As our family started talking about our annual Fourth of July pilgrimage to visit my in-laws in the Bay Area, all I could think about was how much work it would be and how tired I was. I truly did not want to go.
Around the same time, my daughter made a comment that I have been really grumpy lately. She was right. If I did an honest self assessment, I was worn down, stressed and bone tired.
I started thinking about how bitter I’ve been that my husband has taken FOUR child free extended weekends since January. I kept telling him I could only dream of a weekend all to myself.
But then I started wondering: why?
I then told myself to stop being a martyr. Yes, Fourth of July is a family holiday, but I knew deep down that what I needed to be the best mother and wife for my family was time to myself. So I opted out of the family Fourth of July trip.
*gasp* There was so much self-induced Mommy Guilt. Part of me knew that I’d eventually back out of this rebellion and just go be with my family. But then a single mom friend mentioned she’d be around all weekend and her kids were away with their dad.
Well that changed everything. Instead of focusing on Mommy Guilt, my imagination started running wild with the options for a girls’ weekend at home.
When I told my husband I was serious about staying home, he said, “yeah, like the kids are going to go for this.”
I said, “hey, kids — how would you like to be spoiled by Nana and Papa without me around?” They lit up and started cheering. Problem solved.
The more I thought about this, I realized in the 9.5 years we have been parents, my husband had NEVER taken the kids out of town on his own. I decided it was high time for him to do just that and for us to reverse roles a bit.
I helped them pack, packed them snacks, and when my house cleared out, I did the first thing that came to mind: I took a nap. It was glorious.
I awoke to a text message from my friend inviting me to go up for a picnic dinner on the beach of Tahoe. But of course! We snacked, I swam a bit, we chatted, sipped on wine, watched the sunset, and just as the crowds were building for fireworks, we LEFT. Because we had no kids around and neither of us felt like dealing with traffic. We then spontaneously decided to stop by another friend’s house, where we stayed up talking and watching the moon rise until after midnight. Because we could!
The next morning, I slept luxuriously late. The silence in my house was mesmerizing.
Then my girlfriend and I went on a lovely child free hike. I could hear the birds, smell the forest, and we walked at a pace that had me breathless — all novel experiences compared to my hikes with kids.
Then, we went to brunch at the Squeeze Inn. We sat outside and were in no rush. After my tummy was full, we went home, and I took another nap.
When I woke up and decided to do one big chore: clean out all of the toys that my kids haven’t touched for ages. This is a task best done when kids are away so that there are no negotiations. I filled NINE garbage bags. Their rooms look so much better! (They still haven’t noticed I took a thing!)
I then ate leftovers for dinner. No cooking for me! There was no one to complain about the lack of cooking. And then I decided to go swim at the pool at 8pm — an adults only pool. I was the only person in the pool, and I lounged in the hot tub later for a long time, because no one was watching the clock for my return.
The next day: more sleeping in and another kid free hike. Then, an adults-only brunch at my neighbor’s house, complete with mimosas. I then took another nap. Because eating makes me tired!
I woke up from my nap and my girlfriend and I went to the Atlantis spa, where we indulged in more girl time in the various rooms of the spa and we each got a deep tissue massage.
We ate dinner together that night at 8pm, sipping our wine and enjoying the sound of my back yard waterfall. No one was complaining they were hungry and I ate my entire dinner without having to get up to get someone seconds.
I totally enjoyed seeing all of my friends posting their family pictures on Facebook, and all the cute kids in their Fourth of July outfits. I posted a picture of my dog.
Now that my child-free time has come to an end, I have to say that was one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself. When my family returned, I was well rested, my tank was full, and I was ready to take on the challenges of motherhood again with a smile and renewed energy. My husband and the kids had only good things to report — all had a great time and it was great bonding time for the kids and their dad, as well as their grandparents.
I challenge all of you to take a weekend to yourself — just don’t wait 9.5 years to do it like I did. No one benefits when we act like martyrs, but everyone can benefit from a well rested and happy momma.