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Staying Home Means Staying Sane

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Karyn Bryant: It's not that I don't want to go on vacation. It's that I want to go on vacation to Tahiti, Brazil or Spain. And since that's not happening anytime soon, I'd rather stay home while my husband and daughter visit his family in Colorado so I can FINALLY get some things done around the house!
Woman relaxing
It was an awkward conversation to be sure, but telling my husband that I'd rather clean the office than go to Denver was something I had to do. His family is lovely, and I enjoy their company -- but it's not even about that. It's about attempting to catch up on the myriad things that have been sidelined for far, far too long -- all those things that have gnawed at me for months, but which had to be pushed aside in favor of playgroups, e-mails and motherly obligations. 

So I've been given one week in August: I will not have to take care of anyone but myself, and I pray that I can take care of at least a few of the messes in my house (and maybe even a couple in my head as well). I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only one who feels this way. I love my family and will surely miss them, but I can hardly wait to have the place to myself so I can push the reset button. 

I'm already making the checklist in my head about all the things I'm going to get done, and at the top of that list in bold, red ink is "Clean the Office That Looks Like It's from an Episode of 'Hoarders.'" Seriously, that room gives me nightmares. I will need strength, patience and probably a few cocktails to conquer that beast. But I'm ready. As they say, "Failure is not an option."

For a little while, I felt bad about saying I wanted to stay home. And then (about 30 seconds later) I got over it, because I know it's the right thing to do -- for me and for my family. Aurora's been on vacation for the month of July, and my husband and I have been swamped with work and new developments for our company (a good thing), so I feel like I haven't had a minute to myself. Is it so wrong to say, "Go away!"? 

Will I finally use that gift certificate for a massage while they're gone? Probably. Will I go to see "Eat Pray Love"? Probably. Will I play Wii games in my undies? Probably. But will I greet my husband and daughter as a reinvigorated and inspired woman? Dang, I hope so.

next: I'm Jealous of Lourdes ... She Gets Madonna as Her Mom!
15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous July 30, 2010, 5:35 AM

I think it’s pretty sad that you don’t want to vacation w/your husband & child. what on earth are you doing all year that you and your husband can’t keep your house up? I work full time and so does my husband and we have 3 small children and we work as a team to keep everything going. I get needing a girls night out or solo evening but this whole needing a week “off” from the family seems so depressingly sad - like why did you marry and have a family?

Kelly July 30, 2010, 7:03 AM

I say go for it, I’m a stay at home mom of 4 children, and my husband works A LOT of hours. We live far away from our family/friends, so time to myself doesn’t ever happen. It’s ok to say you need to get caught back up. I understand those projects you can’t seem to accomplish, but are always on the brain. And what a great adventure for your child to have with her father. Kids need daddy time, they will have wonderful memories of their adventure and you will get back on track. Being a loving mom and wife does not mean you can’t say what you need. Get recharged!! You’ll be a better mom for it.

Samantha  July 30, 2010, 8:17 AM

anonymous up there is so judgemental…

do all that stuff with no guilt and you will be happy when they get home.

Vanessa Houk July 30, 2010, 8:28 AM

Well I have to admit that when I saw the title of the article and started reading, I was set to be judgmental too, but about half way into it I began to understand. Some of us don’t ever get a “girl’s night out” and the idea of getting a block of time to ourselves sounds like paradise. It has nothing to do with “not wanting a family” but more to do with just being able to hit that reset button like the author said. It’s really about aiming to be a better parent and spouse. It took courage to write this because you had to know that there would be an element who would be aghast, but you spoke for a lot of women and I hope you have a glorious week (and get that office done too!)

Lanie July 30, 2010, 12:18 PM

Yikes -sounds like a bunch of women really don’t like their families!! Totally agree w/Anonymous on this one!

Seriously, please tell me this isn’t written by a stay home mom because holy cow what on earth is she doing all day?!? Like the first poster both my husband and I work and we’re able to parent full time and keep a house. Sure every once in a while my husband and I get “me time” or “girls/boys nights” but honestly I couldn’t imagine myself or any of my friends/family wanting to vacation away from our husbands/kids. My husband is my best friend - I have the MOST fun with him!! I think it’s just about the saddest thing I ever heard that someone doesn’t like their family enough to want to vacation with them. Especially since your kids are only young once…

Dr. Michelle Golland July 30, 2010, 5:00 PM

GREAT article! As a couples therapist I have recommended that my clients do just what you are going to do for yourself. I just would also love to have your husband be given the same opportunity. Recharging ones self and having time alone is not a measure of love for your family but a measure of love for yourself. You are also teaching your kids it is a good thing to take care of your own needs even as a mommy! Have a peaceful, quiet and wonderful week.

Aurora July 30, 2010, 6:13 PM

Oh my goodness, I’m SO relieved that I am not the only one out there who feels this way! With 2 very young children and a husband that I love with all my heart, I still often feel the need to be just… ALONE!!! This is the only way I can think of to keep a little bit of my sanity. But I so seldom get to be by myself… It seems like nobody in the house can function without me, and so I feel guilty about wanting some peace and quiet all the time. But thanks for posting this article! Every once in a while my husband will get some vacation time all by himself -sometimes for days at a time- so there’s no reason why I couldn’t do the same :)

Bookbelle July 30, 2010, 6:36 PM

Wow, I am always amazed when other women are so quick to jump on the “Why did you have a family,” bandwagon…or “I make it work with all my responsibilities, so you must be doing something wrong.” I think if this is what works for you and your family, then super! Being a good wife and mother isn’t an martyrdom contest. I also think it’s a great opportunity for your children to build great memories with their father. When I felt guilty about the number of times I was unavailable this year because of my job, my husband said, “I think the gift was that I got to know our kids in a different way than before.” You have 51 other weeks this year to spend with your children and husband. I think one week away hardly qualifies as “not liking your family” or “depressingly sad.” It’s healthy and appropriate for EVERYONE in your family. Don’t feel guilty. You’ll find that by day six, you’ll be looking out the window, and that new energy will make the next 51 weeks even better!

Sunny July 30, 2010, 6:37 PM

To Lanie: maybe it is BECAUSE you are not a stay at home mom that you cannot fully understand what the author of this article is talking about. Being a full time mom to very young children is so hard, you are always on call. Anyway, we are all different. The need for alone time might seem awful or sad to some people, while it will mean the world to some others… not all of us have the same needs, the same idea of relaxation.

Mona July 31, 2010, 4:39 AM

Ok, so anonymous….have you ever taken vacation from your job? Isn’t it a standard 2 weeks during the year that people get off from their jobs? Sometimes more. Yeah, well what if your boss told you that you lost all YOUR vacation?! Especially for SAHM’s, you get NO vacation time- it’s 24/7!!! Of course we love our children, it’s why we stay home with them and sacrifice financially. Our “bosses” many times don’t allow vacation time unless we demand it. So, anonymous, you’re saying you are ok with giving up YOUR 2 weeks a year?!

Anonymous August 1, 2010, 6:06 PM

I would love to do a whole week but so far that hasn’t happened. I do go away for the weekend every year with my mom and sister for Mother’s Day. It’s just us “girls” and we go to a different place every year and do all the quaint little shops (husbands and kids usually don’t enjoy) and just spend hours walk up and down the main street and window shop. I love doing this and hanging with my mom and sisters. No way would I ever give our “girl weekend” up. Time away from husband and kids is always recharging!

Caroline August 2, 2010, 5:57 AM

I’a SAHM and now (used to work full time but can afford to stop now) and sorry Sunny, you are so off base. WAY simpler to be a sahm than a full time working/full time mommy. IF anyone was going to need a vacation to themselves it’d be the full time working mom!!

That sad I tend to agree with the posters who find it rather depressing that someone wants to vacation away from their spouse and kids. I’m not talking about the occassional girls’ night out or perhaps a girls weekend. But the only family vacation of a year to just send your spouse/kids away? If a guy wrote this the amount of grief he would get would be off the charts!!!

I understand taking a vacation from an office/outside the home job, but to want to be gone that long from both your husband and children - maybe being a SAHM is not for you then…

Shannon August 6, 2010, 7:42 AM

I’m a stay at home mom, and would love to stay home while my husband takes our children to the beach. I simply cannot catch a break, and vacation is really no vacation for this mom. I always return more exhausted than when we left.

wish i was a sahm September 20, 2010, 9:47 AM

Man i wish i could stay at home. I don’t think she’s a poor excuse for a sahm. Some mommy’s can do it all and some need a break to refresh or renew. I however luv to be exhausted at the end of the day. Sinking into the bed after a full day of work, kids going to practice, washing clothes, dishers and hey the kids themselves is so great. What a life. I do wish i could cut out the daily grind of punching in to my job. I would love trips to the zoo and gymboree, t-ball, swimming and endless learning field trips for the kiddies. Whoo, got a rush just thinking of it.

have fun on vacay and don’t feel less than or guilty. You will return triumphant and ready for playdates and ironing shirts for daddy.

tabletki na pryszcze April 3, 2011, 7:35 AM

I’m glad, that i found your website, there are a couple of interesting posts

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