Last night was my first Mommy Monday. It’s this new scheduling thing that my husband and I are trying out in an effort to minimize the murder/suicide risk in our home. Nah, it’s not really that bad. I love my husband unconditionally, but I find that we are moving at such a feverish pace these days that the stress just build and builds, bound to explode at some point. The other morning when I got to work, I found myself pondering, “Did I apologize yet to Tristan today? What bitchy thing did I do this morning that I must repent for?”
Stress makes me a bitch. And that was when I realized that we probably had too much of it and needed to make some adjustments.
We decided that each of us is going to get one night a week to go out and do whatever we want – to be alone with ourselves, no rules, no guilt. So, last night I left the house around 5:30, free to be me in all of my glory.
I started my night at Panera Bread, where the chocolate chips cookies are jumbo-size, the pumpkin lattes are flowing, and the Wifi is free. A perfect opportunity to get some writing done! Unfortunately, I chose a table next to what appeared to be the annual Maine Avon convention. I found it slightly hard to concentrate, what with all the passing of mascot teddy bears (that cost $9.95 to buy, but are sold for $19.95 ‘retail’), rounds of explosive laughter about rouge and mascara, and bursts of “I love my job because I get to help make people feel better about themselves!” I didn’t have it in me to ask them to pipe down, nor to break it to them that if I had to choose whether to solicit beauty advice from one of their group OR the “structurally challenged” man I passed at the intersection on the way there, I’d take my changes with the hobo.
Instead, I quickly ate my meal, packed my things and moved myself across the restaurant.
I carefully selected a new table and settled in with a fresh Pumpkin Spice latte. I selected this table because at first glance it appeared to be a safe little writer’s nook. To the right, a middle aged lady reading a book. To the left, a table void of its occupant but clearly being reserved with a purse and a MacBook. (Welcome to Maine, the only state where you can leave your valuables unattended in a busy restaurant and they will be right where you left them upon your return!)
Apparently you can’t judge a table by its MacBook. What I thought was another keep-to-themselves, writer/student/quiet type turned out to be two early-20-something women that were apparently using the free Wifi to stalk men on Facebook. After 20 minutes of “he is SO cute” and “let’s nickname him The Bad Boy!“, I couldn’t help but think to myself — Dear god, was I ever that lame when I was 22? (Answer: Undoubtedly, yes.)
I had accomplished nothing and needed to clear my mind. So, I packed up and decided to do some wandering across the parking lot to a local department store. I thought this was an appropriate use of “me” time, considering I would finally have the time to try on a bra without a toddler hanging off of my pant leg. Unfortunately, the undergarments happen to be right next – you guessed it – the baby clothes! After about 20 minutes of pawing through adorable Halloween onesies, it hit me: This was NOT an appropriate use of Mommy Monday.
It has been so long since I’ve been by truly alone, that I didn’t even know what to do with me.
It’s not that I’ve been attached to my child every waking minute for the past 10 months. Tristan is great with C, and we have no shortage of babysitters. We’ve traveled to Boston together, gone out to dinner and a movie, I flew to Minnesota for work, visited with a friend just after she had her baby… I’ve even gotten to take a few hour-long bubble baths. But many of my “free” moments have also included being with other people, meeting others expectations in some way, or are interrupted by crazy dogs (re: the bubble baths). I don’t think one moment of my free time has been only about me. And each moment has also come with “there’s somewhere else I should be right now” mom guilt.
It had been so long (too long) since I had thought, guilt free: What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? What do I want to eat? I had the entire night to myself to do whatever my heart desired, and I was pawing through racks of clearance Carter’s clothes. Seriously?
I threw in the towel and drove home. It was 7:30. Frustrated at my inability to accomplish anything or entertain myself in any way that didn’t involve me reminiscing about the time when C actually fit into newborn-sized closing, I locked myself in my bedroom with a glass of red wine. I turned on the air conditioner and an episode of Honey Boo Boo to drown out the muffled cries of my 10 month old and our little poodle mix, who both desperately wanted any of my “me” time that they could get.
I stayed there until bedtime, questioning what has happened to me. I still haven’t quite figured that out, but I’m trying to stay positive. Maybe next Monday will be better?