For Christmas this year, I only wanted one thing: a vacation. When I told my husband this, he got all nervous and said something like, "babe, I really wish we had the money to get plane tickets, but..."
"No", I said, "from you guys."
What I really need right now is a break from my kids. I love them dearly. So much, seriously, so much, but I am burned out. I have caregiver burnout. That is a thing, you know.
I have been reading a lot of great blog posts lately, like this one from Momastery about how important it is to be needed, but also to need others. And this one, from a dear friend whose thoughts about parenting and journalism are always smart and caring and well-thought out. And let's face it: there are a lot of really good parenting blogs out there, all touting the joys and the trials of parenthood. This isn't one of them. Not today.
Because there are a lot of joys in this life, and I really want to think like Josh does, that I can sleep when I'm dead. I fully understand how fortunate I am. But what happens at burnout point?
What happens when you are lucky enough to have a partner who is a completely awesome co-parent but who also works about a million hours a week?
What about when you have been doing this parenting thing with not very much help or rest for a very long time?
What happens when you are really sick and you need to lean on someone else and your partner does his best but (see above about the million hours a week)?
And what about when you have so many amazing women and mom friends but they are scattered all over the country and you don't really have any family (or let's face it, friends) nearby?
I think, at that point, it's okay to be burned out. It's okay to ask for help, and it's okay to feel sad if you can't get the help you need. And it's okay to need a vacation. It's even okay to run away from home for just a little bit.
So this weekend, hubby will be home with the kids on his own, and I will be running away from home for a couple of days. I am heading to a friend's house (one who doesn't have kids!), and we will be dining out like real adults in real clothes (not yoga pants!). I will be drinking wine and sleeping through the night, and reading a novel. I am bringing a crochet project, and a little gift I bought myself today: a pack of really nice colored pencils and a mandala coloring book. My lovely friend has to work half of the weekend, but she has so kindly offered to let me stay at her house with no one bothering me for the whole weekend.
I want to be rested. At this point, it's kind of an emergency-need kind of thing. And then maybe, by the end of the weekend, I'll be ready to come back with a smile on my face and feel excited about parenting again.
Maybe I'll be ready to see that I am surrounded by amazing local mamas if I only had the time to hang out with them. And maybe I'll feel less sick after some rest. Maybe after a couple of days of rest and peace, I'll be ready to be that patient, thoughtful mama I would like to be. And maybe I'll be ready to see that precisely at the moment I am losing my mind and bemoaning the fact that my village is so spread out, people in my village are stepping up for me to lean on.