As I write this, my neck and shoulders are relaxed and I’m feeling like a large weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I hit a wall last week and cried out for a break. My husband heard my SOS loud and clear, and asked me if I minded him making arrangements for me to go away for a night. My answer? Absolutely not (one less thing for me to take care of)!
My husband was so secretive that the suspense would normally drive my crazy…if I hadn’t been so darn tired. We drove out to the Philly area to sign paperwork for our new place, took a leisurely spin around IKEA, and then my husband handed me this brochure he made:
I’m not a fan of crying in public, but this made me lose it. I honestly thought that my husband was just going to drop me off at a hotel for the evening, which was completely fine with me. I can only imagine what the people in the crowded IKEA cafeteria were thinking, seeing a grown woman a blubbering mess — a happily blubbering mess.
After lunch, we hit the road so that I could get to the hotel around 3pm. Lancaster is halfway between where we currently live and where we’re moving, so it was a convenient drop-off. I lived in Lancaster while attending university, so I was familiar with the area where I was going to be staying. In an interesting turn, I actually found our wedding photographer after seeing the beautiful photography he did for this particular hotel’s opening several years ago (Tony Gibble Photography, if you’re in the area). The hotel? An amazing boutique hotel called, Cork Factory Hotel.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of pictures from my 24 hour MOMcation — I was truly taking a break. I did think to take a couple of photos with my phone just before I left, so they’re not the best quality. As the name suggests, the hotel is located in a renovated factory in Lancaster. Huge rooms, lofty ceilings with exposed beams, the accommodations were lovely.
I’m not going to put on a brave face, I’ll be honest, it took everything I had to hold back my tears as I walked away from my husband and Declan, and into the hotel to check in. I had not been away from Declan for longer than 4-6 hours (and only a handful of times at that) since he was born over 19 months ago. I’m the type of mom that misses their kiddo(s) a couple of hours after they’re in bed (Declan goes to bed at 6:30pm, so I typically start missing him around 9pm!). My husband and myself take Declan on dates with us and prefer to do things as a family, so this was incredibly difficult for me.
As soon as I closed the door to my room I had a good cry. I headed in to take a long, hot shower, continuing to cry throughout. I was experiencing a multitude of feelings and emotions at that point: selfishness, relief, fatigue, peace — you name it, I ran through it! I came out of the shower, donned my pjs and robe at 4pm in the evening, cracked open one of the sparkling waters my husband had in the room for me, and crawled into bed with a book. I thought for sure that I would be asleep in no time, but I was just too excited about my ‘me’ time. I read for a couple of hours, and then ordered food from the restaurant on premise (Cork & Cap Restaurant).
I would love to say that my evening was super exciting, but the reality is that I sat Indian-style in bed, munching on a beet salad and crab dip, watching the Olympics and wishing that my husband was there beside me. It was really one of those moments when I reflected on how caught up in our daily lives and being parents my husband and myself are. I made a mental note to tell my husband that we needed to munch on crab dip while watching television in bed sometime soon. It really is about the little things, and my momcation helped me realize that.
My husband had scheduled spa services for me the next day, beginning at noon, allowing me to have a respectable lie-in. I’m sure you know how that worked out — I popped up, wide-awake at the usual time, unable to go back to sleep. After a late breakfast, I headed to the spa. Plum Salon & Spa is located in the same complex as the hotel, so it was easy for me to walk over after checking out of the hotel.
Amazing, just amazing. My husband had booked a massage and facial for me and I soaked up every minute of it. I think I might be happy for the rest of my days if the only gifts I ever received from my husband were spa packages!
Why am I sharing this intimate time? Because we all need a break sometime, but we rarely plan these moments for ourselves, blaming lack of time or feelings of guilt for not taking action. Self care involves taking care of our own needs first, so that we are able to care for others. Here I sit, days later, still feeling revitalized and having a great deal more patience with my toddler. It works, it really works!
I also think that the opportunity to have some distance, literal and figurative distance, is wonderfully helpful and healing. Mired in the day-to-day, literally stuck in the house [with these snowstorms], it’s difficult to have the necessary distance to take stock of things. I am so unbelievably grateful to have had this time, this amazing break, and plan to make myself take ‘me’ time away at intervals. I’m already planning on when my next MOMcation will be…
Have you ever taken a MOMcation? Where did you go? What did you do? What do you do to take care of YOU?