An added bonus to those roles is that in the midst of them, it is sometimes hard to also be “husband” and “wife.” After eight years of parenting three little kids, my husband and I had reached a point where “alone time” felt like nothing more than a distant memory.
That was until one night, when my husband asked me a simple question.
“I have to go out of town next week,” he said. “Want to come with me?”
I looked up from cleaning a spilled dinner plate in total confusion.
“Huh?” I uttered.
“I'm going away overnight, and you can come with me if you'd like,” he repeated.
Still crouched on the floor, I looked upwards as my mind wandered to a happy place: a place that provided towels I didn't have to wash, room service and a night of uninterrupted sleep. It was almost too much to comprehend.
“Is that possible?” I asked him incredulously.
Clearly amused, he nodded.
“We will have to make some arrangements, but, yes, I think so.”
And with those words, I plummeted into a mommy conundrum. On one hand, I was ecstatic about having a quiet night. On the other, I felt guilty. As I looked at the three little faces sitting around the table, I couldn't help but wonder: Do I really have it in me to leave them overnight …?
I decided to let fate answer my question.
“Well, let's see if we can even find anyone to watch the kids before we get excited,” I finally responded to my husband. “Somehow, I doubt it's going to happen.”
I was wrong. Twenty-four hours, 10 text messages and two actual phone calls later, we had child care for two days and one night. After receiving confirmation, I sat and stared at my phone, dumbstruck.
“I am shocked,” I told my husband.
“Why?” he asked.
“I just never thought this would work out,” I responded.
“Well, looks like we’re off in a few days!” he said enthusiastically.
I looked over at my jovial husband, and unwittingly entered panic mode. I couldn’t even decide why I was worried — I had a lot of friends who went on trips without their children, and everyone was just fine in the end. Why would it be any different for me?
“Because you’ve never done it before,” my friend told me when I expressed my anxiety. “Totally natural.”
“I feel ridiculous,” I told her. “Here’s this great opportunity, and I’m afraid to go!”
“Well, maybe it isn’t fear, exactly,” she said easily. “Maybe you’re just not ready.”
I pondered her thoughts. It seemed impossible that a perpetually exhausted mother could ever “not be ready” for two days of relaxation. But even as I concluded I was being nonsensical, I knew she was right.
Next, I was going to have to break the news to my husband.
That night — with unprecedented eloquence — I hemmed, hawed, squirmed, fidgeted and pushed food around on my plate until my husband finally looked over at me with raised eyebrows.
“What is it?” he asked me.
“I can’t go,” I blurted out.
He paused for a beat and looked at me quizzically.
“I’m not ready to leave the kids overnight,” I admitted. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be weird. I’m just … not ready.”
To my relief, he smiled.
“No problem,” he said.
I returned the grin, and calm descended on me. Before I knew it, my husband had left for his trip, and it was just the kids and me.
I can’t say it wasn’t a wild night — there was a healthy dose of chaos. But I hugged my boys and tucked them in bed; and then I rocked my daughter to sleep as she ran her small fingers through my hair.
That’s when I knew for sure that, for right now, I had made a perfect decision.
This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel. Jill Adams blogs at http://lifewithoutbumperpads.blogspot.com.