2 Mar 2017
Retreat in a Box? Yes, Please

#mumboss’s Rachel Monique Maskell wants to send you a (self-)care package. 🎁

Mamas! You no longer have an excuse not to treat yourself, because the treats are coming to you. Pronto—and for less than a day at the spa…or therapy.

Meet MumBox, a quarterly subscription “retreat in a box,” for parents looking to relax, refuel and reconnect with themselves in the comfort of their own homes. It’s the brainchild of Rachel Monique Maskell, a globetrotting health and wellness professional who’s also the force behind #mumboss, a lifestyle brand and podcast helping mothers restore their sense of vitality and identity—maybe even to levels higher than before those little critters arrived.  

“We know that the process of having a baby doesn’t just mean you have a new being in your life; you become a new being,” Maskell explains. “I’m really interested in what happens to us as individuals and how we don’t lose our sense of self.”

Her solutions go beyond things like taking a hot bath, lighting candles, and playing some Thievery Corporation while the hubs is watching TV (though that is wonderful, too). No, Maskell has thought long and hard about each box as a holistic journey, giving subscribers physical, digital and metaphysical tools to CLAIM YOUR TIME and make it count. As you’ll read below, it starts with putting a stake in the ground and telling your clan: “I need this, and you will like me better if I get it.” Then, get your #mumboss4life tattoo and you’ll be all set.

You’ve got classic pampering items like candles, chocolate and bath salts in MumBox, but also things like a journal, mantra band and DIY love notes. How do you source what’s in each box?
Each quarter has a different theme. For example, I want moms to have the first box in time for Mother’s Day, and it will be about your “heart’s desire” and really connecting with what makes you happy. Everything that I source is clean and natural.

I have broken down the experience into four major steps called the Journey of Self. We start with self-reflection—that’s the time of going inward, taking a moment to pause. So the box will have items to help you create a space to be still and relax in, as well as a journaling exercise and a quarterly magazine with inspirational quotes and images. [Editor’s Note: These are cool. They feature Maskell’s extensive street art photography.]

The next step is self-realization. So once you’ve had that time to sit down and pause, what is it that we realize about ourselves that we didn’t know before? What is it that you feel in tune with, that makes you happy? Because so many times we don’t ask ourselves what makes us happy, and I think our partners would love to share that with us.

The next step is making that happen. So there are journaling exercises, but it’s also about taking action. Doing something and getting something out of this experience.

And the last step is self-expression, which is about putting your authentic self out there in the world. Each box will have some kind of craft. You don’t have to be an artist to do this part, but it’s about doing something creative and giving it out to somebody. With the first box, it’s going to be an activity where you can paint 3-4 postcards and then mail them out to people that you love. It’s a way of expressing your own creative energy but also saying thanks and sharing that piece of you with people you care about.

How have you figured out that these were the right steps?
A lot of it is because of my own journey. I’ve been in the health and wellness world for many years. I thought a lot about what it means to go on a journey of growth and to work on ourselves. I gathered what some of my mentors—Marie Forleo, Danielle Laporte—have talked about, and spoke with doctors like Kelly Brogan and Jolene Brighten to understand what patients go through in order to heal and reconnect. I believe that healing is really about tuning into what’s going on at a deeper level than just your symptoms.

But what would you say to the harried mom who says, “I just don’t have time”?
Awesome, because this is the main objection, right? And believe me, I get it. When I was designing the box, I thought it would be a one-day immersion. And I still think that’s a possibility for some moms. But also the feedback that I got from a lot of moms was that, um, you’re crazy. OK, so maybe that was a bit much. So I designed it to be done over five days and break it down to be 20 minutes a day.

I also understand that this may still be a challenge for many moms. And this is where one of the tools that I’m creating with the box is content that you could give to people in your network that will help you take this time, whether that’s your partner, your neighbor, your nanny—whoever that is. I truly believe that we do have the time, it’s a matter of how we prioritize it, and unless we say to ourselves, the world and our community, “Hey I have to do this, it’s important not just for me but for you and for our children…” Until we say that’s a priority, no one’s going to give us that time. As moms and caregivers, we are constantly giving to everyone else and often not giving enough time and attention to ourselves. You can only give as much as your cup is filled.

How do you see modern motherhood? Is our predicament different from what our moms felt?
I think we have a lot of different models now. I do believe that there are some moms who are comfortable being full stay-at-home moms; there are moms who are comfortable in the corporate world; and with the internet we have this flexibility to create our own schedules and to figure out the right work-life balance.

But I also hear from women who aren’t yet moms, who are looking for role models because they see their moms and say things like, “My mother never gave herself enough time and that’s why she has breast cancer.” Or, “My mom now has empty nest syndrome because all her kids have gone away and she doesn’t know what to do with herself.” Or, “My mom got divorced and because she spent all her time on us, she doesn’t have a skill set and doesn’t know what to do with herself.” Maybe we can’t avoid all of this but I do think by taking initiative now as a society, and helping the next generation really say, “We are together [as a family] but we’re also individuals,” I think that will help solve a lot of those challenges that we’re seeing now in later years.

What do you wish someone had told you before you had kids?
I wish someone would have shared with me a little more about how to journal in a way that helped me picture the type of mom I want to be and if there were ways I’d need to expand myself to encompass this child and this new role. That was, and is still, my biggest challenge: really understanding what mother means, and this movement from maiden to mother. To look at motherhood as both an energetic journey but also a physical journey.

OK, last question: name three things that make you a badass.

  1. Traveling. We travel with my daughter. She’s been to 14 different countries and she’s three and a half. That’s been a real power move.
  2. I would couple that with saying that at the same time, we’ve really moved from place to place and allowed ourselves to figure out where we wanted to land before putting in roots. So learning how to juggle creating a home no matter where you are has been a real feather in my hat.
  3. And lastly, maintaining my relationship with my husband and really making that a priority and doing things like going to Burning Man, Further Future, and date nights. Saying my relationship with my husband matters and that we, as a team, are going to create a much better experience for my daughter and our family.

MumBox is currently fundraising on IndieGogo (so help a sista out!).

 

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