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MidAge Mom is for women who are parenting in midlife rather than celebrating the empty nest on a beach in Bali . . .

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Mom’s Great Escape

Many of us midlife moms spent years on our own before having families.

We had plenty of time alone, sometimes too much. Did I really spend all those hours sipping cappuccino in cafes?

Now as rare as gold, even the most mundane solo ventures feel memorable.

Below is a brief description of one from two years ago. About to embark again, I’m wondering if I should skip the cheese and baguette this time. Probably not. Some rituals are too sacred to tamper with. . .

Taking a Time-Out

After the mad mommy month of May, it’s finally June and I’m about to make my great escape.

Here’s the plan.

Saturday, after dropping my daughter at camp in North Carolina and exploring the local area enough to say I did it, I will go the Green Market and buy one crusty baguette and a big slab of muenster cheese.

These items are crucial to my plan. I only eat them when I am away alone and can justify them as cheap, French-style, on-the-road eats. I’ll also buy some fruit.

Then I’ll head back to the Hampton Inn. Okay, it’s not the Ritz. But I love the Hampton Inn. Why? Because I love the Hampton Inn’s bedding.

Alone, I’ll bathe, savoring complete and uninterrupted access to the toiletries I fought my daughter for the night before.

After the bath, I’ll put my feet up and pop “It’s Complicated” into my laptop.

For a good two hours, I’ll eat more muenster cheese than I’ve eaten since I dropped my daughter at camp and watched “Frost v. Nixon” a year ago.

I’ll pretend that I have the Meryl Streep character’s gourmet cooking skills. I’ll imagine life in her kitchen, mornings in her sleepwear. I’ll fantasize that I, too, could run a bakery and never get fat.

Will I feel guilty about the cheese and baguette? No.

Alone Again Naturally

For I once visited New York. I went to a conference. I saw a friend. I walked in Central Park.

But what I remember best is the baguette, cheese and incredible olives from Fairway Market that I ate – feet on the table, book in my lap – in the hotel room all by myself.

This is the stuff some mommy memories are made of.

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Is there a special time you spend alone as a mom? What do you do? What would you like to do? Please share by commenting below!

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3 Responses to “Mom’s Great Escape”

  • Rose:

    I was thinking this morning how truly absence makes the heart grow fonder.

    The first time I left my son for three days was May 2011 to go to a conference. Although it was only a two-hour drive away, I had decided to spend all three nights at the conference city instead of driving back and forth. It was time for Marius to be weaned–he was three years and four months old and so attached to the breast that I felt it was time.

    The first night I couldn’t sleep–alone in a big bed, the quiet reigning supreme outside the open window. And there I was crying because I missed him so. But I had a wonderful time at the conference, lunching and dining out, hanging out with old and new found colleagues. I felt different.

    Six months later, Marius chastised me: “Remember, when you left me and went to that conference. You missed me.” He meant I missed you, but I think he was right: I had missed him, too. And yet, this is real life. We cannot always be together, but when we do get back with people we love, then the love is even more intense. This is a lesson he has to learn, like we all have.

    Now, my husband and son will be leaving for the States in a few days and will stay there for three and a half weeks. At first I couldn’t wait: to just have the house to myself, to tidy up and clean and have things stay that way for more than 10 minutes; to just take in the smells and sounds of summer in Greece; to be able finally to do my writing, uninterrupted from morning till night; to take long baths in the tub.

    Now, as the day of their departure is nearing, I know I will miss my boy sorely. I will not be able to sleep for the first night, I know that. He will probably wake up in Grandma’s house in the middle of the night and ask for me. A couple of weeks ago he was sitting with me on the couch and I saw his lips turn down, he was ready to cry. I asked him what was wrong. He said: “When I am in America, I will miss this house.” I asked him if he would miss me, and he immdediately said “No!” This denial is his way of coping, for sure. But then we talked about all the wonderful things he would see and do, and all the wonderful things we would do together when he came back. Change of this nature should be a time of thrill and anticipation, not sadness. I am telling this to myself, primarily, and hope that Marius will learn from my example.

    We do not need the time away from each other–but we need to know we love each other even from a distance. And enjoy the beautiful things that happen between separation and reunion.

  • JenniferHull:

    What a lovely comment! So thoughtful.
    I think three weeks with the house to yourself will be a shock at first! But I love your attitude about teaching your son about separation and reunion through your own example. I’ve never thought about it that way. Interesting, too, about how he is trying to get his head around his own feelings by putting words in your mouth!

    So many of these feelings change with time. The first year my older daughter went to sleepaway camp for three weeks, I thought it would be an eternity. This year was her fifth at camp and, having learned how quickly it passes, I immediately dove into some projects in her absence (cleaned my closet after many years!)

    As for mother and child reunions – they are so great! One of the best feelings in the world!

    Enjoy your alone time – if you can adjust to it!

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