Monday, July 2, 2007

Six reasons to opt for parental get-away bliss

By Karrie McAllister

Sometimes you just need to get away. Sometimes it’s good to step out of your real life and into the life of someone else, somewhere else, where besides the things you crammed into your suitcase, you have no real connection to your regular home life. No phone, no email, and for me this past weekend, no children.
I have always practiced “attachment parenting,” not so much by choice, but by instinct. Since my children were little, I couldn’t help but hold them and carry them and sleep with them and love them and basically never leave their sides.
And now, six years later, and I have finally unattached myself for more than 24 hours.
This statement, I’m sure, sounds ludicrous to some people. I know plenty of mothers – good, loving mothers – who have gone out of town and left their children for a number of days without packing a bag full of the big “G.”
Guilt.
But I was terrified that I would pack more guilt than clothes.
Of course I cried when we dropped them off at my parents, where I knew they would be well taken care of and spoiled, and probably fed cookies for breakfast and noodles for every other meal. But still, with a quivering chin and tearful eyes, we hugged goodbye.
I was the only one that cried, which made me cry even more. “Don’t they love me enough to get a little weepy?” I wondered. “What if they don’t miss me and I am in complete misery all weekend long and can’t enjoy my time away because I can’t stop wondering how much sleep they got and if my son ever changed his underwear?”
Thankfully, my get away wasn’t miserable at all. In fact, by the time we got to the airport, I was anything but. And traveling without them, for once, turned out to be quite a pleasant experience.
For anyone else in my situation feeling nervous about leaving your children for a few days, let me help ease the tension by providing you some of the lovely discoveries I made on my adventure, sans children.
1. It is much easier to pack for one than it is three, and when the children aren’t with you, you can leave the toys at home. An added bonus is that you won’t forget half of your own things like you normally do because you don’t have your children begging you to please pack all of his or her favorite clothes and every single pair of socks they own.
2. Your carry-on will be considerably lighter, if not non-existent. Instead of the back-breaking bag I usually use when traveling with kids, on my trip without them I took only my purse and a book; a book I actually read while on the airplane. It was amazing! I had forgotten that people are in fact able to read a book while on an airplane.
3. While sleeping away from your children, you are not woken up by anyone sitting on your head, tapping your face, or saying in an ever so obnoxious tone, “wake up, mommy, it’s morning.”
4. Eating out becomes an entirely new adventure. Without small chicken-tender-eating people in tow, you no longer have to choose restaurants based on how much their kid meals cost and whether or not they give you three crayons and a paper placemat when you arrive. And suddenly the options are endless! Dining at a sushi bar or upscale eatery are no longer pipe dreams…they actually come true.
5. While visiting the hotel pool without your children, you don’t actually have to go swimming. You can (I can barely say this without smiling) actually lay on a lounge chair and finish the book you started reading on the plane.
And finally, 6. Coming home to smiling faces, who despite the fact they’ve eaten 4 pounds of noodles, are still going strong. They hug you with all their might and say “I missed you mommy.”
And you tell a little fib and say, “I missed you too.”

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