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The unexpected discovery on a parent retreat

By August 16, 2018 No Comments

Written by 

Intro:  Brenda Pomponio

Review: Sherree Bester

In collaboration with Elly Stone – Founder of Pillars and Stone

Have you every considered attending a retreat?  I know I have….to be honest, they sound amazing.  A bit tough to organise if you are a busy mother.  What if there was a way to attend a retreat that supported and nurtured your role as a mother and also helped you create some space and energy for yourself?  Sound too good to be true?  Well, I recently stumbled across Pillars & Stone a newly founded company by Elly Stone who is a passionate mother embarking on an incredible journey to provide special retreats for mothers and children.  Our Family Travels loves to support small businesses and especially business that put the heart of family first.  A mother/child retreat isn’t all about the beautiful location (I mean that is a great start hey!), but more so these retreats seemed to tap into so much more.  A nurturing environment, time to ponder, to consider and feel supported in your role as a mother.   I wanted to know more about these retreats and how they benefit both parent and child.  Elly kindly offered to ask a mother who had attended a retreat to give her narrative on the experience, and it seemed that when mum, Sheree sat down to write about her experience she was really blown away by how unexpected her learnings were.

Pillars & Stone: Mother and Child Retreat Experience – What I thought I’d learn vs what I came away with

By Sherree Bester (Mama to Ella and Hannah)



I was initially drawn to the idea of a mother and child retreat because I was looking for some time out.

After the two-day Hepburn Springs retreat organised by Elly Stone I was feeling completely rejuvenated, rested and nourished (both physically and spiritually!). Those results didn’t really surprise me. I had the luxury of two mornings completely dedicated to me from 9am to 1pm on the Saturday and Sunday. No wonder I felt like I was floating on air by the end of the weekend away! These four hours each day consisted of one-hour group yoga with six other amazing mums, then 90 minutes of soaking time in Hepburn Springs mineral pools and steam room followed by a healthy lunch (prepared by someone that wasn’t me!). It was an absolute luxury and I did not for one-second take for granted that I wasn’t cooking, cleaning or organising anyone or anything.

All the while, my two beautiful and happy children (along with eight other beautiful children) were entertained and cared for by three amazing babysitters in our awesome group house.

I knew that with the pressure of motherhood I hadn’t been putting myself first for a very long time. I had been making excuses that this was just the norm, but…deep down I knew there had to be a better way. So while I may have initially booked the retreat for a ‘break’ what I really ended up with was the breaking of some habits that had not been serving me or my family.


Here are my top 5 takeaways from my Pillars & Stone experience:

  1. My changed demeanour and approach at meal times (especially dinner) with the girls after noticing your fun, positive, happy and no pressure approach during the retreat. I no longer take my children’s dislike or declining of food personally. Instead, I’m direct but calm and set out consequences from the beginning with relevant follow through. I present them with less food on their plate so they don’t become overwhelmed. They eat when they’re hungry and tell me what they need or don’t need. I’m continuing to offer healthy foods and am not upset when they don’t like them. I’ve had a few winners throughout the week and a few flops. I’m not attached to either of these results.
  2. I feel less guilt around having or planning time out for myself. I also make more effort to just ‘be’ with the girls (either playing, observing or doing nothing in particular with them). Simply being present for them rather than feeling a constant need to be busy doing things for them (which often go unnoticed anyway!) has been a massive shift and we have all benefited
  3. I feel less pressure to be super-mum, wife, employee and colleague. Asking for and accepting help without guilt is something I feel more at ease with, as is outsourcing. I realised the only person judging me, was me. We are all at our best when we function as part of a village.
  4. House cleanliness has become less important to me, and as a result, my appreciation of my husband and the girls has increased.
  5. I’ve been trying for the past five months for our family dinners to include animal protein only every second night, rather than every night. It has been a difficult and slow process. My efforts are now paying off and Matt has joined me in my quest. He happily cooked and enjoyed eating tofu and stir-fry veggies two nights ago! No meat! We’re now both making a conscious effort to eat meat and poultry alternatives more. The retreat taught me that just because we’ve always done something a certain way does not mean that it’s the way we always have to keep doing it. My perspective has totally shifted. It’s about making small shifts that are right for our family.

I am also slowly, slowly starting to include some early mornings before the house is up to incorporate the yoga poses we learnt on the retreat in total silence with only the sound of my own breath. Yes, a 90-minute soak in Hepburn Springs would be lovely as would an hour of yoga and meditation, but the retreat taught me to grab the moments where we can. It’s not all or nothing. It’s about knowing how to feed my soul and which habits will serve me. Bliss comes in many different forms. There is bliss from the chaos and intensity of motherhood. There is bliss from solitude and time-out. Neither is better than the other. In fact, I appreciate the latter more because of the former and vice versa. I went into the mother-child retreat looking to rejuvenate, I came out with a completely new perspective that has flowed on to every facet of my life.

If you would like to know more about Pillars and Stone 

Want to know more? Pillars & Stone run annual mother and child retreats in Australia and Bali. Find out more here. If you need to be nurtured, slow down and truly reconnect with yourself, I urge you to contact Elly and take the leap. You won’t regret it.

What would it look like for you? 6 nights of total bliss. 6 nights of knowing you and your child are completely taken care of. 6 nights of letting go. To reconnect. To refocus. To refuel. Want to know more? Contact us today for more information about our 6-night Bali retreat. ⠀ See link in bio for details x ⠀ ⠀ 📷 by: @gathre ⠀ ⠀ #retreatyourself #pampermebali #inthemoment #mumandbubyoga #motherandchild #yogaretreat #timeforyou #wellnessretreat #meaningfulconnection #nourish #mindfulness #coconutlife #yogaloveplay #mindfulmama #kidpower #childplay #childretreat #mamaselfcare #rejuvenate #inbeautyandchaos #theauthenticfeeling #pursuitofjoyproject #childcare #communityovercompetition #yogakids #baliwithkids #baliretreats ⠀ ⠀

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