Oreo Mission

I drag my kids to the grocery store all of the time, especially Vivian who is not in school. Buying food each week goes with the territory of being at home with the kids. Lately I have been sick of the grocery store. Shopping and decision-making has felt like a chore because I have been in a food rut. Going up and down the same aisles, buying and cooking the same meals. Blah. Blah.

Over the weekend I decided to make a change, and I pulled a recipe from my recipe box. I felt a little better while I shopped on Sunday afternoon. I pushed the overloaded, heavy cart to the check-out without as much loathing because of the new ingredients I placed on the conveyor belt. The chicken and basil and penne pasta and sun-dried tomato dressing lifted my spirits. The promise of a new meal in the lineup.

This afternoon after picking up Vivian from a friend’s house, I asked her what she’d like to do before it was time to pick up Lance from school. She said, “I’d like to stop at Wegman’s and buy Oreos.” I hesitated because this request was out of the blue and something I have never done. And then I thought, Why yes let’s stop at Wegman’s and buy Oreos. “And milk,” she added and started singing, Milk and cookies, milk and cookies yummy in my tummy, an old Kindermusik ballad.

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10 reasons why moms need a girls weekend

This post is the final installment of banter about my recent girls weekend in NYC. If you missed the first three, you can read them here: NYC Part 1: Feeding my soul, NYC Part 2: Round metal Ray-bans, NYC Part 3: Staten Island.

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Before I made the decision to go on a girls weekend to NYC with three of my girlfriends, I had to justify the trip in my mind. What was I seeking? Why was it important? Did I deserve to go on this trip and leave my husband and kids behind for three days?

The answers I came up with were simple:

1. Freedom-filled fun with other young moms who understand this phase of life.

2. Because everyone deserves a break even, and especially, moms with small children that depend on them 24-7.

3. Heck yeah! I work hard and hard work deserves a reward.

My day job as a stay-at-home-mom of preschool age children involves all the joys and rigors that come with raising babies. I am the one who gets to hug and kiss my kids all day long, who picks them up when no one else will do, who is the recipient of their smiles when they learn something new, and who they run to when they need help.

In that same breath, I am the one who gets frustrated when things don’t go right, who loses sleep when they are sick, who loses patience when they defy me, who tires from using my shirt as a dish towel for sticky hands and snot when necessary, who breaks up fights, and who receives little to no daily affirmation that I am doing things “right” or appreciation for my hardest efforts.

When I returned home after the trip, I gained a much deeper sense about why moms need a girls weekend. Here are 10 reasons:*

  1. To know that your old self is still in there. Taking a trip with longtime friends will remind you that you haven’t lost that younger, carefree version of yourself. Every mom needs personal time to uncover all the added layers motherhood piles onto our being. I started the trip with make-up and a nice outfit.
  2. To learn and pursue a personal interest. Even though I spend a lot of time learning and reading about motherhood and parenting, I still have other interests. Writing and photography are two of them. On the bus ride into the city, I re-read my camera manual and played around with the different settings. Once in the city, I took one of the mornings to tour the NYC Public Library on 5th Ave and 42nd street. Boom! I felt alive!

    Entrance of a photography exhibit at the NYC Public Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd street.

    Entrance of a photography exhibit at the NYC Public Library at 5th Avenue and 42nd street. The exhibit featured the evolution of photography over time. From old black and whites to digital media, photography has always been social.

  3. To get a break from your kids and give them a break from you. You will be pleasantly surprised when you do not have to put anyone in time-out or wipe a butt during girls weekend. In turn, your kids will get away with things at home that you might normally put the kibosh on. Good for them. Let’s face it kids are sanity-suckers at times. Taking a trip with girlfriends will remind you that adult conversation centered around fashion, art, music, books, food, and nightlife still exists. IMG_1242
  4. To reconnect with old friends. It was so refreshing to reminisce with my friends about childhood and college days as the stress from daily life fell to the bar floor ground. In the process, we made new memories on top of all the old ones. Traversing through new territory and laughing all the way with your best friends is a dream.IMG_1533
  5. To revel in freedom from responsibilities. In other words, not be in charge. It is tiresome making the decisions for one, two, or three plus kids all day long. Add on the pressure of constant demands (e.g. hunger, thirst, hygiene) and by the end of the day you’re likely in a tailspin. The hardest choice I had to make on the trip was choosing between red wine and white wine at dinner. And even that wasn’t hard because I let the waiter decide based on what I was eating.
  6. To silence your to-do list. This is a big one for many of us. Life is busy and practically every waking moment is devoted to some kind of chore on top of taking care of the kids. Laundry, housework, pets, hobbies, bills – it is exhausting! On girls weekend you don’t have to constantly look at the clock and think about what you have to get done next. Decisions made on a whim result is a delightful reminder that to-dos don’t have to rule your life.

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    Trying on a fancy dress at Prada wasn’t exactly on my to-do list, but what a treat!

  7. To give your mental health a boost. Three months after both my children were born, I experienced an array of postpartum difficulties that eventually forced me to seek medical attention. After I bounced back I was able to see clearly the importance of mental health. No matter what struggles women face postpartum, I think we can all agree that a tired and sick Mommy is of no use to her babies. Some may call taking a girls weekend trip selfish or unwarranted in this junction of life, but I call it necessary. Not doing so and not taking care of ourselves is all part of the downward spiral many of us end up facing.
  8. To realize you aren’t indispensable. No one can take care of your kids as good as you can, but others can take care of them for a few days and they will be just fine. Trust me. Your kids will even grow from the experience, too, and actually enjoy a little distance from the person who lays down the law all of the time.  Don’t carry around a warrior badge of honor with you that says you have to do everything. Because you don’t. Outsource the responsibility once in a while. I am still learning this and thank goodness for that.
  9. To gain support from other women and moms. A girls weekend will put your mind at ease reminding you that others share similar struggles. Sometimes merely listening to another mom speak is soothing. Being away reminded me not to sweat the small stuff and laugh at some of my mom blunders that caused me unrest at one time. I coined the trip a Mom Conference (of sorts). I enjoyed hearing some of my friends new and happy motherhood moments, as well as exchanging a few parenting ideas and tips. It was also fun to forget about motherhood entirely and just be a women. I took the diapers out of my purse, painted my nails red, enjoyed an adult beverage at lunch, had my hair done, and lingered over two-hour dinners with out someone spilling something on me. It was heavenly. And liberating. And I felt so wild. Ha! IMG_1530
  10. To gain a new perspective when you come home. People joke about how moms feel like their babies are little appendages. It’s true, yet we are BIG appendages for them and they truly see us as a vessel to carry out their needs. When I came home, it was joyful for me to see them waiting for me at the bus stop all happy and smiley. They looked so little and so big all at the same time. I loved looking into their eyes and hearing about what they did. And to my surprise, they were equally curious about what I did and looked through my pictures with interest. That felt pretty good. I had a new sense of patience for their needs and the realization that as they get older I want them to see glimpses of me that have absolutely nothing to do with them. Becoming a mom is an identity shift. Maintaining the balance of you as a person and you as a mom is so important.

That said, please keep these reasons in mind and encourage yourself to take a trip so you can reconnect with your old self. You’ll be glad you did. I came home with the notion that I work harder than I give myself credit for, that I am still an interesting person, that my mommy instincts are strong, and that the rest will fall into place. All too often women become plagued with guilt about leaving their kids – stay-at-home-moms and working moms – but I’ll advocate for anyone: Take some leave and feed your soul on a trip with some good friends.

On my last morning in the city I got a massage. At the end of the massage the therapist simply said, “Welcome to the new you.” She couldn’t have been more right.

Please share this post with other moms who might benefit from the information. Don’t let time and money get in the way. We chose NYC – it’s kind of tradition – and I save up for it in between trips, but you can go anywhere and there are so many ways to cut costs. The key is putting it on the calendar.

Planning a girls weekend or just got back from one? Where would/did you go? What others important reasons do other moms need to hear about going on a girls weekend?

I’d love to hear from you.

Happy trails!

 *(Note: Most of my reasons involve the view-point of a stay-at-home mom with pre-school age children, but I did solicit the opinions of my three friends who went on the trip with me. Two are working moms, one with a school age child, and the third is a stay-at-home-mom  like me).

List of Seven on Sunday 4.7: CHALLENGE

1. Newsworthy —

The kids and I spent a few days at the beach last week while hubby traveled for work.

This is a picture I accidentally took of myself. Don’t I look thoughtful? And possibly about to say something prophethic?

I’m pretty sure the only thing I was thinking  and propheting about was, My it certainly is cold and windy out here on the shore! One should wear a hat!

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Then I wondered where all the people were. Then I reminded myself it was a cool day in February. Then I ran haphazardly up and down the shore pushing Vivian in the baby jogger willing her to take a nap so I could sit in the sand  on my butt in my jeans and inappropriate-for-the-beach footwear.

But then she didn’t fall asleep. And then Lance, fully clothed, got wetter than wet in the sand and surf. Then I couldn’t see for a while because my hair was ferociously blowing in my face and becoming a huge mass of tangled tendrils.

So basically, just another great day at the beach!

2. Personal progress —

Well.

I was on a three-day running streak – and when I say ‘three days’ that means a Tuesday, a Thursday, and then the following Tuesday because T, TH are my designated running days – but then I had to break the streak and go to the beach.

Priorities people!

I am holding myself accountable to hop back on the wagon soon as I think spring and look for events to keep me focused. I’m not trying to break any records, but I do miss the routine of a modest running regime.

3. Writer’s world —

I continually feel more writing challenges coming my way!

4. Photo of the week —

Vivian’s first lollipop lick was not exactly my idea, but when I caught Lance doing this the other day, I surrendered. After all he did share.

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More proof that the second child gets to do things sooner than the first child did. Chalk up a sugar win for Vivi.

5. Picture-less moment —

And there I was. On Tuesday afternoon. With 244 miles separating me and my current location from my destination. A toddler, a baby, and a pug dog in tow. A lone Mama warrior on the open road. Car filled with kid crap.

There are some challenges that are simply not meant to be photographed.

Puke, flying dog hair, and spilled milk among them.

But the relaxation of “being away” that ensues once you’ve met the challenges of the open road and reached your destination? Hands down, worth every mile of effort.

That was, until I had to make the same trip in the opposite direction back home. The lone Mama warrior arose again.

My travelin’ days just ain’t what they used to be. 

6. Parenting thought —

I continually feel more writing parenting challenges coming my way!

(I’m short on brain cells today so I had to reuse my sentence from number three, which was already pretty vague, but all those gusty beach winds took a lot out of me!).

7. Humor —

In closing, this one is for anyone else looking to accomplish big things this month.

(Minimal brain cells required).

A 30-Day Challenge (you’ll actually finish) from Pleated Jeans.

  1. Put off something important
  2. Don’t clean your bathroom
  3. Feel socially awkward
  4. Waste time on the Internet
  5. Draw a picture of an invisible werewolf
  6. Lay in bed for awhile
  7. Doubt yourself
  8. Waste time on the Internet
  9. Eat a food
  10. Wear some clothes
  11. Complain about something to someone
  12. Waste time on the Internet
  13. Fap
  14. Go for a long walk… to the couch
  15. Waste time on the Internet
  16. Look at a picture of cats online
  17. Skip social event to stay home
  18. Sit on something
  19. Make a list of things to do, then don’t do them
  20. Waste time on the Internet
  21. Think about how awesome tacos are
  22. Read a word
  23. Use a bathroom (any bathroom!)
  24. Waste time on the Internet
  25. Feel sleepy
  26. Eat too many potato chips
  27. Waste time on the Internet
  28. Be jealous of someone
  29. Breathe some air
  30. Waste time on the Internet

I’m so glad I could help you achieve numbers 4, 8, 12, 15, 20, 24, 27, and 30. Number 22 (among others) is a bonus. You are welcome.

I’m off to accomplish #26.

Have great week,

The Banter Lady