I was so excited for my trip that I am surprised I was even able to sleep the night before my departure.
Far more excited that I had expected, given it wasn’t a vacation to some tropical destination for some well-deserved R&R. Nor was it a trip to visit beloved family or dear friends.
No–it was a 48-hour (52 hours, counting the round-trip bus ride) journey back to me. A recalibration of sorts.
I had been invited to participate in a workshop in New York City and while I could have chosen to go back and forth from the city both days, I knew that it would be difficult for me to keep the focus on the program if I had to add the daily travel as well as mom stuff on top of it.
Parenting is like an all-inclusive destination in a really warped sort of way. Yes, meals are included. Only I am the one preparing them and, much of the time, responsible for the clean-up. Daily maid service? That’s me. Daily laundry? That’s me, too. Such a deal that motorized sports are included; yep, I’m the driver. On-Call Medical Assistance? Got that covered. And like all-inclusives, tipping seems to be prohibited here as well.
And for those parenting kids with special needs, of course, the demands on time are exponentially greater.
For me, this tunnel-focus on our kids is still relatively new. Having only left my full-time work as a pulpit rabbi 18 months ago, I am still adjusting to the loss of what was extremely fulfilling work.
I was determined, therefore, to take this opportunity and create a getaway that would serve to inspire me intellectually and soothe me emotionally and physically.
1. Accommodations. Not über-luxurious, but close to where I needed to be. Centrally-located. Clean and, for New York City, reasonably priced. Best of all, a big bed AND bathroom all to myself.
2. Keep it on the QT. I’ve got friends and family living in four of the five boroughs. Didn’t even tell them I was coming to town. Because I knew that I’d want to make time for all of them. But that’s not what this retreat was about; I needed the quiet. To spend time listening to me.
3. Food. This was easy. European breakfast was included with my room and lunch was provided at the workshop. That just left two dinners; deli and pizza. Perfect.
4. Pampering. I grabbed a mani/pedi on Sunday afternoon. There is just something about having my nails done that makes me feel confident. And since the girl doing my nails wasn’t much of a conversationalist, I was able to make some serious headway in my book.
5. Reading. I love to read and am a crazy voracious reader. But I have to find pockets of time in my already-packed schedule. This excursion afforded me hours of uninterrupted reading time.
6. Downton Abbey. This was just a bonus that I happened to find myself alone on the night of the season premiere of one of my favorite television shows. B’shert…
I spent my days being challenged as a writer and as a thinker. With the evenings spent writing without distraction.
The effects were visibly apparent. As soon as I walked back into my home, Warren noticed a change. This wife was confident. Relaxed. More me than he’d seen in a very long time.
And guess what? Everything that needed to get done is still here. No one is worse for the wear having gone two days without Mommy. In fact, things have been calmer now that a less-stressed, rejuvenated Mommy is on the scene.
Looks like a Mommy Retreat might just be the secret in keeping things on a more even keel around here.