A mom walks into a bar in sweaty workout clothes.
And orders a burger. And a beer. Neither are gluten free, both promise to be highly delicious.
When I was a starry-eyed teenager dreaming of marriage and babies, escaping once a week to run on a treadmill and then drink alone in public was not part of the script. Probably. Or maybe I'm not giving my 17-year old self enough credit.
At any rate, about 2 months ago, just as the postpartum cloud was starting to lift, Dave and I decided that we each needed a night 'off' during the week. I took Tuesdays, he got Thursdays. Some weeks, it's as simple as escaping to a clean(ish) bathtub with my latest copy of Women's World Weekly (criminally guilty pleasure); other weeks, like this one, I go big...and then I go home.
I guess I'm basically the same girl - pushing 30 - that I was when I was pushing 20. But I'm more comfortable now in my own (slightly less taut) skin. I can do things by myself, like any introvert dreams of, but perhaps feels uncomfortable doing so in an extroverted world. I'm telling you right now: moms need to be alone. Like, maybe more than anyone else on earth. Maybe more than monks and hermits and cloistered nuns combined.
I know that for me and my selfish-ish body, I am touched out by 5 pm on any given day, both physically and emotionally. I've wiped booties, nursed babies, picked bits of refried beans off the wall behind the high chair, and swiffered the kitchen multiple times. I've got to get away and not be touched for a while, not be needed for an hour or so.
I know I'll always be needed now that my boys exist. More importantly, now that I'm married. Husbands come first...and they're a lot cleaner, mostly. But it feels good - no, it feels necessary - to go off duty every once in a while and just be ... me.
Some of the fantastic mommy dates I've taken myself in the past couple months include a sunset run around a newly-discovered city lake, a magazine-laden free for all at Barnes and Noble fueled by decaf Earl Gray, a guilty McDonald's hot fudge sundae (devoured in my car in the parking lot; high shame rating for that one), a margarita and my OWN guacamole that didn't get spoon fed into a gaping baby maw before it could hit my tortilla chips, and a jaunt through my favorite thrift store where the only rule was, I'd try anything on as long as it was 1. in my size and 2. had a Banana Republic or J. Crew label. Shallow much.
As you can see, these little dates run the gamut from free to around 20 bucks or so. Tonight's 2-miler at the gym is being undone by a Stella and a burger, so I'll guess the total will end up around $14.
And you know what? I'm worth it.
I'm such a better mom when I have this time away. And I'm such a better wife. And honestly, Dave's a better dad too. Nothing makes a man like bottle-feeding an angry wolverine, you know what they say.
I'm sure somebody says that.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a beer to sip. Cheers!