Momlogic's Julie: Why every mom needs a break sometimes...even me.
As Mother's Day rolled around last month, I began mulling over what I wanted. A purse? Some perfume? A new vacuum cleaner (God forbid)? None of those were quite right, but I was almost afraid to say what I really wanted. You see, every time I allowed my mind to wander, I noticed I was fantasizing about something very specific. A lot. Nothing obscene or anything...but I kept picturing myself in a hotel room. Alone. No kids, no husband, no responsibilities. Just me, a book, some pay-per-view movies, maybe a trip to the spa or two, doing whatever I wanted, sleeping however late I wanted, having as many drinks as I wanted, without someone depending on me for 24 hours. Was that too much to ask?
Apparently, I thought so. I mulled it over for days before I had the nerve to bring up the idea to my husband. I felt guilty asking for time away from the family I loved so much. (I'm a working mother, so I'm already gone a lot.) Yet, that's what I wanted. And I was beginning to suspect it was what I needed, too. The only time I was alone in my day-to-day life was in my car to and from work, and that's not exactly quality time. So one night I bit the bullet and asked for my one night of freedom. To my relief, my husband didn't look at me like I was a horrible mother or wife. He didn't judge. He just gave it to me: One night in the hotel of my choice, guilt-free. God, I loved him for it.
So that's how I found myself in the lobby of the Four Seasons last weekend, checking in alone. I had two thick books in my bag, my bathing suit and sunscreen, and a bottle of Absolut Citron. I was set. My husband made me promise not to call him or the kids for the entire 24 hours, and vowed to not call me, either. I was responsibility-free, and it felt liberating!
After I checked into my suite, I went straight down to the spa to visit the whirlpool, sauna, and steam room. After an hour or two of relaxing and pampering, I did a little shopping in the hotel boutique -- which I never do, but I savored the freedom to browse without a child pulling on my leg and telling me to "come on, Mommy!" I then enjoyed an amazing dinner at Onyx, the hotel's sushi restaurant, where I dined al fresco right next to a waterfall while I dove into my book. Heaven!
The rest of the evening was spent relaxing in the room. I ordered a pay-per-view movie (and it was the first time in recent memory I watched a movie all the way through with no interruptions), finished my novel, had a cocktail, and just enjoyed the silence and solitude.
The next morning, I slept in. Yes, slept in. The last time I slept past 6:45 a.m. was January 2001, right before my son was born. I then ordered room service breakfast (because every mom deserves breakfast in bed, right?) and went down to the pool and spa to savor the last few hours of my mini-vacation. In the spa, I endured the pain of a bikini wax because I figured my husband should get some reward for letting me come. After a nice lunch in the hotel lobby, where I read the Sunday New York Times in peace, it was time to check out and go back to reality. By that time, I was ready. I was homesick for my kids and hubby. But these 24 hours away had given me the gift of missing them. The whole hour-long ride home, I had a huge smile on my face.
When I walked through my front doors, I was so much more refreshed and relaxed. My temper wasn't as short, and I was a better mother and wife. I guess that's when I realized that I had been wrong all along. What I thought I wanted was a night in a nice hotel. But what I was really asking for, what I really needed, was a break. And, now that I've had one, everybody wins.
What do you think, moms: Is asking for me-time smart or selfish?