Many, many years ago, I had a teacher tell a classroom of adults that when you are asked about yourself, don’t say, “My name is Amy and I am a mother of two beautiful daughters,” as it doesn’t actually tell anyone about who you are. I was 19 at the time, and the words this smart and successful woman spoke have stuck with me since then.
I am a woman who also happens to be a mother. And while being a mother obviously influences who I am as a person, it is not my defining identity. Rewarding, sure. Hard as f$ck, absolutely. So there needs to be a balance. I need time for me. I want to miss my kids and long for my husband. I want to wear a bra that doesn’t clip in the front and wear a silk blouse without fear of snot all over the shoulder. I want to eat dinner in a dark restaurant at 10 o’clock at night after too many bubbles and not worry about what I might feel like in the morning. I want to sleep through the night. These are the champagne dreams of all parents, yes?
And in one week I will be doing just that and more for the first time since our youngest was born last June. And I’m excited….Nervous, but excited.
I am going with three of my best friends on what promises to be an unforgettable few days in Paris. Leave on Wednesday return on Monday whirlwind trip of Veuve Cliquot, pain au chocolat and cheese. Such a short time, but just think about how much four women without children can accomplish! It’s the mathematical equivalent to a week long holiday with your family (but with less tantrums and longer nights).
And I know there will be tears into my champagne while I sit in the airport lounge as the thought of actually leaving my kids tugs at my heartstrings, BUT, it is a short time and a small sacrifice to allow myself the space to focus on my needs. It’s basically the sisterhood of the travelling breast pump.
My husband is hugely supportive of this fact and realizes that after back to back pregnancies and matleaves my time and energy is focused outward on the family: big picture right down to the mundane hateful tasks of laundry and wiping down highchairs. There is little time for me. I just hope he remembers that when he is flying solo through a toddler tornado – love you, babe!
In a conversation with another friend, she told me that she didn’t feel the need to get away from her family. I couldn’t agree more. I am not trying to get away from my family, but rather spend some time on me which ultimately can only serve us all better. I want my kids to grow up independent of both my husband and I and have feel secure that while they may miss us, we are always there. And I need to let go of some of the control and let my husband do things his way (until I get back and put things back to the right way). And he needs to have that time with the kids like I do. See? This trip is 100% necessary to our emotional development as a family.
Between now and departure I am happily planning what I’m going to pack and what book to read on the flight. I’m delighted to be carelessly responsible for myself and one piece of luggage (peace out stroller, carrier and diaper bag). And In the days before I’ll stock the fridge, pump milk and do the laundry, because I’m a woman who happens to be a mom, and somebody has to remember that we need milk.