When I saw the ad for Mom Camp on Instagram I felt as though it was written for me.
“A weekend just for moms. Two nights away, incredible personal development workshops, gourmet food and great wine, amazing people, and lots of time to fill your own cup.”
Where do I sign up?
Hosted on BC’s West Coast, roughly an hour from my home, this invitation offered time in the woods, in the stillness of nature, away from family and the pressures of life. No rushing, no managing activities and scheduling, no obligations and no overwhelm - just time for me. And if I’m lucky, time with other like-minded Moms and women – count me in. I texted a friend who also needed little convincing. We registered and then promptly forgot about it, immediately re-consumed by the frantic pace of life with little ones. A few times in the months between registration and camp weekend, I had a glimmer of what Mom Camp would be like. Knowing I had time for me in my calendar was a little light at the end of the tunnel during fall’s back-to-school madness.
On a chilly November day, Gillian Behnke, Founder of Mom Camp: The Camp, welcomed us to the weekend by saying “Mom Camp is magic.”
I wish every mama got the opportunity to experience a Mom Camp. The connections with moms in all phases of motherhood, the lack of obligation, the space to sit with myself and just be, was cathartic. Not to mention the fact I didn’t plan or cook one meal and I didn’t do one dish. There was personal development – workshops on pelvic health, EPT tapping, self-compassion and reflexology. There was movement – a guided forest walk with an Indigenous interpreter and fitness dance classes each morning. There were book readings. There was wine. There were many laughs but also tears as women allowed themselves to be vulnerable and find connection.
We were asked to set an intention for ourselves, and then we were given permission to change the intention as the weekend went on. There was a constant buzz of activity but there were pockets of silence and there were no obligations. The invitation was to listen to yourself and honour what each woman’s body and mind were telling them, they needed. This isn’t a luxury moms are often allowed.
The opportunity for moms to spend an entire weekend focused self-care, wellness, movement and connection seems like it should be commonplace but it’s not. A quick Google search showed me lots of Mother-daughter or family camps but very few for moms specifically. I was lucky to find Mom Camp: The Camp situated in beautiful Squamish BC, close to home.
In Ontario, Rustic Mama Retreats fill the same mama-need to relax and recharge with Girls Getaways in the snowy mountains of Goderich and Brampton. With activities like yoga, art workshops, meditation, meal schedules and nights spent in bunk beds, it’s the opportunity to live like a child, obligation-free, with meals provided. The Total Mom Retreat in Collingwood, Ontario assures relaxation, rejuvenation and pampering. Things every mom deserves.
These camps aren’t about parenting. While it’s inevitable all moms will swap stories and likely show photos of the darlings they’ve left at home, these weekends are about the woman, a mom in addition to the other roles she plays in life. Several camps feature a photoshoot, an opportunity to appear in a picture alone, a rarity for many moms.
My camp experience was incredibly impactful. I returned home to the chaos of a 2-year-old, a 5-year-old, and an exhausted husband feeling energized and refreshed, with new tools in my self-care kit. This camp getaway created a space for a group of women, each craving something deeper than their day-to-day, to honour themselves. The time away presented well-deserved opportunities to grow and learn, as well as eat, drink, giggle and relax.
You were right, Gillian, Mom Camp is magic.