Before I had kids I never thought about needing a place I could go to take a breather. Back then anyplace other than work pretty much served this purpose — home, vacation, the movies, a restaurant etc. I was in my mid-30s when baby #1 came along and there was a moment where we were worried about being able to have a baby at all, so of course I was all sorts of excited to be a mom and I just knew that I would want to be around my baby constantly until they were 26, relishing every moment! It wasn’t until I actually had my first child (about 2 hours after she had come into the world) that I realized:
1.) Why a mom would need or want to get away from her child(ren)
2.) The lengths I would go to arrange everything so I could momentarily escape without the entire family being sent into a whirling frenzy in my absence.
For me, the typical ‘Man Cave’ conjures images of a windowless basement room complete with a big screen TV, leather furniture, gaming system, sports memorabilia and a mini fridge. Although I don’t really need one, I have spent some time imagining my ideal ‘Mom Cave’. This place of respite might include a day bed, a recliner, a TV with QVC access, an assortment of DVDs, bottled waters, a soothing sound machine, a laptop, heating pads, and snacks of peppermint patties, pistachios and wasabi peas. While it is nice to dream, the fact is that if I had a Mom Cave, I would feel too guilty to go into it for any length of time. If I did retreat into it, I’m pretty sure that Thing 1 and Thing 2 would be whining at the door to be let in as soon as they noticed my absence. After seeing the 2-year-old manipulate the iPad, I’m also sure that short of a retinal scan, Thing 2 would be into the cave, flinging wasabi peas in less than 5 minutes.
If you’re in the same boat, I am offering you some unique (if not glamorous) retreats for moms that I have discovered in my ongoing quest for temporary alone-ness. These are places where you can get peace and quiet (or at least peace) for a few hours or even just a few minutes.
1.) Doctor’s/Dentist’s Office – This is one of my favorite mom retreats (assuming it is an appointment where the Boy and the Girl don’t accompany me). I always leave for my appointments early and I’ve even been known to linger in the office after my appointment. Take your 3 week old People magazine that you haven’t had a minute to read and luxuriate while you wait (or else you know you will be stuck reading the office copy of Parents – ugh!). I remember talking to my sister about how awesome long waits at the doctor’s office are once you have kids. We were talking about it like it was a visit to the spa! Root canal? Colonoscopy? Anything requiring me to drink something foul and be tested hours later? Mom Cave!
2.) Closet – Yep, I said it, the closet. I’ll admit that I am a bit closet-spoiled. Although our square footage in the rest of the house is not egregious, the master closet is massive and even has a window. Some closets may not be conducive, but some days I’d be willing to curl up on the 2nd wire shelf of the linen closet if it meant I could have 45 ‘Mommy!’-free seconds. One weekend last December I left my husband on kid duty while I retreated into the closet to wrap presents. I stole the kids mini dvd player and watched a movie while wrapping gifts and drinking my coffee for several hours. Add sound machine to drown out the occasional screaming from the first floor and it was perfect. Note: Remember to bring a snack! I went in snack-less and quickly realized that I could not show my face in the kitchen without much fanfare from the Boy and the Girl wondering where I was going and where I had been. I ended up eating the only food I had in the closet with me — the king sized pack of peppermint patties I had purchased for my sister for Christmas out of necessity. Sorry Jean. Mom Cave!
3.) Giving Blood – Ahhh…doesn’t this sound like a soothing getaway? Well, for a frazzled mom, 30 minutes in the blood mobile is like a little piece of heaven. This is how you play it…
Step 1 > Look online to find a blood mobile drive going on in the coming weeks. Book your appointment for a time when your husband or other caregiver will be available to watch the kids.
Step 2 > Inform/ask your babysitter and use this opportunity to promote your life saving and selfless act of giving blood…even though it is gory and awful, you are brave and willing to do what you need to help others after all.
Step 3 > Plan your reading materials/iPod playlists etc. ahead. You can even have your husband drive you and wait in the car with the kids while they watch a movie and bicker…not that I have done this or anything.
Step 4 > Enter the blood mobile and enjoy! Read your favorite book or magazine, let them know you are willing to wait if someone else wants to go first. Really draw it out. I was lucky enough last time to have my vein super close to an artery, causing blood to gush out of my arm afterwards for a good 15 minutes! I was ecstatic. I got to stay until it stopped — eating my cookies and drinking my Coke and almost fainting…for the good of others! Mom Cave!
For one more mommy oasis, check out I Never Knew I Would Need A Mom Cave Part 2 – The Bathroom. Share your favorite mom cave escape in the comments or on my Facebook Page!