I will admit that I am not the best day-to-day when it comes to balancing my free time, what little I have. When the weekend rolls around, you will find me doing this or that with my daughter and rarely spending those precious hours off with girlfriends. I know, I need to get over it. I’m a person too. I know, I know, but yet, for me it’s just been hard to do that. Sometimes I just forget that there was this person before who wasn’t overly concerned about all the things that take over, big and small, when you grow up and aren’t responsible just for yourself anymore.
The evolution of friendships, especially with people I’ve known much of my life, has been tough at times for me. You go from having everything in common, to less or nothing in common depending on how life goes. You may have talked all the time or went out together constantly and then you have very little idea what’s even going on in their life anymore if it’s not on Facebook. Even if your lives go on parallel paths, you may just get busy and grow apart. It happens. Life, careers, other things just start to take over and it all changes.
Much like date nights if you are in a relationship, taking off for a couple of days with a good friend just puts you back in touch with you and lets you reconnect with someone who is important to you. You aren’t just the “Mom” you. You are the fun you. The friend you. The you that doesn’t want to scream when your little miracle loses her mind over the wrong tv show being on. The you who isn’t constantly counting to three in an increasingly threatening and authoritative voice. The you other than the Mom you is in there and it is good to see her again.
This hit home for me recently as I left for a “40 and Fierce Girls Getaway” to New Orleans with a woman who has been my best friend since we were 12 (thank you to my wonderful and understanding husband). For two days the only thing I need to worry about is where we’re going to eat and when it’s cocktail hour. We’re not going all “Real Housewives” getaway crazy. No one is throwing drinks or running off crying or twirling into the night (I hope). Really, it’s more about hitting the refresh button and getting a much needed little break with someone who makes me laugh until my sides hurt, who I have always been able to be myself around and just relax.
Taking a time out to just be you and not be the in-house chauffer, bedtime and bath enforcer, dinner dynamo, and de facto cleaning lady, is just good for the soul and for the spirit. Quality time with a good friend reminds you of the person you were before you were a girlfriend, a wife, a professional, or a mother. Ok, maybe you would rather just be reminded of how far you’ve come since those earlier days (we’ll just chalk it up to many teachable moments, right?). It is also pretty nice to let someone else fight the bedtime battle or figure out what’s for dinner, just for a little while, and just focus on yourself.
Having that time just for you gives you the capacity to dive back in with renewed energy to handle the demands of the every day. I guarantee I will feel less worn down when my daughter gets irrationally upset over things like not being able to say goodnight to the chickens at the school behind our house or not having the right nightgown clean. I will be less annoyed at work when I am asked yet again to deliver a report on something I’ve already reported on (Office Space TPS reports, anyone?). I will not want to lose it when my husband leaves dirty clothes on the floor mere inches from an empty clothes hamper. These trips aren’t just good for me. They make me a better mom and wife. Everyone wins, really.
All that said, I wouldn’t want to stay away for long. In fact, I miss my husband and daughter already. I know when I board that plane on Saturday I will be ready and raring to dive back in to life as I know it with the job, the child, the responsibilities, the love. But just not today. Today, I think I will start planning where we’re going to hear music on Frenchman Street tonight and where I can find myself a good plate of red beans and rice, with a glass or two of wine. Let the girls getaway commence. Real life can wait for just a little while and I’ll be better all around for it.