Last weekend Rob and I did something we’ve never done before; we left our kids with my parents and we went away for a couple of nights. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it was momentous for us. And to be honest, it was a much needed and well-deserved trip. Now we didn’t trek across the rain forest in Costa Rica nor did we stroll down beautiful Panamanian beaches like we did in our pre-kids life together, but we managed to sneak away to Cincinnati which, to us, felt like quite a retreat.
Rob and I are super parents. All right, all right — we get that all parents will say they’re super parents. So maybe we are just mediocre, but we’re exceptionally overprotective. And for good reason. Lola and Sebastian are our life. We chose to bring their little souls into the world and we aren’t comfortable leaving them for lengthy periods of time with just anyone. Plus we don’t have family that live in the immediate vicinity which makes taking time for ourselves a bit challenging. We’ve been utilizing the Parent’s Night Out program through our local Easter Seals location on a monthly basis and that helps bring a bit of normalcy to our lives. But we’ll be the first to admit we were longing for an entire night to ourselves and for quite some time now. We love our kids, but loving them also means taking care of us. So when my parents offered to watch the kids while Rob and I went away for the evening, we eagerly jumped at the chance. What was originally going to be just one night turned into the entire weekend thanks to a bit of prodding from my mom.
We left in the early evening on Friday. It was a drive full of giddiness and excitement yet I’d be lying if I said we didn’t worry about our children and the sanity of my parents. But we were just a phone call and a short drive away so we trusted all would be well.
We booked our accommodations through the lodging site, Airbnb. I should have read up on Airbnb before we booked our stay because I didn’t quite realize that we would be staying in an apartment within the host’s home. It was a darling little space with well-thought out extras scattered throughout. It was clean (except the musky smell in the sheets), warm (except it was really kind of chilly) and inviting (now I swear it was indeed inviting). Was it the type of place I wanted to stay for a long weekend away from my kids? Not really. Would it have been a great lodging choice while I was in my early 20’s? Absolutely. It was cute, but it was in an old home and someone else’s stuff was everywhere. It felt like we were staying with a long distance relative or something. I thought I was just being caddy with my dislikes, however, my discontent skyrocketed when I heard the host, her husband and her two kids come home after an outing. I’m telling you people, we could hear everything. We heard the walking around the home, the running, the jumping, the laughing and we could especially hear the chatter of two tiny voices floating through vents and landing right in our new bedroom. I’ll admit I may have shed a few tears. It’s not that I don’t love the voices of children; it’s just that if I wanted to hear voices of two children, I would have stayed home and listened to my own. We decided to go out for beers and dinner. And while we enjoyed indulging in a kid free excursion, there was that looming feeling that our kid free excursion would soon end the second we walked back into that apartment.
We woke up early the next morning and without hesitation, we booked a hotel, packed our bags and scurried out the door and into our car. We never looked back. Now we aren’t fancy people with high standards of living, but it had been almost five years since we had a night to just ourselves so we happily paid the extra money to indulge in a stay at the Hyatt. And it was glorious. I have to say that I feel as if we finally began to relax when we switched accommodations. We ate, we shopped, we slept and we simply just sat in silence. No kids, no noise, no responsibilities. That second day was marvelous. It was what I had envisioned our trip would be and I’m so thankful we followed our instincts to take care of ourselves.
This weekend I realized that I am a warrior mother who will stop at nothing to do what’s right for my kids, yet when it comes to taking care of me, I am reluctant. Why is that? Why, as caregivers, are we so adamant about demanding the best for our children yet we are fine with putting up with mediocre for ourselves? I knew from the moment I walked into that apartment that it wasn’t where I wanted to be, yet I let feeling bad for the host get in the way of making a decision that would ultimately benefit my well-being. It’s preposterous. They didn’t coin the phrase, “Caring for the caregiver,” for no reason. I’m quite positive I’ll be a better mother when my body is rested, my mind is at peace and my soul is re-energized.
I also found that Rob and I need more time away together. I love my children, but it was pretty damn nice to be away from them for a couple of nights. Rob and I are on point every second of the day. Our kiddos are young and Lola has special needs, so our lives are busy. There are meals to make, baths to give, sleep to assist with, medications to be administered, appointments to be kept, therapies to be implemented and little souls to nourish with love. And those are just the basics for our children. Plus our parenting style is to be engaged with our kids. We like playing games, reading books, dancing, going on walks and taking them on adventures. It’s why we became parents in the first place and that is to be an active part of their lives, but I’m learning that it’s perfectly acceptable to love them and indulge in time away from them. The truth is that we are on constant vigilance for their safety and their well-being. Even when we are supposed to be resting our minds and bodies as we sleep, we do not. Lola is always near us because of her epilepsy which means we are light sleepers as a result of it. And Sebastian remains a toddler with horrible sleep habits which means, at some point during the night, he is sneaking into our room. We’re tired. We may always be. But we were so grateful for the opportunity to dine without little hands grabbing at our meals, shop without screams of displeasure filling the aisles, sleep without feet being shoved in our faces, and showers without tiny fingers ripping the curtain open all Psycho style. It felt good to just sit still, in silence, together. We can only hope my parents move to Indianapolis soon so we can take advantage of their babysitting once again. And believe me when I say we’re going straight for the Hyatt next time.