Two weeks! I was kidless for two weeks! I mean I taught other people's kids but I didn’t have my kids for two whole weeks. Now some of you may be thinking, I could never do that, I would miss them so much, and others may be saying to themselves that’s it, I send mine away for the whole summer. Before we get all judgy, there is no right or wrong, just hear me out.
I did a little bit of everything, I vacationed, I worked, I taught, I relaxed, I binge watched tv shows, read books, got my nails done, ate what I wanted when I wanted, didn’t have to think about prepping meals (cheese, crackers, salad, chips and wine are good for me) and honestly enjoyed every last second of it. Did I miss the kids? Absolutely! Do I know that they are off having the time of their lives? Absolutely! Do I worry about them? Not at all. I’m a firm believer in teaching them independence and that they need to go out and make mistakes, figure it out on their own, fall and get back up, and experience the world without me. And no, that doesn’t make me sad, that makes me so happy for them! My younger son even had to figure out how to get the fitted sheet on the top bunk (not easy even for me, but guess what? He did it) They are off meeting people from around the world, having to get themselves up for practices, making sure they sleep/eat/drink enough without mom telling them, etc... I can’t stress enough how good and important I think this is for them. Of course they will always be able to count on me, but they should also know 100% that they can count on themselves. I believe in them and their ability, I trust them and them knowing that gives them strength.
One week in, a friend asked me if I was bored without my kids at home. The answer…you guessed it, nope! I think she was a little shocked but I was filling my days and totally happy. I said “Maybe by the end of the second week I’ll be bored. I’ll let you know.” So here I sit waiting for everyone to get back, one tonight and one tomorrow, and you know what? I’m not bored. I may have had one day of like, “ok, what do I do now” but I wouldn’t say it was boredom. I feel refreshed, invigorated, energized, and honestly inspired to be a better mom. I was burnt out on momming. I honestly didn’t realize how burnt out I was until I had this break. The travel sports, the laundry, the driving, the bickering, the keeping of everyone's schedules, the social calendar of a teenager, the sleepovers, the meals, the snacks, ohhhh the snacks, it all wears on you. But right now I’m ready for it all, ready to make healthy meals, pack lunches, car pool, spend time with them, hear about their time away, adventure together and do all the things.
When I was on Broadway, (I realize I was very fortunate to have this luxury), but I would always take time off in between shows. Anywhere from 2-6 weeks. I know myself and I needed that down time. First, to heal my body, but also to allow myself the time to get bored. I wanted to do all the things I couldn’t do while in a show, then I needed time to get my apt etc in order, then I had to get bored. That downtime fuels me. I get an itch to get back into things, I get re-energized, re-inspired. Without it I start just going through the motions not fully present. I’m someone who will go go go rarely admitting burnout but once I give myself that break it all becomes so clear. Maybe it’s weird? I don’t know, but it’s me, always has been. Looking back on the parallel between then and now nothing has really changed. I’m a better dancer, performer, wife, mother, person once I have the chance to get bored. I’ve learned that when I feel the burnout setting in it’s best, for everyone’s sake, to go get bored and restore myself. I know it’s not easy to do, but if you ever have the opportunity to do it, promise me, actually promise yourself that you will jump on it, and then let me know how you feel.
Edited to add I got the sweetest text (see pic) from my younger son (who was actually off living his best life) the night before he was coming home which made it even more apparent that time away wasn’t just good for me, but good for him and everyone else too. I got word that he was an absolute pleasure: kind, respectful, polite, helpful, everything you hope to hear as a mom but never know. It made me so proud to know that and just reaffirmed my theory that trusting them and letting them fly, knowing they will return to the nest is always the right thing to do for me.