My son is my world. He has the magical ability to make a tough day at the office completely disappear with a toothy, drooly smile. Sometimes he will fall asleep in my arms during his last bottle of the evening, and I can’t bring myself to put him in his crib just yet. In two months, my baby will be one full year old, and my husband and I are finally starting to understand the meaning of the phrase “the days are long, but the years are short.” We announced my pregnancy to the world on March 30, 2015 (thanks Facebook for the exact date), and the time since then has disappeared. The years are short for sure.
But let’s talk about those long days.
Getting Cameron into a routine very early on has been the secret to our parenting success, or at least what my husband and I qualify as parenting success. However, there’s also a “secret” secret to our parenting success–and that’s taking time out for ourselves. I’m not talking about an hour spent folding laundry by myself after little guy goes to bed. I’m talking about real time away from the house.
Last month I went to Las Vegas with five girlfriends. Some of us are moms, some are not. We relived the early 2000s with Britney Spears, ate leisurely dinners, drank cocktails with brunch, walked through stores with breakable items and soaked up the sun poolside. We stayed up late laughing and slept in even later. There were no schedules or rules, but there were a lot of inside jokes and memories created. And thanks to technology, I didn’t miss a minute of what was happening back home. My amazing husband sent no less than 20 pictures a day of our little guy. I got to see what he ate for dinner, how much fun he had in the kiddie pool at his grandparents’ house and his sweet little smile first thing in the morning.
When I came home, I felt like my batteries were recharged (even after a 6:00a.m. flight out of Vegas). The time I spent connecting with my girlfriends, especially those who don’t have kids, gave me new energy. Some women say they have a hard time relating to friends without kids after having a baby. I don’t think that’s the case at all. We can go weeks without seeing or talking to each other, but we always pick up right where we left off. What IS hard is finding the time to get together, and this vacation gave us three full days of togetherness.
Mamas, there is nothing wrong with taking a break. I know the guilt is there because it creeps up on me from time to time, too. We give so much of ourselves all day, every day, and to take back even just an hour of time feels wrong. Selfish. Unacceptable. But what’s really unacceptable is believing you don’t deserve even the smallest break.
A three-day girls’ weekend isn’t something all moms can do, or even WANT to do. And that’s OK. However, I’m assigning homework to every single mom reading this blog post (I grade on a scale of Pinot Grigio to Merlot, so everyone’s a winner). Take at least two hours each week to do something for yourself. Go to the gym. Get a pedicure. Bake your favorite dessert. Watch Netflix. Start a craft project. It doesn’t matter what as long as it’s something you personally enjoy.
No guilt, mamas. You deserve a break, too.