It was a moment of sheer exhaustion, my head was ringing with “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” as I was trying to prepare a quick dinner after work when my husband said, “Honey your birthday is just around the corner. What do you want this year?” I was about to turn thirty-seven.
It irritates me every time he asks this question because I think, “After a decade of marriage, can’t he come up with something that I will like without me having to spell it out?” But, this time I just said, “I would like to get away for a couple days, with my girlfriends and relax and not think about any responsibility.”
It is the first thing that came to my mind, but I never really thought of it as a possibility. I hadn’t spent even a night away from my one-year-old son and very few nights away from my seven-year-old. My dear husband said, “So, why don’t you? Let’s make it happen.” Much to my surprise less than a month later, we did. HE did.
I wanted to stay close to home just in case something happened. So, my husband helped me find a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains, a little over half an hour from our home with room enough for me and ten of my friends. He booked it before I could change my mind.
We planned a fantastic, guilt-free weekend of fun and relaxation. I invited ten girlfriends, a couple I hadn’t seen in years, several from work, and several mommy friends who needed this just as much as I did. We had a blast.
Sometimes no matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen each other, when you reconnect with old friends and talk, share experiences, it’s just as if no time has passed between you. I had one friend, who I hadn’t seen in almost twenty years show up, and a childhood friend who I hadn’t seen in about seven years. Each traveled a long way to be there and it wouldn’t have been the same if they hadn’t.
We spent the weekend eating shrimp, drinking wine, taking a dip in the hot tub, playing games, getting massages in our cabin, and even took in a little adventure. We went on a group zip-lining tour through the mountains. It was the biggest birthday celebration I’ve ever had and the most fun.
I needed this to reconnect with women, rediscover me, and be a better wife and mother when I returned home. My friends felt the same way. Everyone asked me to thank my husband for this gift he’d given us all.
I can’t say I didn’t think about the kids all weekend, but I only called home once to check on them. My husband said, “We’re fine, enjoy yourself.” When I returned home, they were all in one piece, seemed to have had a great time, and were extremely happy to see me. I felt very appreciated and loved.
I learned a valuable lesson on this girls’ weekend too. I need to devote more time to myself, not a whole weekend away from my family on a regular basis, but just making me a priority more often.
Take time to call a friend for lunch, meet for a pedicure, go for a walk, have dinner, whatever is relaxing for you. Remember that even though your husband might be your best friend, the person you share all your problems with, only another woman can truly understand what you’re going through.
It is healthy to have strong female friendships and to make time for yourself. Enjoy the little moments life has in store for us. Your friends might offer a little perspective, advice or a shoulder to cry on that you didn’t even know you needed.