By Lisa Sugarman
I’m somebody’s mom. Two somebodys, actually. So by simple definition, that means I have almost no time for myself.
And being someone’s mom often means you’re also somebody’s wife. So that takes the thin sliver of free time most of us have and reduces it down to absolutely no time for ourselves whatsoever. The unfortunate thing about that being that under all the other layers of who we are, we’re also just girls—girls who cherish the rare opportunity to take off all our other hats and just go play with our friends. Something I actually got the chance to do last weekend for the first time in an embarrassingly long time.
And what I learned from my 48 hours away with my girlfriends is that as much as we love and adore our families, we need regular infusions of time with our girlfriends doing silly, mindless things like sitting around a fire in our pajamas, eating shrimp cocktail, and letting our souls hang out.
Because the truth is, there’s no relationship quite like the relationship we have with our sister friends. That’s because your girl friends are the ones who really get you, because they’re feeling all the same things you feel.
Any girl who’s ever gone away with her friends understands the chemical reaction that happens when women go away together. When it’s just you and your besties alone, in your favorite yoga pants, with an outlet mall nearby, and a fully-stocked fridge, everything else ceases to exist. And when you get the right mix of people together and the chemistry is clicking for everyone, it’s almost like a drug. That’s how euphoric it can be.
I mean, let’s face it, no one really truly understands what it’s like to be a woman better than a woman. Sorry guys, but until men start ovulating, cramping, and bloating, you’re out of the club. No offense, but in the same way that we can’t relate to peeing standing up or shoulder bumping as a way to say hello, you can’t relate to wetting your pants just because you sneezed.
The reality is, guys and girls are just apples and oranges in some pretty clear-cut ways, and sometimes you just need to spend time in a basket with other apples or other oranges. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, sometimes you just need to commiserate with people who get where you’re at.
Speaking now from the girl’s side, whether you’re someone’s wife or girlfriend or mom, as a girl, you instinctively appreciate what it’s like to put yourself last and keep your crosshairs focused squarely on everyone else around you. It’s just what most of us do. It’s how we’re programmed. It also means that you appreciate the need, every once in a while, to shut down and reboot. It’s just critical to system maintenance.
Ask any woman with a career or a family or a relationship, or all of the above, what she values most outside of those things, and she’ll probably say down time. The funny thing is, though, the older we get and the more layers we add onto our life, the less we care about the quantity of that kind of time. It becomes way more about the quality of the time we have to ourselves.
Take something as simple as going to the bathroom, especially if you’re a mom. You’re lucky if you even have time to pee during the day, let alone the ability to close the bathroom door. That’s how scarce privacy and alone time is when you’ve got a family. For most of us, solitude often means grabbing a handful of recyclable grocery bags and heading to the organic foods section at the supermarket. What can I say, it’s my Zen place.
Truth is, when you’ve got a family or a significant other to consider in everything you do, there’s not a lot of time leftover to spend on yourself. And that kind of time is a white-hot commodity. That’s why it becomes so important to capitalize on the rare chances we get to break away from the day to day and focus only on ourselves.
Now granted, if you’re anything like me, then it probably takes you at least half of your time away just to decompress and not flinch whenever you hear the word Mom. But I’m getting better. Honestly, most of us just need a little time to take a breath, drink some wine, giggle with our homies, and not have to be somewhere.
My point in telling you all this is simple… even the president has Camp David, which is a pretty credible sign that we’re all expected to break away every once in a while and have a little fun. So take those moments to break away whenever you can, girlies. And enjoy them. Even if it means just getting to lock the bathroom door.