You've read about her over and over in my blog. She is my best friend from college, my "comadre" and one of my most quotable friends. My "sister" Sandra Martinez, a working wife and mother of 2 experiences freedom for the first time in 9 years. After I heard her reaction, I realized she needed to share this with you. Ay Mama!
The true meaning of "vacation" for a working mom
By Sandra Martinez
Okay, so my husband decides that we must go to his native Guatemala to visit my inlaws and celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. The plan was perfect. He was going to leave with our two daughters, ages 9 and almost 6, first. I was going to leave a week later. So far, so good. He was going to be gone for three weeks with the girls. I was going to join them in Guatemala for 9 days.
The preparation is underway, suitcases are out, the outfits for my daughters are ready. Finally, the day has arrived! They leave to Guatemala. I am excited, as I know this represents a much-needed break for me. This is the first time since Maya was born 9 years ago that I am home alone -a new concept for me as I get closer to turn 41.
As a working mom, I am used to having dinner ready, helping my oldest daughter with school, cleaning dishes, supervising bath time, picking up my daughter from school, long commutes and walking our beagle. Now, I don't have any of that--just the beagle-- and it feels great!
Surprisingly, I was not emotional the day they left to the airport. In fact, I never even said bye to my husband and my almost 6-year-old since they were sleeping, and I was heading to work. I didn't want to wake them up. Even more surprisingly was the fact that I felt a sense of freedom when I came back home that night right after work and heard silence. I forgot how lovely that sound (or lack of sounds) can be--again, a new concept for me.
The next morning, I get a call from my best friend, Ana Belaval. She wanted to find out how I was coping without my family. I remember telling her, "This is great. How did I end up married with two kids. I love this and it hasn't even been 24 hours since they left."
Now I have all this time to myself, and I am not even sure what to do. For me, days seem longer than 24 hours without my husband and daughters. It's awesome. I can do so much--rest, try new restaurants in my neighborhood, do longer walks, go look at the latest sales at the stores, have brunch with my next-door neighbor. It's like living another life.
It's been 9 days without my girls and my husband now, and I have definitely learned something: Moving forward, my husband and I will be planning more of these getaways. Although I do miss them and look forward to seeing them, this has been a great opportunity for me. It has given me the chance to connect with myself, my life, my emotions and spirit. This is my time!
It has also taught me to treasure even more the wonderful life I have with my husband, my two girls and our beagle. When you hear constant screaming between your daughters, lines like, "mama, she is not sharing," "I am bored, what are we doing next?" after spending six hours at Chicago's Navy Pier Children's Museum, you need this mental break for a few weeks--just for a few weeks.
You can call me crazy, but eventually you want to go back to your "real" life, the life of a working mom. There is nothing more precious than that, even with all the screaming and around-the-clock activities that come with the post. After all, being a working mom is really what keeps me alive!