I am putting on my heels and hoping to get my groove on tomorrow night when I attend my elementary school’s annual May Friendship Dinner. Mommy has a night out! I am not cooking your dinner before I leave or schlepping you to a ball field. Dad is in charge – please direct “What’s for dinner?” questions that way.
Picture this. Going to a wedding venue with cloth napkins, great food, dancing and beverages plus the chance to win lovely baskets in the company of your girlfriends. Do I see a fist pump?
Tonight will be about the ladies. I met these women being someone’s mom, but tonight I am only Lynn. No griping tonight. Promise me we will not talk about the overcrowded parking lot – it has been that way since I restarted elementary school in 1996 – time to give it a rest. Tonight should be about having fun, laughing and “what happens at the Tides stays at the Tides.” The Real Housewives of Wyckoff are out tonight!
I am not being selfish. It is the one night to relax and reflect about the past school year. My school has a tradition of honoring the outgoing 5th grade moms with special recognition for their contributions to the school. Isn’t it nice that once in your anonymous years of volunteering someone will actually say thank you! I love this tradition. Some “graduating” mothers have lived in fear of what their resume would look like on this night. No fears – did you buy the gift wrap, send in paper plates for class parties, purchase the hot lunch, and donate bottled water to field day. Resume complete -- you were a contributor to the success of the PTO and we thank you for it. I hope you will come out to play!
It is important to take some time off for yourself; you the woman and not the mommy. It is not being selfish. It is recharging your battery. Doesn’t your cell phone need to sit quietly in a charger for some time in order to get thru the day? Aren’t you happy when it is fully charged and you are not frustrated because it is letting you down when you need it the most? Ok moms time to plug in and recharge.
I learned this valuable lesson from Kay Willis, mother of ten and best-selling author of Are We Having Fun Yet? The 16 Secrets of Happy Parenting. When I heard her “share” not ”lecture” her advice at a presentation it made complete sense and I became a believer.
The biggest piece of advice was “moms, you need to take time for yourself.” How could she possibly have a minute to spare –where did she find the time? Her words were simple “make the time.” She instructed us to do something we liked to do even if it was for only 15 minutes. She reminded us that we would be no fun to our family if we were cranky and stressed out. She gave you permission to read a magazine, get a manicure, sit quietly and enjoy your garden or meet a friend for coffee.
Celebrating my friend’s birthday the other day we admired the ladies at the next time table. Out of a brown bag came Pol Roger champagne (Winston Churchill’s favorite). How decadent at lunch! Eating their Thai food they toasted each other. Pardon me. “Is it a special occasion? ” “No” they replied, “just celebrating life.” Two women taking time for themselves!
In honor of Kay Willis, I will put on my lipstick, pop some Advil and dance with my girlfriends. I hope the dust babies enjoy their peace and quiet for one more day. Yes, I am taking time for myself and I hope you will too!