After I spent five minutes griping to one of my friends, who herself has three kids, she said to me, “What you mean is, you need a few days where you’re not a mom.”
I said, “Yes. Yes, that’s exactly it.”
It’s not going to happen, nor do I really want it to. I do have the occasional hours where I am “not a mom,” and I recharge during those. (For example, right now three of my kids are at school and the fourth is napping.)
I repeated this to another mother, who said she felt the same way, then asked, “What would you do?” And we decided we’d just stay home, relax, mentally gear down.
But on retrospect, I change my mind. I would go out. And here’s what I would do if I my husband took all four kids on a day-trip and I had no responsibilities whatsoever:
8:00 I would get up and have a quiet breakfast. Get a shower.
9:00 Head to daily Mass, and afterward pray the rosary in the silent church
9:45 Get in the car with my laptop, a book, my journal, and my knitting. Head to the nicest library I could find, locate a quiet corner with a window. Write in my novel. Write in my journal. Read for a while.
Noonish: Pack up and head out onto the streets. Wander until I find a place that serves food, and have lunch. Read while eating.
1:00 Wander the sidewalk and go into stores that have lots of small breakable objects. Pick up some of them to admire. Maybe even buy something.
2:00 Happen on a place that sells dessert of some variety, and buy one. Sit at a tiny table working on my novel. Eat the whole dessert.
3:00 Go home. Finish my daily prayers. Listen to music while taking care of odds and ends around the house. Answer some email.
4:30 Practice my violin
5:00 Get in the car and head to a restaurant that is fairly quiet to order dinner. Read during dinner.
(Have you noticed the theme here, the repetition of quiet? I think that’s the key.)
6:30 Head home and turn on a movie with poly-syllabic words in the dialogue and no singing animals; watch in the dark, curled up with a warm blanket. Enjoy glass of wine.
8:30 Write or read for a little longer, surf the web, head to bed by 10:30.
I would have a hedonism day. I would be totally irresponsible — or rather, not responsible for anyone else’s happiness. Oh those wild fantasies of the SAHM!
I understand these times are only temporary. I’m not wising for this to end. But sometimes, when I’m stressed, I try to remember what it was like back in college, where I didn’t have to feed anyone or mop up after anyone or think for anyone other than myself.
Gotta go now. It’s time to wake up the baby, pick up one kid from school, and drive him to a doctor’s appointment. Then race home to get the other two kids from the bus stop.
Do me a favor and sit quietly in the dark for about three minutes, in my honor. Okay?