I didn’t realize how necessary it was to break free and get away until a friend’s recent visit presented me with a rare opportunity to escape my house, family and #momlife. This was the first time in four years, I spent the night away from my children – other than giving birth to their sibling in the hospital. Pathetic, I know.
Being selfish is so far removed from my natural disposition – as I more often than not, find myself overextending and ultimately over exhausting myself with nothing left to give anyone, especially myself – if a friend’s visit didn’t force me out of my house, I don’t think I would’ve ever decided for myself.
When I finally did break free, I was so accustomed to going a mile a minute in an attempt to keep up with everyone and everything involving my family, I didn’t know how to just be. Without my family’s needs – particularly pertaining to my children – directing my actions, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had turned into a kid who found it almost impossible to sit still. I couldn’t remember the last time I had freedom or the time to do what I wanted to, let alone figure out what exactly it was that I enjoy. Again, pathetic, I know.
Communicating with other adults was awkward at best. What the hell do I even talk about? I’m well-versed in the language of littles and can easily chat about the hottest toy to hit the shelves, but the years of being a stay-at-home mom has melted by brain ultimately losing my ability to speak “adult”. Trending topics? News? If it’s not Paw Patrol or a recent toy review on YouTube, I have no clue.
Usually, when I’m out in public, I’m surrounded by an entourage of tiny humans. They’re my safety blanket and a more-than-welcomed distraction from any serious or heavy conversation. Without them, it was just me, myself and I, and it had been so long since I spent time with just myself, I’ve forgotten who I was.
Even when we I went out to dinner, I didn’t even know what I wanted to eat. Staring at the menu filled with options, my mind was drawing a blank. My usual meals consisted of toddler leftovers or scraps from their plates. Mac & cheese. Chicken Nuggets. This I know. Seared tuna taco? Braised beef brisket? Once was a day, I could recognize these options, but now? They were foreign to me.
When I finally was able to relax and let go of that heightened awareness, it was freaking fantastic. I wasn’t rushing around like a maniac fulfilling my family’s every request and demand. I could pee without an audience and take a hot long shower without interruption. Any initial guilt of leaving my children and husband, quickly subsided. I even had a glorious moment or two where they didn’t even cross my mind.
My fingers didn’t wreak of play-doh and my hair wasn’t bathed in goldfish crumbs. Tiny tot snot and boogers weren’t smeared all over my shirt and I definitely didn’t have any sneaky stickers lurking on my backside waiting for a stranger to comment on its existence. My lady lovelies were able to stay hidden and remain at bay where usually they’re immediate presence would be demanded by 5 month old.
Best of all, I was able to catch up with a friend without the usual distraction of kids screaming and fighting for my attention. My thoughts weren’t consumed with the need of everyone else, just my own. There was relaxation, booze, good food and most importantly great company. I didn’t know how badly I needed this, until it happened. Now? I can’t believe how much time passed before letting myself enjoy a moment away.
Whether out of stubbornness, pride or an ‘I can do it all’ attitude’, I allowed myself to become swallowed whole by the needs of my family, so much so, I almost lost myself. You need to be selfish and find time. Decide for yourself, because the opportunity may come along way overdue. If you’re smarter than me and already regularly practice this piece of advice, I tip my hat off to you. It took me four very long years to finally comprehend this not-so-secret wisdom – and you better believe, I won’t let that much time pass before I indulge in another getaway.