This morning, I was going through my morning routine of email/coffee/Facebook, when I noticed something was going on with my lady friends. A lot of them were expressing, in their own ways, that they need a break. One talked about how tired she was, another about her children keeping her up late. A mom was jokingly beating herself up about skipping chores for a few days, and posted pictures for proof. I didn't have the heart to tell her that her 3 days of messy kitchen looked like mine does after cooking dinner for one night. But one comment in particular stuck with me. She's a fellow mom, and was responding to post of mine about how I can leave the room to get a drink of water, and come back to find vomit on the floor (true story). She said, in what I imagine was with a tired smile and a hefty dose of gallows humor, "Isn't it nice being so blasted important to the rotating of the planet?"
I totally got what she meant. As moms, we have a lot of things to juggle, and it can feel like it'll all fall apart if we disappear for a moment. But I took it a step further. I can't think of a woman who doesn't have a lot of responsibilities. Jobs, homes, families, chores, pets, volunteering, errands, balancing that checkbook, friends...we all deal with it. I'm not saying that men, in comparison, have it easy. They don't. But, speaking strictly for myself, I have a tendency to shelve my desire to take a break in order to let others have that break. If my Dude wants to go out and have a beer at the HSH bar with his soccer buddies, I'm going to let him because he works hard, and his hard work is what lets me stay home with the Little Dude. I have a sister with a full-time management job and 4 kids. If she needs me to babysit, I'm going to do it, because she probably needs a break worse than I do. I love doing these things for others, but I tend to do it until I snap. If I were to be proactive and build in some breaks for myself, I'd probably be so sweet and even tempered, people would wonder where the aliens took me.
While I am speaking for myself about my tendency to make myself last on the list, I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of women out there who would nod in agreement. Maybe it's that stereotypical urge for women to nurture. And that's why I'm here to encourage all of you women to start misbehaving! I don't mean you have to go out and recreate the plot to "The Hangover" in one night (but if you do, please send pictures. I'll post them.). I mean to take a little time to be...irresponsible. You can spend as much or as little as you like. Do it when it works best for you. Don't worry about your chores-trust me, those dishes will still be in the sink whenever you come back.
Ladies, find a way to indulge yourselves! Soak in the tub with a bowl full of ice cream. Go to the mall and shop, or even just window shop. Go for a run, a walk, a swim. Go to the library and tune in to your trashy side-get a Lady GaGa CD, borrow season 1 of Sex and the City (I'm such a Charlotte), find a bodice ripper and imagine Johnny Depp as the swashbuckling pirate captain that wins over the virtuous heroine. If you have to wait until after the kids are in bed, or the dog is fed, or the husband/boyfriend is happily killing every zombie Left 4 Dead can throw at him. Even just 20 minutes can do a world of good for you.
If you're really ambitious, try to set up a monthly date to get out of the house, either alone or with friends. One of the best times I've ever had was in a room full of strange women. I went to a local bookstore to see a presentation by Jill Connor Browne, the author of the "Sweet Potato Queen" books. She is hysterical, knows how to live, and will happily teach you all she knows. Almost all of the women there wore tiaras, or sashes, or their finest pageant gowns. I fit right in, and I was probably the youngest by about 10 years. But I came home so refreshed and happy, because I spent the evening in a room full of laughing people. If you want to get together with friends, give it a theme! Have a gaming night (B. and I are both part of a monthly euchre club, those ladies are awesomely fun!), a scrapbooking night, or a movie night. Take turns brining snacks and drinks, so no one bears all the financial burden. Start a book club. Try a new restaurant every month. There are so many options out there, you will find something that fits. I promise.
No matter what you decide, start it now. Plan ahead. Go solo, go with a friend, go with a group. Put that latest Candace Bushnell book on your reserve list at the library. Get a box of wine (classy!) and a bag of peanut M&Ms, tell the kids they can't come out of their rooms unless they're on fire, and start putting yourself first for a change. You deserve it. And if you happen to be dining at a little Greek restaurant tomorrow night, and you see two women laughing a little too loudly, it'll just be me and an old friend, taking some time for ourselves.