Moms Need Play Dates Too

After a fun, relaxing overnight stay at a nearby resort with friends last weekend, I’ve come away with two overall lessons:  vacations look good on me. And more is better.

Before I left for my weekend, I had the following conversation with Ava (9) and Rhys (4):

Ava:  “Mom, why are you going away?”

Me:  “So I can be a better mom.”

Ava:  “How will going away for a night make you a better mom?”

Me:  “When I spend time with my friends, I come back feeling relaxed and grateful for you and Rhys and Daddy. I want to model for you that moms get to do all kinds of fun things, with our kids, with our husbands, with our friends. When you have kids, I hope you’ll know it’s good to get away every now and then.

Rhys (looking up from her syrup-soaked waffle long enough to mutter):  “I’m staying home with my kids.”

Ava:  “I’m not! I’m gonna have play dates! Even mamas need play dates!”

Me:  “Exactly! Mamas need play dates too!”

Have I mentioned my kid is a genius?!

I loved my time away last weekend. Loved it so much I was afraid to come home, unwilling to let that vacation feeling evaporate so soon. One night is not enough – two may have been perfect. (I may even be willing to try for three in the near future, but don’t tell my kids or husband.)

My weekend vacay almost didn’t happen. Our babysitter cancelled on Friday evening. The giddy feeling I’d carried for days tanked immediately. I was pissed. And devastated to have my weekend plans in jeopardy.

True to form, I started going into martyr mode, saying to myself:  It’s fine, I’ll go another weekend. If I stay home, I can get stuff done around the house. I’ll relax here at home. I don’t mind. I’ll get a pedicure and it will be almost the same as going away to a spa for a night with friends.

My bullshit meter was off the charts.

My bullshit meter:  off the charts.

Thankfully, my sanity kicked in within a few minutes – likely because I recently wrote about my martyrdom tendencies and wasn’t willing to confess a relapse to you all. (You saved my soon-to-be-massaged ass!)

When my husband and my parents offered to change their plans and take care of the kids so I could go away, I thanked them and didn’t look back.

I felt really taken care of the entire time I was away. One of my friends chauffeured me around all day. Other than being a decent roommate, I had no responsibilities, no drinks/meals/snacks to fetch, no toys to clean up, no fighting bouts to referee. Bliss.

After a heaven-sent massage, giggle-rich meals and a soul-satisfying sleep, my friend drove me home.  I sat in the car in front of my house staring at the door, unwilling to transition into mom and wife mode.

“Don’t send me back in there,” I said. “I’m not ready. I don’t want any responsibilities for a few more weeks hours. I want to see my family, give them hugs and come back out.”

Is that wrong?

My friend offered to drive away and go to lunch instead. Tempting. But I knew I needed to go inside, face my family and re-enter my life. As I was pulling my suitcase out of the trunk, Ava ran out the front door and threw her arms around me, welcoming me home.

When I saw my husband and daughters, my heart melted. While I can’t say I really missed them while I was gone, I was happy and excited to see them, to be welcomed into the warm, inviting bosom of my family, my life.

Reality has its perks. And there are always more play dates.

44 thoughts on “Moms Need Play Dates Too

  1. Good for you, wish I would have had the same attitude when my kids were small, you keep it up, have a good time and no guilt.

  2. omg i think rhys is a genius, how fabulously she just knows how to throw around the guilt. honestly, beautifully done. haha.
    so glad you went and had a great time! we really do need our playdates. mommies are people too. :)

  3. OH this is just sooooooooo AWESOME!!! I think you experienced everything a mom can feel when she can actually get AWAY from it all… I am so proud of you and so happy for you!!!! Oh that feeling…angst…in entering back “in” to your world. I. Get. That. But once you cross the threshold, the love comes pouring out and it doesn’t seem so bad after all!

  4. Oh yes – I know the feeling well. I manage to get away maybe once a year to my friends. Last time I went to visit her in London we didn’t even leave her flat, just stayed in and gossiped. Lovely!

  5. I can count on one hand how many trips I’ve taken without kids in the ten years I’ve had them. Sure I miss them when I go away, but I never know when I’ll get another one! Glad you were able to get away.

  6. I’m so glad you had a good time. Good for your for getting away. I’m in the process of planning a little getaway with some friends myself. I’ve also been craving a little weekend away just by myself too. Is that too much???

    • Christine – Hi! I just found four of your recent comments in my spam folder. I’m so sorry I didn’t look sooner! I’m not sure why that happened but I hope to catch it before it happens again. Thank you for reading/commenting on my posts. I really appreciate it!

      And NO WAY is that too much! It’s inspiring! Go for it!

  7. Delightfully honest. I think we dads and kids don’t realize what a ringer we put moms through. Kind of makes us more aware that it makes a difference if we don’t lave our shoes out and clean up after we jack up a kitchen on wings night.

    Well done.

    • I love your term “delightfully honest!” Thank you! The shoes I can live with, the jacked up kitchen makes my head spin, but I’m learning to let go (and will keep learning as long as I take these mini getaways)!

  8. You so deserve that time. We are kind of taught that we don’t deserve the time away. That we should enjoy being at home, that it is a luxury. And it is all of those things.

    And yet.

    It is draining, too.

    So glad you took a little time to fill up your tank.

    Make it an annual thing.

    Mine happens starting tomorrow morning! Squeeeee!

  9. Well done, Mary – the great writing, as always and of course, well done on your weekend away – and I think you may have officially entered recovery from martyr mode. yay you!

  10. I’m going away for an overnight stay like this with some girlfriends the weekend of February 9. I need to go badly, and I’m also afraid of how hard it will be to come back. Just the idea of not having anyone spray bodily fluids on me for two days is so exciting I could cry.

  11. This is awesome and I totally agree: my mom play dates are some of the things that keep me sane. I’m so happy that you had a good getaway with your friends. Don’t wait too long before you book the next one, okay? :)

  12. Bravo on enjoying a night away. Sounds so fun and nourishing. I’m delighted you were able to say “yes” and take in a much-needed extended “play date.” Love you lots.

  13. Good for you! It’s great that you can enjoy the get away and the coming home. Btw, I don’t blame you for pausing before entering and wishing for a longer get away. Who wouldn’t? I get excited when I am home alone. Ahh quiet.

  14. I’m rarely alone for long stretches of time. I had a “playdate” scheduled with myself at a spa in the fall, but cancelled because of all the reasons any SAHM might cancel. I regret it deeply.

    I’m planning on a much needed mini break and can’t wait! Your post just reminded me how important it is!

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