I haven’t traveled alone (sans kids and husband) since 2014 when I went to Germany on business, which was a mix of disaster and enjoyment. Now it is two years later, with another child, a two-year-old daughter, and a new job (I just started my own consulting business (www.cieloconsulting.biz). Needless to say, mama needed a getaway with friends! It was time and my husband totally supported it.
When I booked my roundtrip train ticket to Washington, D.C., I felt no guilt, just excitement. I was going to see best friends from high school and have some much needed alone time without my husband or kids. A week later when I walked out of my house to catch the train, I started to feel guilty. My husband was desperately trying to keep our kids calm while Ella and Luke cried at the doorway. Luke was giving me that “Why are you leaving me?!” look of panic and abandonment on his face, which always crushes my heart. Ella was yelping like she often does when I leave the room after the nanny arrives in the morning; it often makes me feel guilty. Actually, it was like a typical day going to work! I knew my kids would be okay shortly after I left–like always.
So when I ran down the steps with my suitcase rolling behind me, leaving behind wailing toddlers who didn’t understand why “mommy has a big bag,” I went from feeling guilty to giddy. I threw my suitcase into the trunk of my Uber driver’s car before he could even get out to help me.
When I arrived at the Newark Penn train station platform, I was immediately greeted by a panhandler who shared, “This paper proves I got out of jail today! Can any you spare a dollar and if you’re a COP I will KICK your ASS!” Nice.
The rest of my train journey to my hometown was pretty uneventful. I relaxed, worked, and enjoyed listening to myself think to the rhythmic soundtrack of the train zooming down the tracks.
Although my stay in D.C. only lasted about 30 hours, it was filled with laughter, reminiscing, eating gourmet food, cocktails and soju shots (a few too many, but you gotta live a little, right?), and much needed “me time.” I came home feeling emotionally rejuvenated. It was a reminder that getting away by myself is necessary every once and a while. It doesn’t make me a bad mother, it actually makes me a better one.