Ever feel like you need a mom’s night off?
Y’know, just hand over the keys to *gestures broadly at everything* and get away? I’m willing to bet that just about anyone who responds to any version of the name “mama” is nodding a giant YES right now.
Lean in and let’s fantasize for a second: A night off from being a parent, a partner, a homemaker, a teacher, a cook, a maid, the list could continue, but you get the point. A night alone, in a big bed just for you, in a hotel suite with room service and all the television you could ever want. No worries about what your child is doing, if they’re OK, if they’ve eaten, if they need your attention. No trying to agree on something to watch with your partner after the little ones finally close their eyes for the night. Just you, and nobody else.
After almost two years into this motherhood thing, and after months of quarantining in our home from COVID-19, one especially stressful Wednesday, I declared a mom’s night off. The next day I checked into the fanciest hotel in town and self-medicated my mental exhaustion with only the best things in life: delicious food delivered to my door, champagne bubbling in my glass, and that big, huge hotel bed.
It. Was. Amazing. (For a while)
I was 10 stories into the sky and watched the sun set just after a lightning storm. I took selfies. I scrolled for way too long on social media. At one point I squealed, “I’m alone!” which felt both exhilarating and awkward.
At one point I squealed “I’m alone!” which felt both exhilarating and awkward.
See, I’ve valued my alone time my entire life. I need it. I crave it. And it’s hard to have when you’re married with a toddler. And lucky for me, my husband respected my decision to have a night off and understood it wasn’t anything personal. Because it wasn’t; I just needed to refuel my brain with “me” activities.
But as the night drew closer to a way-later-than-reasonable bedtime, it started to feel very lonely in that big hotel suite. The idea that I wasn’t at home to give my son his bath or have an end-of-the-day conversation with my husband on the couch bothered me. The hotel breakfast and sky-high sunrise view I was so excited about seemed too far away, and by the time I turned off the lights and laid in that big bed, I wanted to go home.
It was 1:30 in the morning when I packed up my things.
There I was, rushing to get back home, when only hours before I was relishing in my solitude and on my 2,567th consecutive episode of Blacklist. I didn’t even get to use the giant stone shower stall with the rain shower head I was so looking forward to. But it didn’t matter. I was literally only one mile from my home, but it felt like a thousand. When I got home, I crawled into my husband’s arms and let out a few tears. I missed him.
Why did this happen? Talk about throwing away money. Did I mention it was the fanciest hotel in town?
I do know this for a fact: Those few hours I had alone to decompress and not be responsible for a little person honestly felt amazing. But that fantasy I talked about earlier, well, is just that. A fantasy. It hit me that, as much as I sometimes miss the girl I used to be before becoming a mama, that sort of lifestyle isn’t really that appealing anymore. I realized I love having little hands reach up to me all day. I love splashing with my toddler in his bath before tucking him in at night. I love sharing a bed with my husband even if it means less leg room.
And I love being the person I am now, even if it means less alone time.