My little family does a lot together. My husband and I don’t typically go out much without our son. Fortunately, we enjoy many of the same things and each other. I’m usually happiest when we are together.
However, from time to time my husband and I need some time to ourselves. Recently we were preparing to go away for a long weekend with another couple. We’d rented a little cabin and planned to do some snowmobiling. Our son was not thrilled with being excluded. He got sad and moppy and I felt sad and guilty. I knew we would leave and he would be fine. I knew we were entitled to go. I knew it was all going to be fine. But still…
I tried to explain to him that even though one of the best parts of our lives was our roles as mom and dad, but sometimes mom and dad needed to remember they were still Michelle and Steve. Sometimes as a parent it is easy to see yourself only in that one role. It can be all-encompassing. Your role as a parent can factor into decisions in every other area. Sometimes you lose sight of who you were before becoming the center of a little person’s world. You forget what it feels like to only think about what makes you happy.
So despite a few tears, he headed to school and we headed to the Northwoods. I’m not an out of sight out of mind mom, sometimes I wish I were. We were happily eating chicken wings in a cozy log cabin bar when I watched the time on my phone close in on the promised after school Facetime. My heart sank a little as my call attempts failed. The reception was non-existent and I hoped he’d understand. I knew he would be fine, so I let myself go back to being Michelle.
We rode, we ate, we drank, we hung out with friends. We had fun. Not because we didn’t have our kid with us, but because we had a chance to just be us for a bit. I’m typically falling asleep on the couch around 11 but managed to still be having fun at 2:30 in the morning. I drank more and laughed more than I had in a very long time. It was good. It reminded me of fun memories created twenty years ago when life was more carefree than it is today.
It wasn’t just the break from momming that made it fun. It was not being a business owner, not being a housekeeper, not being a cook, not being in charge of the PTA. I didn’t have laundry to do or a dog to feed. I had nothing to do but relax. We all deserve that for a day or two once in a while.
When we returned our son asked me “Did you have fun without me?” His tone stung a little. My response, “Yes we had fun, but it wasn’t because you weren’t there. It was because I was there.”
For anyone else who sometimes feels like they’re not sure who they are or struggles to find that person they used to be, I hope you find a way to carve out some time. Let some of those roles you play sit unattended for a few days. After you shed some of that responsibility you will hopefully rediscover yourself. I bet you’re pretty fun.