I took today off.
It wasn’t easy since I’m a stay at home mom and I’m down the shore, alone with my 3 young children, but I did it.
There was no babysitter, no massage, no mani-pedi, no pampering, and no quiet alone time, but I did it anyway.
Breakfast was not served today. It was eaten in front of the television and consisted of cold hard boiled eggs, made yesterday, along with the fruit I pre-cut and dry cereal. My oldest climbed the counter to retrieve the cereal, plates and bowls, peeled the eggs for herself and her siblings, and found the fruit in the fridge. The children cleared their dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher, not my hands. I made no effort to get up from the table or put the newspaper down. They each consumed a full and healthy meal while I enjoyed every slow sip of my coffee.
My 2 oldest to chose their outfits and dressed themselves. They prepared their own toothbrushes and brushed without constructive criticism. They worked together to make beds and get ready for the day. They argued without my intervention and they eventually figured it all out. The only assistance I offered was getting my youngest ready, doing hair, and applying sunscreen. There were shouts, demands, and a few tears, none of which emanated from me. They were less than perfect looking children and it was a less than a perfectly cleaned apartment. We still managed to leave for the playground at a reasonable hour.
I walked down the boardwalk while the kids rode their scooters and balance bike. I didn’t carry a single child, helmet, or mode of transportation. I didn’t shout, “Stay to the right!” “Hurry up!” “Come on!” or even a single child’s name. The kids took turns taking the lead and we made it to the playground alive, despite giving my “momscles” and voice a rest. The view and the sunshine were glorious!
When we arrived at the playground, I found a nice shaded area and sat down. I didn’t push a swing. I didn’t play hide & seek. I didn’t run all over the vast area checking on children and searching for their whereabouts. I didn’t even take out my phone to snap a quick pic. There was only the happy sound of my children playing together, playing alone, imagining and pretending, and offering one another help and directions when needed. Despite my overt lack of participation, they had a great time. It was music to my ears.
I took the playground off.
At lunch I had them make their own sandwiches and plates. Cream-cheese or peanut-butter isn’t so difficult to schmear on a bagel, apples and bananas can be eaten without my assistance, veggies were pre-cut yesterday, and hummus is great for dipping into. I could not have cared less about double dipping.
I left the clean, unfolded laundry in a pile, dishes in the sink, and did not return a single email, text, or phone call. I made them all nap because it was my day off and everyone should nap on their day off, so that’s what I did.
We headed out to the beach after waking. I carried the bag of towels and nothing else. They each toted their own shovel and bucket. I set up a chair near the ocean’s edge, plopped down, and watched them play. I did not jump waves or dig holes. I did not take them out to the “floaters” or assist them in body surfing or boogie boarding. I did not take a single picture or video. I just sat and watched as they jumped waves, chased seagulls, dug for tickle crabs, clams, and China. They laughed, splashed, and made their own memories with each other at a favorite family spot from my own childhood.
We had leftovers for dinner. The microwave did all of the work. Dinner was delicious…again.
I took today off to have some time both with and away from my kids. They are my work, my worry, my passion, my deep breaths, my inspiration, my exhaustion, and my world.
I took today off: without planning, without guilt, without worry, without absence, without a substitute, without judgement, and without my own critique.
I took today off, and it was fabulous!