We all need a break. Whether you have kids or not, you find yourself needing some time away from whatever your normal routine is, just to clear your head and regroup and binge watch. The days before we became parents, Adam and I could just drop what we were doing and go out to dinner, go see a movie, go on a drive, go on a trip. We could just go. Once we became parents, a lot more planning and hoping went into getting a break. And they feel so much more necessary now than before, because the scale of responsibility is so much higher. I recently told a friend who is having her first baby to not stress about getting stuff “ready” for that baby, because you’re never actually ready. What I did tell her was to blow off some crap she had to do and go have some fun with her husband, because it will be a while before she likely even gets out to see a movie again.
Adam and I are incredibly fortunate in that we have lots of family close by, and a child that is not a complete turd so people actually want to babysit him. It really isn’t hard for us to find a sitter when we need one. Once a week, my in-laws watch August for half the day to give me a break, and I am endlessly grateful for it. The break itself gives me time to run errands or catch up on chores or even (gasp) do something not mom-related. It’s like hitting a reset button for myself. I can regroup and decompress, but it also gives me an unexpected benefit.
I get to miss my child.
It’s so important for my own mental health that I get this time every week to come down from Peak Mommy. And I can tell how important it is by how happy I am to see August when Adam brings him home. It’s only been a few hours since I dropped him off, but I have this overwhelming urge to snuggle him and kiss him. I truly miss him, and I’m refreshed enough to begin the week again and not feel like the next spoon that gets thrown overboard is going to send me into a rage spiral.
This past weekend, Adam and I went away for what will probably be out last weekend, just the two of us, for a long time. Every winter, we rent a house at Deep Creek Lake with a bunch of our friends for a long weekend. Some people go skiing or snowboarding, some people go hiking. We all eat a bunch of delicious meals together. We play games and goof off and we drink (or eat a million peanut m&ms, as I did this year). This was our fifth year in a row, and as always, it was an absolute blast.
One of the couples brought their adorable 16-month old little boy, and it made me miss August even more than usual. At night, when things would start to get rowdy (and by rowdy I mean a bunch of drunk friends competing in yoga poses) I was glad August was with his grandparents because I didn’t need to shush anyone and I could go to our room when I got tired and watch House of Cards. But during the day, I wished that August was with us to come along for a hike or to play in the snow or to cuddle up with in the house. The night before we headed home, I wasn’t at all sad to be ending our fun vacation; I was ready to get home to my little duck.
Getting to miss my son is one of the best gifts, because it reminds me, even when I don’t realize I need reminding, how happy my life is with him in it. It’s so easy to get bogged down day to day, because nothing stays clean and Chuggington is the worst and no, I really REALLY do not want to play cars right this minute. And a lot of nights, I am embarrassingly giddy as bedtime approaches. But being away reminds me that all the little things that drive me bananas are just that- little things. I still have the absolute privilege of spending my days with this little guy that lights up my whole heart like a Griswold house.
Today, as we pulled up to the grocery store (I BOUGHT SNACKS FOR THIS SNOW STORM) August told me he needed to give me a hug. I went to the backseat to unbuckle him, and he pulled me in, then told me, “I love your glasses, Mommy. And I love my eyes. They’re for seein’!” Who wouldn’t want to come home to that?