Sure, I am madly in love with my babies, but for the past 10 months, I've been daydreaming about what it might be like to get away for a night or two, have some time alone with my husband, sleep in a clean, quiet hotel room. So, when my in-laws offered to watch our twin babies so I could accompany my hubby on a short work trip to San Francisco, I jumped on it. Oh, I was so excited, thinking about all the things we could do on our night away.
But, then, as the trip was approaching, I started to panic. Leave my babies?!?! I must be crazy! I work from home so I'm pretty much with my kids all day, every day. What if they needed Mommy? What if I missed a major milestone? Luckily, I had plenty of friends who assured me that a) the babies would be just fine and b) it would be good for my marriage to get away. Well, I survived, and I have to say, I'm already counting the days until we can take another trip.
Of course, the week leading up to it, I kept having anxiety dreams -- that one of my boys got lost, that one of my boys fell down a flight of stairs, that one of my boys was on an airplane alone. I mean, why would my subconscious do this to me, why?! Then, the night before, I felt the need to remind my mother about what the plan should be if our plane went down: who I wanted to raise my boys, what kind of people I wanted them to be, what I wanted for their life. (Yeah, she was really enjoying that conversation.) It's like I felt wrong for leaving them, that something bad would happen just because I selfishly wanted a night away.
The thing is, I knew that they would be in great hands with my in-laws -- I mean, you coudn't ask for better grandparents. But would they know not to give them a pacifier at bedtime? Would they remember that "ocean" on the sound machine is for naps while "waterfall" is for night? Would they cut the chunks of watermelon too big? Oh, the watermelon, that damned watermelon. I became fixated on it, terrified of just how well it would dissolve in their mouths, wondering if maybe I should just put "no watermelon!!!" in my list of instructions.
Oh, I should mention that I wrote out a five-page baby schedule for our 24 hours away. Yep, that's right, five pages ... single-spaced! In fairness, it also included instructions for the dog and household stuff and ... oh, who am I kidding? It was straight-up cray cray! Honestly, I'm usually a pretty lax parent. Yes, my babies are on a sleep and nap schedule, but we deviate, we do. And I'm really not very rigid or micro-managing about what they eat or how they eat it. But, here I was, painstakingly writing out a detailed list of instructions. I kind of knew it was a little much as I was typing and yet I couldn't stop myself. God forbid I forgot to mention that my boys like to steal the spoon sometimes mid-feeding or that they shouldn't play with the remote controls. Oh no, every last detail had to be in there.
When the morning of the trip came, my husband and I both got the babies up and fed them before handing them off. There my baby boys were, all happy and playing with toys, totally oblivious to the fact that Mommy was leaving them for an entire night. After hugging and kissing them like crazy, I stood in the doorway, trying to get them to give me a wave and a buh-bye. But they were too busy having fun. "Okay, that's good," I thought. "They're cool, they're happy, they'll be fine without their Mommy."
And then I cried. I cried as we walked out of the house, I cried in the car on the way to the airport. But, once we got to the airport, a funny thing happened: I went through security ... without a baby on me. And then, I sat down and had a hot cup of coffee, without a baby on me. And then, I read a trashy magazine, without a baby on me. You getting the picture? I was free! I was free! I was free!
I won't get into the details of my trip because, really, it was only thrilling to me. But here's what I will tell you: This tired Mommy of baby twins got to enjoy a two-hour garden lunch outside with my cousins. I took a long walk around the streets of San Francisco without pushing a stroller. I went to a really special dinner with my husband where I had a glass of champagne (because I'm totally wild) and we had entire conversations about things other than our babies. Then, I got to sleep deeply in a big, comfy hotel bed without one ear listening for my babies' cries. Yes, I still woke up at 6 a.m., but this time, I didn't have to get up!
And guess what? My babies survived! They even had some watermelon. And they slept all night, despite the fact that their sound machine was incorrectly set to "ocean." And irony of ironies, I did miss two milestones in the 24 hours we were away -- one of my boys stood up in his crib for the first time and also got himself into sitting. But, guess what? He did it all again. As one of my working-Mom friends says, it doesn't count until Mommy or Daddy sees it anyway.
When I came home, I was thrilled to see their smiling faces -- although I had an amazing time away, I was never more happy to be with them. And, I'll be honest, it was almost like I enjoyed them even more, or at least had more patience with their new-teeth fussing and gimme-gimme-more-banana whining. It was like I'd hit the mothering reset button.
Of course, I realize how lucky we are that we had family willing to watch our little ones, especially since they live on the other side of the country and get to see my husband so little. It's something that you can clearly only do if you have people in your life gracious and loving and, yes, energetic enough to take care of your baby. If you have the opportunity to spend a night alone with your partner though -- even if it means a friend just takes your baby to her place for the night -- take it, take it, take it! It's good for you, it's good for your relationship, it's good for your babies too. But mainly, it's just awesome.
Have you had a night away from your baby yet? Did you love it or hate it?
Image via taiyofj/Flickr