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Smelly Socks: Mama's Day Off

Oct. 17, 2013 at 5:17 a.m.


A few weeks ago, I officially asked my husband for a day off. Yes, you read that right. A day off for mama - a day off with no kids, no crumbs and no SpongeBob.

You see, as a mother who stays home with my boys all day, every day (and night), my work is round the clock, especially during the cold and flu season, and I don't officially get "vacation time" or "me time." So since Joe's niece, Mary, is getting married in a few weeks and I don't have a dress for the wedding, I decided that I was going to take a whole day off and go dress shopping while at the same time enjoying some quality time by myself with no little boys to keep looking after.

The day started out with me being awoken to the boys playing and screaming at each other. I then fixed them breakfast, fed the dogs and was out the door by 9:15 a.m.

Freedom.

No kids for the next eight hours or so. I took a drive to a mall that housed a Nordstrom, Macy's and Bloomingdales. The car radio played the songs from my phone that I wanted to listen to, not the ones the boys always like to hear, even though I will admit their taste in music is not that bad and ranges from Johnny Cash to Imagine Dragons, but still, it was nice to play what I wanted to hear.

When I got to the mall, I headed straight for Nordstrom - I figured if I can't find a dress there or at Macy's, then I'll be pure out of luck. I must have tried on about nine dresses and ended up buying three with the intent to later bring back the ones that don't work.

I then bought myself a coffee at the Nordstrom coffee shop and strolled down the open air mall. I walked into stores looking for dresses and not worrying about where my boys were and what racks they were hiding under.

The only "mama!" I heard was from other children hanging onto their moms or meandering behind them. I will admit that I did miss the boys a little bit and called them, only to hear that they were outside playing hockey and riding their bikes with the boys next door, and they didn't really have the time to talk to me "at that moment." OK, so maybe they didn't miss me that much.

I decided then to go on to Macy's, where I tried on another eight dresses and walked out with two. Of course, I'm not keeping them all. It's just easier for me to decide at home where I can take my time trying them on. Now, off to White House/Black Market, where another two dresses made my decision even more difficult.

By this time, I was getting increasingly hungry, so I went back to the Nordstrom Cafe, where I sat quietly by myself and had the best chicken, apple and goat cheese salad. I checked messages and Facebook on my phone while people watching at the same time. Was it the best because I didn't have to cut up someone else's lunch or fend off a spilled drink? Maybe, but either way, I was relaxed and a little shopped out, and my hunger pains were completely content. It was wonderful.

I had one more stop, and this was to spend some time at Barnes and Noble. Before Joe and I had the boys, we would frequently go to Barnes and Noble and sit on the couches reading magazines, perusing through books and sipping coffee. Once the boys came, those peaceful bookstore moments were history, so I was looking forward to enjoying some quality bookstore time.

After buying a coffee and picking up some magazines and a few books, I sat in the front window seat and read. Sometimes, I looked out the window, but mostly, I just got lost in the books. It was nice.

It was at this time, however that I was starting to miss my boys just a little. While I enjoyed the quiet time alone, I also remembered all those quiet times Joe and I would spend at the bookstore were also spent wishing that I had children to bring into this bookstore, just like the other parents I would see with kids. Only this time, I was happy knowing that mine were at home probably arguing about what to watch on TV.

Then my phone buzzed with a text from Joe with a, "We're running a little late, but we'll meet you at Maggiano's." I reply back with "Yay!!!!!" And I really did mean it.

Because, you see, as much as I love being by myself, I love being with my family more. Yes, they're messy; yes, they can be loud sometimes; and yes, they are boys. But, they are mine, and I wouldn't trade them for any of those quiet Barnes and Noble days from my past.

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at smellysocks@vicad.com.

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