Back in August, my husband and father-in-law went to Africa for two weeks which left me alone with my then, one and two-year-old. I had agreed to this in 2014 when my oldest had just been born so I was clueless as to how psychotic spirited toddlers are and my youngest wasn’t even a thought in my brain. Those two weeks with him gone were basically a blur although I am beyond thankful for my parents and sister stepping in to help. Single moms, you are my heroes!
So, fast forward to January, when my sweet grandmother offered to take my mom, aunts and I on a girls’ trip to the spa for several days in March, Tyler could not say no. Well, he could have, but he would have had to deal with my wrath and he knows better by now. It also just so happened that I had already planned to visit a friend up in Baltimore for her birthday and I realized that I would literally be leaving directly from the spa to see her. A few days suddenly became six. Anyway, I was thrilled and counting down the minutes until sweet freedom.
“…Tyler could not say no. Well he could have, but he would have had to deal with my wrath and he knows better by now.”
March crept up on me however, and I started to freak out days leading up to the trip. Tyler and I went away for a week together last year without our kids and I have had my fair share of girls’ weekends, but this was six days away from my husband and kids. It also did not help that Sawyer has picked up a “fun” new habit that gets her into trouble, so receiving a phone call asking you to come pick up your child early from Mother’s Morning Out because she will not stop biting her “friends” is exactly what you want the day before you leave your family for a week. Gee thanks, kid. Tyler works from home so he was depending on those eight hours a week for calls and other things you cannot do when you are being used as a toddler jungle gym.
The night before I left, I snuggled my kids a little tighter and shed a few tears. HOWEVER, the minute that plane got into the air, I felt a huge sense of relief. It was nice knowing that the only person I needed to be responsible for the next week was myself. 2017 did not get off to an easy start for us. Our eleven-year-old dog we rescued our sophomore year in college unexpectedly passed away and the flu among other sicknesses hit our house hard. We also potty-trained Jackson which was no easy task and I already mentioned “The Biter”. Yes, this vacation was much needed.
It took me about 24 hours to completely chill out once I arrived at the spa. As moms, we are constantly doing something: working, cleaning, wiping butts, chasing down, being someone’s chauffeur. The list goes on. We do not stop, so it is a pretty bizarre feeling to suddenly not have any obligations. Once I stepped out of mom mode and into vacation mode, it became easier to be mindful of the present. People are always talking about mindfulness and I just thought it was some hippie-dippy yoga jargon…until now. I had all these plans before I got there. I would go on the early morning yoga hikes and do back to back workout classes. I would sign up for every fitness and nutrition lecture there was. I would learn how to make smoothie bowls and all kinds of healthy crap that my kids and husband would never eat. It took my mom and aunts telling me to do whatever I wanted even if it meant doing less, to realize that I did not have to DO ANYTHING!
I still did some of what I planned but it was scaled down. The morning hikes were replaced by sleeping in and drinking hot coffee in bed. I read by the pool, a whole book, instead of learning how to Feng Shui my garden because if we are truly being honest here, I kill everything I plant and sweet baby Jesus, when would I have the time for this with two toddlers running around trying to kill each other? Not feeling like I had to be somewhere or someone to somebody was just what I needed. It was quite freeing. By the time I got to Baltimore, I was completely relaxed and enjoyed the visit with my dear friend. We drank lots of wine, I got to sleep some more and we saw Stevie Nicks in concert which was amazing.
“To the gypsy that remains, who faces freedom with a little fear, I have no fear, I have only love .” -Stevie Nicks
At this point, I’m sure some of you are wondering if I even missed my family. I debated writing this post because of the comments I could potentially receive. There is so much scrutiny around the subject of how much time mothers spend or do not spend with their children. Look at the whole stay-at-home mom vs working mom debacle (which should be squashed already, both have their pros and cons). For the most part, I really do not care about the opinions of others and believe in the I am who I am mantra, but in regard to motherhood, it’s a whole different ballgame. Here, I care a lot. We are raising little people who are our future and no one wants to raise an asshole.
The night before I left, I felt so guilty about leaving my family for a week but then later felt guilty about having a good time and not missing them enough. What is the appropriate reaction for going on a trip without kids? Is it posting a picture on social media and saying how you are loving life but also throw in how much you miss them, or can you just say how you are enjoying your vacation and not even mention children? It is such a double-edged sword. You either care too much or too little although there should be no wrong answer. There are women who are anxious about leaving their child for a few hours and that’s ok. It’s also ok if a mother needs a few days alone (or a week) to recoup and chill out. At the end of the day, we all do what we think is best for our kids and there is no one size fits all for that. I came back rested, recouped and my patience level was much higher than before.
And before you think I am a cold-blooded woman with a dark and empty soul, of course I missed my family. TERRIBLY. By day four. Jackson and Sawyer yelling, “MOMMY!!” when I walked in the door brought an incredible amount of joy to my heart. The multitude of cuddles and slobbery kisses I received when I got home made up for the week I was away. It was like I was never gone. On the other hand, poor Tyler looked like he hadn’t showered in days (welcome to mom life, bro) but he hugged me a lot tighter. He has always valued and appreciated my existence as a wife and mother, but I think now, judging from this picture that was taken on day three of me being gone, he really gets it…
…and I doubt he will be planning a trip to Africa anytime soon because he knows that payback is a real B.
“At the end of the day, we all do what we think is best for our kids and there is no one size fits all for that. I came back rested, recouped and my patience level was much higher than before.”