Saturday, January 31, 2009

Do Mommies Ever Get a Vacation?

This is a question that has been on my mind the past few weeks, among a few others. But the more I mull it over in my mind, the more irritated I get, and the more certain I am that the answer is an unequivocal, "No." Don't get me wrong, I do love being a mom, and especially a stay-at-home mom. My kids amaze me, crack me up, infuriate me, and make me melt all in a single day. They are such wonderful little beings, and I am blessed that I am able to stay home with them and witness the everyday miracles and accomplishments that they experience.

But, seriously, when do I get to clock out? Just for a few hours...or even a weekend?

I do not envy working moms. I know that it has got to be impossible to get it all done when you are trying to work outside the home, and then come home and try to take care of kids, get something to eat, keep the house from looking like a bomb went off, and squeeze in a little sleep. I know that many women need to work outside of the house, for their own sanity, and because they really love their jobs. I commend these women. I am fortunate to have chosen a career which is not technologically or economically driven, and should be fairly easy for me to re-enter in a few years when my kids are in school. As a licensed social worker and therapist, there are almost always job openings. And one can usually find a job with as few or as many hours as you are willing to work. So I don't feel the pressure to get back in the race, lest I be rendered obsolete after being out of the workforce for too long. But I completely understand the need for adult interaction, and the mental stimulation that non-mommy work can bring. I frequently feel like my brain has become a completely useless organ, incapable of even completing a sentence. I am getting better about trying to keep up with the world, reading news publications and discussing things with Alex when he gets home. But there are some days where I feel like I exist in a vacuum of goldfish and chocolate milk, and my new friends are Handy Manny and Dora.

I have been fortunate enough to have had a part-time nanny for the past 2 years so that when I do need to go to a doctors appointment or get some major grocery shopping done, I do not have to worry about snacks and drinks and where the nearest bathroom is in case of a potty emergency. Since we don't have any family close by to help out with these things, she has been an absolute lifesaver for me. So I do get to have some peace and quiet. But while this has been a huge help for me, I don't always feel like it gives me a true break. Most days I make my list of the 5 or more places I need to go, and I am out the door for 4 hours trying to get everything done. It feels like a race against time, one that I can never win. And with being pregnant, I have had more difficulty getting a lot done in one afternoon because my body tells me it is time to sit down for while. So the past month or two, I have been better at trying to stop and have a cup of coffee and relax for 20 minutes before moving on the the next round of errands. However, as we are cutting back on everything in these economically difficult times, we are also cutting back on the amount of help we are able to afford. I will still have help one day a week, but am also feeling the pressure to try to squeeze as much as I can into those 6 hours so that the rest of the week I am not dragging my kids all over creation. And on top of all the kid-related stuff, there is the cooking, cleaning, laundry, dog, various appointments, and house maintenance that all need daily attention and effort.

Now I know that I signed up for all of this when I had kids and decided to stay home, but I have a feeling that even if I was working outside of the home, "my" responsibilities around the house would be pretty much the same. Now to my husband's credit, he is willing to help out whenever I ask him to do something for me. But there is not a spontaneous jumping in to help out when he gets home from work. He expects to have time to relax when he gets home. He doesn't understand why I can't fall asleep at night even though I may be physically and emotionally exhausted. The thought that I am lying in the dark thinking of all of the things that I did not get done that day and how I am going to fit them in the next day is something he finds very difficult to relate to, as he can fall asleep in about 3 seconds. Snoring. Dead to the world. I am very envious of this ability. Even when I do fall asleep, more often than not my work continues through the night. Even though my kids are no longer infants I am up with one or both of them many nights. And when there is any kind of illness or teething, forget sleeping altogether.

So back to my question after all of this rambling. How come mommies never get a vacation? The last time I was truly on a vacation without kids was almost 2 years ago for our 5th anniversary. But even that was 2 nights at the Borgata in Atlantic City, not a true vacation where you actually have time to relax and sleep and enjoy the blissful silence. I have not had one of those since I was pregnant with Georgia, over 4 years ago. Because even when we go on vacation, I am still mommy, and still need to cook, bathe, play, clean up, get up in the middle of the night, and do all the other things that I do at home. I frequently threaten to go check into a hotel for a couple of days by myself. I don't care where it is. It could be the Holiday Inn a couple of miles from here, but at least it would be just me in a room with no one asking anything of me. Just 48 hours of peace and quiet. Just thinking about it right now, I have a smile on my face. But I feel like there are always a million things going on that prevent me from taking such a hiatus from motherhood. I mean, I have an amazing bathtub which I have used once in the 18 months we have lived in this house. And that was only because I needed an oatmeal bath for some insanely itchy dry skin. Even right now the next 3 weekends are totally consumed with birthdays, family visits, and other obligations. I do try to take time for myself, even if it is just 30 minutes reading a book while the kids are upstairs napping or resting. But rarely is that 30 minutes not interrupted by a crying child, the laundry buzzer, or the dog needing to go out. And it is so difficult to sit down, when there are 10 things that need to get done and are staring you in the face.

Hopefully, I will find some way to take a break before this next one comes along, and the work gets cranked up another notch. I would love to know what any other moms do, or any suggestions people have to help get away from it all. Any and all information is welcome......

No comments:

Post a Comment