Does it get any better than this?
Take this sand dune, add five close friends, who live within five miles of each other and haven’t finished a single conversation with one another in five years…likely on account of the 11 young kids they raise between them.
Add absolutely NO agenda, except an hour for each of us with an extraordinarily talented massage therapist, armed with strong hands, orthopedic guidance and a lovely collection of life stories.
Add some awesome food & drink, including a local sandwich shop with serious flair (not to mention adorably cute owners).
This was a girls weekend of the very best kind. Two days, no kids, no laundry. Minimal planning (once the date was finally set amid business trips, bachelor parties, tennis matches, St. Patty’s day parades, etc.), traveling and cooking, although we learned that a pretty sweet margarita can emerge from dumping these three ingredients in a pitcher:
Despite our best intentions, there was no exercise. Except us exercising a weekend of freedom – decadently sharing stories and laughter, napping at leisure and learning more about each other than we ever could in the hushed whispers of toddler music classes, the chaos of preschool pick-ups and drop-offs and the distracted moments of playdates.
My friends have some adorable traditions with their kids: Carrie plays Go-Fish with her daughter over lunch every day and when she is away from her girls, she slips each of them a quarter to pocket and cherish until she comes home. Natalie rhymes excessively with her three, especially to help them remembers things, like their home address.
We love being moms. But we agree it is hard. We doubt ourselves endlessly. We feel guilty for not being as accomplished/relaxed/ disciplined/impulsive/creative/organized/tidy/put-together/environmentally-friendly/caffeine-free/WHATEVER as we imagine other mothers are, for not measuring up to those voices in our heads, which may or may not be the accurate expectations of our mothers/sisters/fathers/husbands.
Though we found we were hilariously different from each other in some ways, we ALL want to always have a clean kitchen counter ALL of the time AND also be game to drop everything, any time of the day, to lie on the floor and play legos with our kids. And some of us really hate playing legos. No matter what we choose, it seems we can’t fit it all in – that we often feel we are choosing a load of laundry over our kids, or kids over husbands, everything over ourselves. In feeling stretched-thin and worn, we sometimes get angry at our kids, when they are the farthest thing from the real problem. We hate yelling at our kids even more than we hate playing legos.
As if she was lounging with us over Ten Sandwiches, my sister Kim chimed in on a Saturday morning Facebook post, with this nugget from Sassy Radish (I don’t know who this is either, but I like giving credit): ”[I]f we had a friend who doubted us as much as we, at times, doubt ourselves, we wouldn’t even speak to that person… Who wants to be friends with someone who undermines and second-guesses her?”
I have long considered my sisters to be one of my life’s greatest blessings (mom and dad, you too…and of course, THEM). Thankfully, in my mommy life, I can add to the list the many friends I have who rarely doubt or judge me, who champion me against the voices in my head. Some of them never even read this blog, but still, I know, they believe in it a hundred percent.
One of us (NOT ME) had never been apart from her children overnight. In convincing her to join us (and threatening to kidnap her if she didn’t), we repeated a few philosophies you should tell your brain (or anyone else questioning you) when planning kid-free time:
- We cannot teach kids how to take excellent care of themselves if we do not take excellent care of ourselves.
- What better example of friendship can we model than by making time for our friends and our friendships.
- This is good for everyone – obviously for the moms, but also good for the kids to feel independent, to know that other adults love them and can take care of them, that they can be safe and have fun (and even fall asleep) without their moms. And good for the husbands to take a turn at 48 hours alone with the kids.
- It’s only hard until you walk out the door. The minute you’re gone, you’re wondering if you can extend your stay.
While we were gone, everyone at home survived. Go figure. Elizabeth marched in her St. Patrick’s Day parade without her mom at her side. One took a nap on the couch, one didn’t nap at all. Noah, the recent graduate of Nana Bonnie’s Esteemed Potty Training School did pee through three pairs of pants in ten minutes, though he did sleep through the night for the first time in a month. One dad made his kids a lovely lunch of grilled turkey burgers and green Thin Mint smoothies, another had a steak dinner awaiting his wife’s arrival home.
On the reading list: Still Alice (Lisa Genova), Talk Nerdy To Me (Vicki “The Only Thing Hotter Than Naughty Talk is Nerdy Talk” Lewis), and Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids (Bryan Caplan)… Reviews forthcoming if they are any good, not many pages turned this weekend.
On the screen: We watched half of The Help. It was a good half. Someday we will see the rest.
On the nightstands: My sister Kim has also taught me the importance of the weekend swag bag. I skipped the bags, but left a few indulgences for my guests: a fun magazine, Vitamin-Schtick chapstick, H20 and a jar filled with a favorite treat all dolled up with a fancy knob (jar tutorial coming tomorrow).
The weekend went way too quickly but we’ll do it again. How could we not?