A Weekend BY MYSELF

Well, here I am. Sitting in bed, noodling around on the computer.  The house is quiet except for the purr of my cat, Bob, sitting next to me.  No one to feed, no one to pick up or drop off, no one to comfort or discipline or praise or referee. I'm alone. For those of you who don't have kids, this likely seems pretty mundane.  For those of you who have small children - this is INCREDIBLE!  My husband was out of town working for eight long weeks and his gift to me is that he took our 4 and 7 year old kids away to San Diego for the weekend. This is my first alone time in SEVEN YEARS.  I have to say that again. My first alone time in SEVEN YEARS.  I'm not proud of that.  It's not healthy at all, but living far from family and always moving around, the opportunity has never arisen.  Once I went somewhere with Rene for four days and that was pretty wild and wonderful to be a couple without kids. We had a ball.  Other than that's it's been togetherness to the max. So I thought I'd chronicle my journey of three nights alone in our LA apartment.  Here goes: Thursday, November 1 1:30pm - Rene packs up the van and I burst into tears as I'm saying goodbye. As I'm crying I have no idea why I'm so emotional.  I've been quite excited of the upcoming alone time, but when it's time to go, I get very sentimental about being away from them.  I LOVE my family and want them to come back home SAFE and SOUND.  What's that you say? I'm not in control?  Even when I am with them I'm not in control? Oh, well then I guess I'll just say a prayer and send them on their merry way.  The kids are stoked!!! 3:30pm - After they leave, I dry my tears and head off to Hollywood for a voice over audition.  As I'm driving I feel great. I feel liberated that can go anywhere I want! After the audition I decide to eat drive-through fast food (something I never do with my children) and drive around neighborhoods looking at amazing houses (also something I would never do with my kids in tow). 6:30pm - I get home and it really hits me they're gone. I can do whatever I want!!!  What do I do? NOTHING. I put on my pj's and lay around in bed watching stupid TV.  My cat Bob loves this idea and takes advantage of lots of petting he hasn't had since I was a NYC bachelorette.  Bob has been with me 15 years, and he remembers when there as no Rene, Rosey, or Mateo.  I think Bob needed this weekend too. I make a call and get a spontaneous dinner plan with my friend Dana.  We go to a nice Italian restaurant in our neighborhood and talk for a long time.  There's a part of me that still feels like I'm forgetting to do something... Like someone needs me to get home or pick something up for them.  Of course that's not the case.  It's just Sarah Jane.  Pretty crazy!  It was so fun to have an impromptu dinner out... Friday, November 2 5:00am - I wake up early as usual and pull my laptop onto the bed.  One thing I don't get to do when my family is here is be a work-a-holic.  I take great pride in my goal to balance work and family, but as any of you who own your own business know, there's SO much to do!  So I worked and worked and worked and worked until I realized that I needed to eat.  So I go in the kitchen and eat a cupcake and milk for breakfast.  I'm a wild woman at this point!  Then I sugar crashed and start falling alseep at the computer.  Some turkey breast from the fridge fixes me right up, and I'm ready to go again.  I had a meeting with a business consultant and all morning Rene gave me text updates that they were having a BALL at Seaworld.  Rosey rode the new rollercoaster, Manta, three times!  It felt amazing that the world was going on without me. Everyone was happy and well.  Wait a minute, I am not the center of my family's universe? Well, that's actually quite a weight of my shoulders.  I love that the kids can love their mama and NEED their mama, but when I'm not there, the are happy and well adjusted.  That also speaks to the involvement of Rene, the best daddy in the world. 4:00pm - By late afternoon, I have had my fill of work and need to get out into the world.  I go to the Century City Mall and wander... I go in random stores, try things on, spend lots of time looking.  There's no one to whine, or pull on my shirt to leave, or hide inside the clothes racks, or beg for ice cream before dinner, or need to go to the bathroom at inopportune times.  Just me and MY needs, MY interests, MY time.  I'm starting to get the hang of this! For a moment I wonder if this is how it starts when mothers abandon their families.  Do they get a taste of this and decide they can't GIVE anymore? Oh no! What if I enjoy this too much and then a year from now I'm out partying every night and going to Phish concerts with a bunch of single friends and I screw up my kids for life and then they'll spend years in psychotherapy talking about how I was a selfish mother!!!! Wait - It's ok for me to enjoy just being me.  It's okay for me to have time alone.  It's healthy that I don't spend 18 years losing sight of my own needs.  I need to put on my oxygen mask first! It's okay.  And with that, I went to a hip restaurant for dinner and ate almost a whole bowl of guacamole by myself while reading a magazine.   When it was time to go home I swung by Target, just because I could.  Wandering the aisles of Target is a special little "happy place" for me.  As I snuggled into bed, I felt very content, and I felt more like myself that I had in years.  Sarah Jane was emerging. Nice. Saturday November 3 9:00am - I met a friend for breakfast to catch up and also talk about a school event I'm helping with.  By now I'm feeling fresh and new. I have an ease in my energy that I haven't felt for a long time. That ease really made me see what the responsibility of children can do to a person's nerves.  The constant responsibility for other human beings takes it toll!  It felt like someone removed a weight off my chest and I felt lighter and softer.  I like the woman I am right now! This is the fun, creative, nicely groomed, energized Sarah Jane rather than the frazzled, overwhelmed, crazy woman I sometimes feel like.  Ahhh... 11:00am - After I get home from breakfast, I feel great.  I get lots of work done.  It's tedious inventory work that  I've never gotten around to because it takes lots time and quiet thinking that my work-from-home mom life doesn't easily allow for.  I work all day and totally forget to eat.  Good thing there are some leftover chips and salsa in the fridge! I'm back to my single girl eating habits.  Not a good thing.  Note to self: having to feed your kids at regular intervals forces you to eat better.  Finally as evening rolls around I get a text from my friend, Jason, and he says he can get me in to a concert he's doing in Los Feliz.  Because I'm able to be so spontaneous, I say YES!  My friend Sunita goes with me and we had a great time.  Of course when Rene is home he's always happy to hang with the kids while I do social things like that, but there's something different about that.  I felt more free than ever. 12 midnight - I get home and realize as I'm going to bed that I can't wait to see my babies.  I'm actually starting to really MISS them.  I'm so glad they're having fun with daddy and feel like this weekend is such a wonderful thing for all of us. Sunday, November 4th 6:30am - I wake up at 6:30 which is actually late for me! It's my last day to work so I go full blast.  I get brunch with a friend and work some more. Texts from Rene and the kids make me so happy! 4:30pm - And that brings me to right now.  I'm about to head off to dinner with my friend, Shadi.  She is a mom of three and never gets a break! I hope this little three day weekend thing is going to sweep through my circle of friends!  And if you're thinking, "My husband would never do that." Just ask yourself this.  Are you feeling out of control, over worked, and don't know who you are anymore?  Is that good thing for your marriage? Are you modeling a balance that is healthy for your kids?  Get some time, not an hour or a day but a WHOLE WEEKEND to really unwind the stress. Let these fathers be fathers.  Let them get some alone time to really get to know their kiddos.  It's not easy, you know that, but it's also very rewarding and important. These dads are intelligent people and I know they can do it.  Just make it clear that your long-term health and sanity depend on it. I can't wait to see my kids and my husband when they get home this evening! I miss them and they miss me.  I hope that this weekend-off experiment can be something we do regularly - at least twice a year. Fall and Spring perhaps? It really is a win-win for everyone.  As they say, "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy..." I'm thrilled to report that mama is more herself than she's been in years... And daddy has won himself some major brownie points! ;) Love to all, Sarah Jane www.lifeisrosey.com P.S. - Feel free to share this with friends and family! Visit www.sarahjanenelson.com to follow my social media and blog posts...      

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