I’m sitting here at Barnes and Noble sipping a Double Choclatey Chip Frappuccino, munching on “Belly Flops” (the reject Jelly Bellies they sell at the 99 Cent Store), and smelling the intoxicating smell of coffee and books. No kids. No errands. No responsibilities. Why am I doing this? In the middle of the week? Because my husband is better than yours. JUST KIDDING!!!! But seriously, he’s the best husband ever.
Not only does my husband often cook, clean, do dishes, and make the bed, but he’s also been known to change more than his fair share of diapers, clean vomit, and pretty much every week, he lets me have, nay, almost INSISTS on me having a night off. Sometimes I go shopping for clothes or shoes, sometimes I eat out or see a movie, sometimes I just go to B & N and read (or blog) or, time permitting, do all of the above. I’ve even read the entire Hunger Games series at Barnes and Noble without buying a single book. I just sit and read for hours and hours, remember where I left off, and pick it up again the next week. I’m not exactly sure how ethical that is, but I figure I’ve spent enough money on books I simply can’t wait until next week to read, and on hot chocolates, Frappuccinos, and cheesecakes to make up for it.
Occasionally I meet a friend for shakes (and an appetizer and a meal and a dessert) at Denny’s. Once I went to a friend’s house, about an hour away in the desert, watched a movie, stuffed my face, and chatted until I realized in was 4 o’clock in the freaking morning and that if I didn’t rush home I wouldn’t make it in time for Josh to leave for work! As it was I made it home just as he was getting out of the shower. Don’t worry, I texted him to let him know I wasn’t dead on the side of the road somewhere on the Cajon Pass between San Bernardino and the desert.
I first started doing this (getting a night off, not scaring the crap out of my husband) a few years ago when Hubby was working at the local high school as an assistant principal AND the athletic director AND going to school to get his administrative credential. We had four kids (still do), and the older boys were about nine and seven and for the life of me I could not get them to do their homework or chores, and the girls were two and one and yes they were 10 1/2 months apart thankyouverymuch. The one-year-old was a preemie and at this point we were still struggling with her being very underweight. To make a long story short, I was losing it. I don’t remember how it started, who’s idea it was (although I think it was Hubby’s) or when we fit it in, since he was rarely home, but I do remember going out at night, often until 1 or 2 am, sometimes just sitting in the car doing a crossword puzzle and listening to a Dennis Prager podcast, anything to get out of the house and clear my head.
Since then I’ve spent many a late weeknight overcaffeinated and overeating just to be extremely overtired the next day. But it’s so worth it. I NEED it.
For example, today I was an especially bad mommy. I slept on the couch all day, waking only to get Boy #2 off to school, get boy #1, who is sick, some Nyquil, and get the girls the occasional snack or drink or movie, and then falling back to sleep. I eventually emerged from my coma to shower and take the kids to park for awhile before heading home just in time to start dinner before Hubby got home. Feeling guilty for sleeping all day and hating myself for not _______ (insert all the things you think a wife and mother would do if she had all the time/energy/motivation in the world), I texted Hubby and told asked him if I could “have the night off…maybe…heh heh,” again feeling guilty for wanting to go out when I had been so lazy, irresponsible, and ________ (insert adjective describing the most vile thing you’ve ever encountered). But thankfully , Hubby was fine with it, even when I asked him if he was really, really, really sure it was definitely going to be OK, even though I was the worst mom and wife ever. He assuaged my guilt by telling me that my night out was not a reward for being amazing, but a necessity for survival. I booked it out of there as fast as I could.
So here I am. I browsed Sport Chalet, bought candy at the 99 Cent Store, and am sitting here writing this and listening to “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Ya gotta love that whistling! (If you’ve never heard it, watch it HERE). I’m relaxed and rejuvenated and feel like tomorrow I can wake up early, shower and be a better mom. I might even brush the girls’ hair tomorrow, something I did NOT do today, and if I’m feeling REALLY ambitious, I might teach Big Girl some letters!
So if your husband doesn’t do this for you, tell him to get on the ball and do it now! Promise him it’ll make you a better mom the next morning, or at least that it’ll keep you sane for a day or two. Which is sometimes all you can get.