We Real Women often talk about and dream about escaping from reality. Getting away, have time to ourselves. To take some time to stop caring for everyone else, and give ourselves a little time out. Books have been written extolling the virtues, even the necessity, of stepping away to get back in touch with who we are. A few years ago, when I was working my way through my own personal mid-life crisis, I read Joan Anderson’s “A Weekend to Change Your Life.” Although I felt her encouragement to escape regularly to a beach for self-contemplation was not necessarily realistic, she did make good points about taking breaks to not lose our own sense of self.
That said, I do believe that getting away, no matter where, is healthy and necessary. In a busy R.W.’s life, this doesn’t happen often….and that’s ok, as long as it does happen sometimes. There is something somewhat amazing and decadent feeling to an R.W. to have something as simple as a hotel room to herself. Even if it happens because of a work obligation.
I have never had to travel extensively for work, and I’m glad for that. I have never had to feel like I live out of a suitcase, or spend more days away from home than in home – and that suits me just fine. Once in a while, though, a bit of travel pops up. Right now is one of those times – I’m away from my family for three nights/four days. My guys are back home fending for themselves. I will be working hard, but tonight, as I sit in my jammies on a big bed all to myself, I’m feeling a bit spoiled and special. I do miss them. And by day three, I’ll be more than ready to head home.
We R.W.’s are not especially good at letting go well enough to truly relax on our own. We worry about what’s going on at home. Let’s face it, we don’t think they can survive without us. But guess what, they are quite capable…. really….they are. It has taken some time, but I have dispelled some of the great R.W. Myths of Being Away:
- They will starve on their own. I still make sure there are HungryMan dinners in the freezer, I make a meal or two ahead of time for them, I leave restaurant coupons out for them – and usually they never need any of it. Lo and behold, they know how to make food for themselves.
- They will fight without me there to referee. We R.W.’s play interference on a regular basis between sibling children, even between the kids and our spouses. We worry they will be miserable without our presence. Miraculously, they get along just fine.
- School work will be forgotten, or the bus will be missed, or the dog will not get fed, or….. We may be the primary taskmaster and timekeeper in the house, but without us there, the other inhabitants are surprisingly capable of following directions and reading clocks.
- The house will be a total mess when I get back. You’ve taught them well, and they’ve grown accustomed to having a clean environment. Sure, the dishwasher won’t get emptied, the beds won’t be made in military fashion, and there will likely be a pile of dirty laundry waiting, but the house won’t look like it needs to be condemned. Besides, they are too scared by your potential reaction if they haven’t picked up after themselves by the time you get back.
The irony of course is that while we are away and irrationally worrying about them, they are doing the same about us. I know darn well what they are thinking, and I can assure them that while I’m away, I will not become a wild party woman and dance drunk on tables (I’m far too old and tired for that nonsense), I will not fall in love with some dark stranger in a bar (I can’t keep up with the men in my life now, why would I want to add another), I will not leave my door unlocked and invite in a burglar (I’m far too emotionally attached to my laptop and Kindle), and I will not become more enamored with life on the road than life at home (I crave my own bed, family and routines too much for that.)
So these occasional getaways are good for us all. We R.W.’s get in touch with who we are when we are not playing the role of mom and wife, and we prove to ourselves, and our families, that we will all endure our time away from each other. By the end of our travels, we are happy to return home to our loved ones.
But in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy only having to get myself up and moving in the morning, matching the room’s climate control to my comfort level and hot flashes, having the tv remote all to myself, and feeling pampered by a nightly turndown service. It’s going to be a struggle….. but I’ll survive.