Even When You’re a Mom…You’ve Got to Find Time for Fun

When I mentioned to my three younger sisters that I was going to New Orleans with my best friend Shannon, my sister Mallory said, with what I took as genuine concern in her voice, “You know New Orleans is…fun…right???”

To which I responded, “Um…yea…that is why I am going…with Shannon.”

And she replied, “Right…but like…I mean…it’s actually fun…and Shannon goes to music festivals and stuff…”

I am not entirely sure what her concern was tied to, after all my PARENTS have been to New Orleans and back in the day, I was the queen of fun. In fact my 20s were a whole lot of fun, a ton of bar tabs put on credit cards and a tiny bit of sleep.

Okay fine, in the past year, perhaps I’ve had a STRONG affinity for yoga pants and sweats…which may be only surpassed by my even stronger affinity for being in bed by 10pm on a Friday night. And as much as I enjoy wrestling with a four-year-old every. single. time. I need to wash her hair, I was willing to entertain the idea of a mini-holiday.

And by entertain the idea of, I mean Shannon became as forceful as she ever becomes about anything and pretty much made all of the plans, needing only my consent to join and for me to book my plane ticket. Any excuse I came up with was effectively addressed…“But I am on a really tight budget”…”No worries, me too. We will stay at an Air B&B”…”Um I’m not sure those dates will work”…”Okay…let me know dates that will work.” 

You get the picture…Shannon was not taking no for an answer, and for that, I am incredibly grateful. And as the trip grew closer I started to realize a few things:

  1. I really do not get out of my house enough. Working from home combined with single motherhood compounded by a very snowy winter means I have been left unsupervised for extremely long amounts of time – giving me ample opportunity to be all up in my head. And really, that is not good for anyone.
  2. A couple days before I left for the 5-day trip I started to become incredibly panicky about leaving Ellie. We spend a ton of one-on-one time together. And although I fall more and more in love with being a Mom every day, the more panicked I got at the thought of not sleeping under the same roof as her, the more I realized it was needed. If you want to read my tips for easing your toddler’s anxiety when you travel, sign up for my newsletter!
  3. I love to travel. I love it. I’ve always love it. I studied in London for a semester in college and had a great time visiting Florence, Rome, Venice, Paris, Bath and Dublin… just to name a few. I love going to new places, talking to new people as much as I enjoy going back to the same familiar places year after year.
  4. Everyone needs a Shannon (this will be a chapter title in my forthcoming book). Everyone needs someone who can say, “Ya know what, you need a break…” and then is generous enough with their time (and patience) to make that trip happen.
  5. Just the IDEA of breaking up the monotony of my daily/weekly/monthly routine was enough to perk me up.

So we went…and we did have…fun!

I like to refer to our New Orleans trip as time travel back to our 20s. We wondered around aimlessly, drank while the sun was out, attracted interesting characters who challenged me to an arm wrestle, and discussed what’s next in life for both of us.

Okay fine, back in the day, that fun would not have ended until 3 or 4am, and on this trip we were in bed much earlier. But regardless of our retiring earlier than we had a decade prior, the trip made me realize how incredibly important it is to have small moments in time where you can eat wherever you feel like eating and wander wherever you feel like wandering, and talk about whatever you feel like talking about.

And the talking…well in my opinion…the talking is where the magic in life happens.

It should come as no surprise to any one who knows me, that I’m a firm believer in the “say it out loud” theory of problem solving.

Back in the day, when there was breaking news and I was sitting in a control room surrounded by about 15 people and on a headset without about 10 more, the moment I said what the issue or need was out loud – we were one step closer to solving it or getting it on the air. To be fair, sometimes that process came with debate, and sometimes that debate was curse-filled. But all of that aside, I became incredibly comfortable with the collaborative process. More than comfortable with it, I think I am pretty much enamored with it. And even though much has changed in my life, this trip reminded me that talking through things is my Zen Sandbox. Every thing I’d pondered alone in my head and spun around for hours on end in the past few months, was a hell of a lot lighter the moment I said it out loud.

The parameters of the fun may have changed, but the fun was..well…fun nonetheless. I came back with some excellent and inspired ideas for this blog, some great memories…and with my arms aching to hug my 4-year-old.