

Despite all my travel planning, of course there was no contingency for vomiting. So I grabbed plastic bags for the car (my MacGyver mom moment that paid off within 10 minutes) and had my fingers crossed that it was not going to get worse. Thank goodness it didn’t and I had a very tired, grouchy sick boy who slept almost the whole 13-hour flight (so there definitely was a small silver lining).

And of course, 24 hours later I came down with it too … thanks Disneyland!

Now we are back into regular life where I am suffering from those post-holiday blues and facing the reality of getting back into the swing of full-time study.

After years of one reason or another stopping me, this is the year I decided that the time has come to re-enter the nursing profession, which means another year of study awaits me. Hopefully we will stay put for a couple of years to make it worthwhile, but one can never tell in the mining industry.

So the next few months are going to be busy with my hubby travelling for work, myself studying for the nursing course, kids doing kid stuff and of course the inevitable snow day, which will most likely happen the day before I have an assignment due.

Although the year has only just begun, I've already had moments where I have felt overwhelmed when looking at all the assignments and exams I have to pass in the next couple of months. Add to that the regular crazy life of being a mom and keeping the household running while my hubby is working and travelling, and I just wanted to close my eyes and make it all go away.

But there is one thing I have learnt over the years since I became a mom, and that is it’s so important to take time to be me, a break from being a mom or a wife, and I find it’s these moments that really help me put everything into perspective.

Eleanor Brown, a lifestyle coach, puts it perfectly: "Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel."

So I take my book to the coffee shop, or spend an hour window shopping, or put the kids in front a movie and make myself a coffee, or simply just take a walk/run and remember how to be me amid the craziness of life.

So if there are any moms reading this who have felt like me, at times overwhelmed with life and everything going on, remember it's OK to take a step back and do something just for you, something you love, or something you find relaxing, and take a moment … a moment just to breathe.


More articles from the joyful Jocie Ferron:

Australian nurse Jocie Ferron was volunteering in Mongolia when she met her French-Canadian husband, who was working in the mining industry. After a few years living in Australia they decided to settle in Canada with their two young children. They enjoyed a few years in a north Quebec mining town (where Jocie had daily adventures navigating life in French) and they've now settled in New Brunswick.