Parenting really does make you tired.
That’s the conclusion I reached after being away from my family for 32 hours and returned full of pep. For someone who’s had one of the toughest emotional months in her adult life recently and some physical challenges, it’s saying a lot to feel so good about the weekend.
It was wonderful to catch up with a friend on the way to the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference, have a fun and productive manuscript review with Melanie Rigney, go to several wonderful sessions on writing and networking for writing, eat a yummy lunch I made, and enjoy a lovely grain-free dinner (salmon, green beans, roasted beets, and fennel at Fisherman’s Inn) with seven other fascinating women. And to talk writing some more.
Then I got to do some planning for my chapter of Holistic Moms Network, yoga, a little elliptical (while reading Oprah’s new pick, the wonderful Twelve Tribes of Hattie), planning for the week, and finally, some writing. To my surprise, what started as an exploration of race and relationships turned into a sex scene. The repeated “let it flow” message of the conference encouraged me to just go with it and not overthink or self-edit.
Before enjoying a cheery and chatty drive home with a group of friends, I ate some more yummy food from home, read some Delmarva Review, and sat in the sun by the water.
When I returned home, I was blessed with a straightened up house and partially prepared dinner, thanks to the babysitter who had successfully gotten my daughter to take a good nap. My girl’s cherry red cheeks and smile greeted me when I walked in the door, and, to my delight, she kept playing with the sitter while I unpacked and cut up the remaining veggies for dinner before rushing in to give me the juiciest hug ever.
My boys were out sowing their oats: my son at a nearly all-outside playdate with his good buddy, and my husband at band practice singing and playing his heart out. He came home happy but remarked more than once about nearly hitting the wall with fatigue. The brain operates on a different wavelength with children around. I love them, but I think they are more disruptive to our sense of calm than sleeping next to three WiFi routers spewing EMFs into our heads.
Speaking of sleep, did I also mention that I slept solidly through the night with no one calling my name or shoving her legs into mine? This, too, was key.
It was amazing to come home not undone as I’d feared (from the manuscript review, from possible digestion concerns eating away from home, and from general February blues). Instead, I was settled, happy, and alert.
Not every trip will go off without a hitch or ease me so gently back into family life. But this time, it worked.