I am a stay at home mother. I get up every day knowing what is in store for me. At some point, during each day, there will absolutely be screaming, yelling, arguing, tantrums, begging, pleading, crying and a couple of melt-downs. Not to mention all of the crap that my kids will pull. I will prepare meals, clean messes, referee fights, moderate discussions and kiss away boo-boos. I will play housekeeper, chauffeur, interpreter, judge, chef, shopper, fashion coordinator and personal assistant to four little people. It is nice knowing what to expect every day. Although what happens when this is not the case? What happens when you get….(gulp)….a couple of days away?
It finally happened. My kids are so small and close in age, that normally when dad has a business trip, where spouses are invited, I just have to take a pass. But this time it worked out where I could come along. Oh dear, you mean now I have to slip back into the adult world? With civilized people? Watch out civilized people.
The thought was a little weird, I will admit. I used to spend my days in the adult world, many children ago. My wardrobe had gotten a little dated, to say the least. I would have to sport looks that did not consist of jeans, t-shirts and fabulous shoes…oh wait….yeah, the fabulous shoes would still work. I tried on all of my old business clothes from my working days. Some were later burned because they had obviously shrunk in the closet (:p). Others were okay but I decided I needed a shopping trip, nonetheless.
Next I had to secure a caregiver for my four kids. Grandma volunteered to give it a go. She loves her grand-babies but even she will admit that all four at one time is a bit much. She said she would do it though, so around T minus three days before we were supposed to leave, I stopped taking her calls, just in case she was trying to wiggle out. It worked!
We dropped off the kids and headed to our destination, the beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I was almost giddy. Whatever would I do without four little people following me around, with a list of requests and demands, every waking hour? I was about to find out.
I am not going to lie and say the hours in the car were not weird. When you are used to lots of noise and bickering and laughing, it is a strange feeling to have silence. Hubby was often times on the phone taking care of work issues. I found myself singing along to the radio for a while. I read several chapters of my book. I played a couple of games on the iPad. I turned around to look at the back of the car and there was no one looking back at me. I am not saying it wasn’t nice for a change. It was just strange.
We stopped for lunch, just the two of us. We sat across the table from one another. There was no one climbing on me or asking me to cut something up for them. No one was grabbing food off my plate or reaching into my cup for ice. Not once did I have milk spilled in my lap. No one was doing the restroom hop, waiting for me to escort them to the bathroom. It was just the two of us sitting there, staring at one another. What exactly did we used to talk about, again?
In the room, there was no one who needed me to help give them a bath or brush their teeth. No one needed their beloved teddy bear or a night-night story to help them fall asleep. There was just me sitting on the edge of my seat, unrelaxed, shifting my eyes from one end of the room to the other. It was as though I was waiting for something to fall from the sky. What did I ever do before kids??
We had a company dinner to attend the first night. We sat at a table with other adults. We sat there and carried on actual conversations. I enjoyed my meal, one bite at a time. The food was still warm. I looked calm, cool and collected. It was as though I didn’t have a care in the world. It was starting to freak me out a little.
The next morning, my husband had early morning meetings to attend. I was left in the hotel room ALONE. What is this alone time? I never even pee alone anymore. I sat there not knowing exactly what I was supposed to do. I tried to write a blog entry but there was no WiFi. Okay, then I was really nervous. My kids and writing are my go-to time-fillers. So I looked at the TV. You mean I could actually turn it on and watch anything that I want with anyone crying and complaining or interrupting? I grabbed the remote.
The TV had been left on VH1 by the previous guest and evidently they still show music videos in the mornings. I was sucked in. I sat there watching video after video. It was amazing. A couple of hours went by and I was still watching VH1. I cannot even describe the feeling that you get when you find yourself kid free. I sat and thought about what I used to be before I had them. I cannot even remember. It felt nice and weird all at the same time.
So I did what any mother would do. I picked up the phone and gave them a call. They were having a ball at Grandma’s house. Each came to the phone to tell me how much they missed me, too. Just hearing their voices reinforced that they were fine and it was perfectly okay for me to be….me, for a little while.
There is no greater joy in life than being the mother to these four fabulous, little people. Sometimes I forget to stop and take time for myself and my relationships though. We all get caught up in trying to do everything for our kids and often times things gets shoved to the wayside
Our trip went off without a hitch. Everyone there seemed to believe that I was a normal, functioning member of society as well. (score!) We had a good time and the kids made childhood memories with Grandma. It would appear that getting away from your children every now and again is okay. Everyone survived and actually enjoyed themselves. As the kids get older, I will slowly have to figure out who I am now. Not who I used to be, but who am I now, post children. What do I enjoy doing? What makes me happy? What do I do with my down time?
One thing I learned this weekend is not to feel guilty for taking time away. We are mothers but we are women as well. When we pulled up at Grandma’s to collect our duckies, all four came pouring out of the house and greeted me with hugs and kisses. Absence does in fact make the heart grow fonder, I suppose. And a happy momma makes a happy home. Take a little time to remember who YOU are. Your kids will absolutely benefit and you might actually enjoy yourself. You should totally check out VH1 by the way 😉