We all love our children. We all love our children desperately and with such conviction, passion, emotion and force, that every one of us would gladly jump in front of a speeding car or a biting dog. Every single mother in the world, that is worth half a shit at all, would not only lay down and die for her children, but will also gladly and quietly wipe their snot away, fix a glass of water at 4AM, kiss a bloody boo-boo or a freshly vomited face, cuss an overbearing teacher or threaten to beat the snot out of a bullying 4th grader. It’s what we do. We protect, we serve, we mend, we raise, we fix/clean/make okay/smooth over (damn! We’re way better than the police!) and in general run along in front of our children and do our dead-level best to force the world into a smooth and bump-free place for our babies. That is what we do. We very seldom get any sort of thanks or praise. We aren’t complainers about the mundane in’s and out’s of being Mommies. We gave birth to the little hellions, we knew (at least somewhat) what was in store.
However, even Mommies, as strong and unbending as we sometimes have to be, need breaks. There comes a time for every Mom when it becomes clear that we need to turn off the “Mommy switch” for a while. We tend to forget sometimes that we are women. We not only forget that we’re adults, we sometimes forget who we are, when we aren’t answering to “Mommy.” I am my children’s mother so completely, that I often forget that there was a time when I was not my children’s mother. There was a time in my life when I was much more of a daredevil, when the risks didn’t outweigh the adrenaline rush by quite so much. Now the first thing I think about with any type of risk-taking is “Will this affect my children’s lives?” It used to be that the only thing I thought about was “When my mother finds out about this, she is going to be PISSED!” Now, of course, I’m mortified by the thought of my children doing those exact same things. The point is, I used to be a spontaneous person, who had no issue with taking off for weeks at a time with nothing but some camping gear and hopefully, a few festival tickets. Who cared if I lost my job, there was another one somewhere else, and besides they weren’t going to fire ME! My how things have changed. Now, taking any type of vacation requires months worth of planning, my parents agreeing to watch the kids, saving up… Good God, how “adult” my world has gotten.
Since my parents live 3 hours away, and my best friend had to move away for school and selfishly go get herself an education, instead of staying here to keep my kids, this Mommy hadn’t had a break since Christmas. I understand now why so many people move back to their hometowns after having kids, it’s for the free babysitting!! But seeing as how El Hubbo and I grew up in a part of the country that we affectionately refer to as the “Armpit of Hell,” and we now live in a truly lovely and inspiring place, we will not be moving back there, not even for free babysitting. Occasionally, I day-dream that Hubbo and I have split up, not because there is anything at all wrong with our relationship, but merely so that I could send them to his house every other weekend. I don’t feel much guilt over it because I know that he sometimes day-dreams about it too. Then I remember that he is the cook around here, and while I would like a break now and again, I do not want us to starve to death. And so, this is how I found myself, around the middle of May, looking completely stoned and dazed, and having been running on auto-pilot and shear muscle memory for a good two months. It was time.
Luckily for me and the state of my sanity, the parents came through and took their vacations, so that they could have my children for a week. And Hubbo and I were off!! We went to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and rented a secluded cabin in the woods. I won’t go into how cheesy everything in Gatlinburg is, that’s a-whole-nother blog. Let’s just say that we spent the entire time in the cabin. And it was glorious! It was silent. It was damn-near magical. No one asked me for anything for three whole days! There was no “Mommy, can I/will you/please, please, please.” Not one time. For three days. There was a king-sized bed and a hot-tub and I spent three days going between the two. Glorious, I tell you!
Then, after our wonderful three days in the cabin, we came home for two days. It’s weird to be in your own house without your children there. At the cabin, it was completely natural for everything to be silent, calm and relaxed. In my own home, where I’m so used to the all of the noise that my family creates, it was a little weird. But you know, I buckled down and dug deep and managed to enjoy the hell out of it anyway! Then, it was off to Atlanta for an adult weekend with friends… child-less friends. We were transported back to our early twenties by a party full of people we hadn’t seen in over 10 years, who all still manage to somehow be child-less. We came and went as we pleased, with no thought what-so-ever of car seats, bed-times, school schedules or any of the other things that generally dictate our everyday lives. We stayed up very, very late and then slept even later. We partied like we had no one to answer to and nothing to be responsible for. It was fabulous!!!
And then on Sunday, we drove out to the parents house to see the kids and bring one of them back home with us (the other is too grown to come home… he’s 9) and bid farewell to our week of child-less independence. And would you believe it? I have never been so happy to see my kids in my life! You could hear them yelling “Mommy! Mommy!” from the other side of the door. As soon as the door swung open, they both barreled into me and wrapped their arms around me in the best bear-hug EVER!!! Yay! Mommy batteries have been recharged! I got some rest, okay lots of rest. I did some good partying that made me feel a little younger again. And maybe most importantly, I indulged in myself for a solid week.
Now I’m back in the saddle. I’m fresh and refreshed. I’m ready for summer with my babies. My patience is real again, and not just robotically controlled from some deep, inner recess of my brain that has been programmed by years of “Can I/will you/please, please, please.” I feel capable and willing to pour a thousand more cups of juice, kiss away hundreds of boo-boo’s, play countless hours of Little People and Strawberry Shortcake and possibly even kick my sons butt at Super Mario Galaxy 2!!!
Here’s hoping that all of the Mommy’s out there get a chance to recharge their batteries soon! You’ll be a better Mommy for it and you might even remember who you were before you answered to “Mommy.”