If separated for any length of time, a mother should miss her children, worry about them relentlessly, and pine for the moment they’re all reunited. I’m sure that’s what reputable parenting magazines say, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, and my old neighbor Mommy Smarty Pants (we all know one, right?). So when I began feeling guilty and sad about leaving my children for the weekend, I knew I was a good mother.
Before we left, my youngest, Zack, had stood at the door with his lower lip quivering and his eyes moist. “Please don’t go, Mama,” he said. “Don’t go.” Kinda tears you up inside, doesn’t it? At that moment I didn’t think I’d last a day, let alone a weekend, away from my kids. But my husband had business in Boise and my mother-in-law had offered to baby-sit while we were away. A free hotel and childcare--how can any sane parent pass that up? As we pulled from the driveway I dotted the corners of my eyes with a tissue and took note of this noble mother moment.
It didn’t take long for me to perk up. In addition to having alone time with my husband, I had also orchestrated a scrapbooking marathon with my mom and sister. Having just moved to Boise, my sister had this cute little apartment perfect for, well, scrapbooking, what else? My mom had taken two days off to join us. By Mountain Home I was already imagining the wild days ahead: drinking caffeinated soda, singing out loud to 80’s music, and piecing together unexpected and crazy paper combinations. Partey!
When we got to Boise my husband asked, “Do you want to call and check on the kids?”
“The who?” I asked.
“The kids,” he said. “You know, our kids. Your kids. The offspring you carried in your womb for nearly two and a half years total?”
“Ooooh,” I said. “The kids. I’m sure they’re fine.”
For 67 hours it was mamma gone wild. I stayed up until one in the morning watching HGTV at the hotel. I slept past seven. I ate drive-thru from Sonic and drank a Route 44 all by myself. I made 26 scrapbook pages and watched 2 whole chick flicks and one entire episode of “Ghost Whisperer.” And I called my kids twice. Take that, Mommy Smarty Pants!
We pulled into our driveway at 4am on Sunday morning, and instead of checking on my kids (they were fine, really!) I went to my room and pulled the covers over my head. And I tried to look happy when they woke me up 2 and a half hours later. Two and a half days later I was still a little glum. And when I started to feel sad and guilty about that, I reminded myself that even good mommies can enjoy a break now and then. A break and a short walk on the wild side.