It happens at some point for every mom and it was happening for me today, one and a half months before he would turn the big oh-two: the first trip away from my baby.
I’m a journalist and editor, so it’s been easy to find reasons to work from home over the past few years, scrambling to squeeze every workable second out of naps, evenings, and weekends—but when a press trip came up for Ann Arbor and my first choice writer couldn’t make the dates, I considered whether it was perhaps time to get back into the game and go myself—a mom’s getaway.
My husband saw it that way too. “I’ll take off a few days and we’ll do some concentrated boy hangs.” He winked. The path was clear for a mommy break and I decided to just do it.
Secure your own safety mask first.
I’m of the opinion that moms need to be extra mindful of our own needs and desires. We aren’t just conduits to fulfilling our children’s immediate and long-term goals, we need to be role models to them. Empty, fragile shells can’t be looked up to and emulated, so we need to grow and thrive—occasionally prioritizing our own mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing—in order to be the best we can be to our little ones and our families.
So, here I am, typing this at 30,000 feet. My laptop bag has no diapers in it. No bottles of milky-water, no emergency organic tetra-paks, no signs of being a mom at all, in fact, save for one tiny red toy truck that I left in my purse as a reminder that my little darling was waiting for mommy back home…
I miss my family. They seem so far away. I feel guilty for being here and I haven’t even landed yet. I wonder if this was a good decision.
It’s five days later and I’m sipping a coffee at Detroit Metro Airport with another journalist on the trip. She’s from Montreal and after 60 plus hours of eating twelve course meals twice a day, accompanied by many beautiful wines, yummy cocktails, wandering about the beautiful town of Ann Arbor and seeing Judy Collins play The Ark—it feels safe to say that we’re friends. We talk about how great it would be to meet up again on another press trip and in the moment I want to. I really do. But I miss my baby—and my husband. She leaves to catch her flight and I walk slowly towards my gate, trudging bags laden with prezzies for my family that I couldn’t resist along the way—from trinkets to t-shirts—to be handed out amid a million kisses.
I know I’ll do this again. Not right away, perhaps. But I need to hold onto this feeling: I’m invigorated and self-aware. I’ve shopped without constraints, experienced the singular bliss of eating a meal and being able to fully focus on it with no distraction. I’ve had conversations about all manner of non-baby-related things—both superficial and intellectual. I’ve slept alone for four nights and been woken by an alarm clock instead of a small voice calling out for me.
I have remembered that I exist as a totally separate and distinct person from the people I love. Realized that—particularly as the mother of a young boy—I need to be whole to present a great female model to him, to be seen as someone who is complete and fulfilled next to him, instead of a peripheral figure, enveloped completely in his development, totally subservient to his happiness.
Hoping to return to this beautiful place again with my family, I step onto the plane and relax into a window seat. I am a mom, a wife, and an independent person with a raft of experiences, both lived and left to live: the future is wide open.
Where to go on your Mom’s Getaway
Holiday Inn Ann Arbor
Cherry Republic Ann Arbor
Chill Out (Drink)
Get Some Local Culture
Gerald R. Ford Library
Museum of Natural History
University of Michigan Stadium/Big House
Grown-up Arts & Crafts
Music & Theater Lovers
Shop ‘til You Drop
From vintage to boutique clothing, record shops to galleries, artisanal goods, random gift stores and Michigan University hoorah paraphenalia—it’s hard to call out my faves. Just hit the main streets downtown and wear good walking shoes .