Shortly after my second daughter was born, I remember sending a text message to my sister to say, “I’m headed to Costco. Without kids!” She wrote back: “If a trip to Costco feels like a vacation, you need a little more kid-free time.” And she was right.
What I thought with my first child is that a good mother, especially one who recently quit a perfectly good job to stay home and raise that child, shouldn’t need help doing her new “job.” After all, I never needed help doing my old job. Never mind that my job as an editor came with clear-cut duties, regular praise for a job well-done, and Cal/OSHA-guaranteed breaks. And no screaming baby spitting up all over my shoulder as I tried to complete my daily task list.
With a husband on the road a lot for his new job, and my determination to be the perfect mom, I quickly wore down in my new position as stay-at-home mom. It wasn’t just that I had too much pride to ask for help (although that’s probably true, too), but I didn’t have many people to ask.
By the time my second child was born, I had learned a little more about the value of a sane, rested mother. About that time, my mother retired, and my father and step-mother had some time slots open up in their hectic schedules. Now, when my husband is gone on a long business trip, I usually hit my mother up to visit for a few days to help out. And every Tuesday and Thursday morning my dad and step-mom watch the girls for a couple of hours so I can have some alone time. If only I’d known that first time around what a necessary luxury this kid-free time is. Well, that’s all I have time to write today. My Tuesday break is almost over, and I’m off to Costco. Kid-free.