Taking a vacation from being a mom
My mother, bless her little heart, took my kids home with her for a visit this week. Before they were even packed, I was planning my vacation.
Mind you, I have just spent three weeks playing hostess to 14 relatives ” all at the same time. The day they all left, my mother and aunt arrived for three days. So when she offered to take my kids home with her, I jumped at the chance.
One week of pure mommy-time meant I could wake up when I wanted ” early, followed by a long walk. I could make my coffee strong instead of the watered-down version my father-in-law prefers. I would eat breakfast when I wanted and not make dinner, and my husband and I could go for a bike ride or a hike without instructions and babysitters and logistics. I could write uninterrupted.
And I did all those things. The first day.
After that, things got decidedly slower around our house.
My husband and I cleaned out the garage. He mowed the lawn, and I paid some bills. We went for walks and made a light supper. Twice, we went out to eat just for something to do.
There were no baseball games to coordinate and no play dates or swim lessons. No piano lessons, guitar, or golf. I didn’t have to run to the grocery store because we were out of milk or help set up a lemonade stand in the yard. There were no squabbles to referee, no chores to oversee, no bedtime stories to tell. I didn’t have to run to the library before the books were overdue. Didn’t have to pick up wet towels from the floor for the third time in a day, or scramble to find the right baseball jersey and pretend it was clean. I had the computer all to myself. The phone sat eerily silent. There were also no scrapes to kiss, no tears to wipe, no good-morning hugs. There was no running leap into Daddy’s arms when he got home from work (I didn’t want to throw his back out), and no offers from my son to make chicken enchiladas … again.
Before I sound too morose, I want to assure you ” it was heaven!
I highly recommend breaks from parenting whenever you can take them ” just as a vacation from the job place is necessary and rejuvenating. But rather than basking on a beach or backpacking for a week or touring the wine country, this particular kind of break was different. This was me, in my own home, no kids. Exactly as it will be in the blink of an eye.
Knowing that my kids are hurtling toward adulthood at the speed of light ” while I haven’t even lost my baby weight yet ” only reminds me how precious all those tasks of motherhood are. Sure, the carpool can be a pain, but soon my car will sit parked in my (newly organized!) garage with only the echo of all those voices.
We all know it’s coming, the inevitable empty nest. Getting to experience it this week makes me appreciate the chaos that is family time even more. My kids arrive back home tomorrow, in time for piano lessons and two back-to-back baseball games. And I can’t wait.
But for tonight, pass me another margarita.
Charla Belinski teaches the parenting course Redirecting Children’s Behavior and writes from her home in Snowmass Village. Her columns appear every other Sunday in the Post Independent. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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