A few weekends ago I went to the mall with a friend on a Saturday. It was totally luxurious. We lunched at Nordstrom Cafe, shopped at clothing stores for ourselves and didn’t buy one thing for our children. It reminded me of lazy Saturday, California afternoons when I used to walk through the outdoor malls just for fun.
Last weekend, I took my one-year-old out to Target. I put him in the cart and he happily rode around while we shopped for home decor. We didn’t have to go to the toy section. He didn’t ask for new underwear or that cute Paw Patrol shirt. We didn’t have to negotiate the time I spent there. He was happy to look around. It was a rare outing, to be just with him and not my other two children. It reminded me of when I was a new mother to my first son who is now almost six, and we’d slowly walk through the aisles while I perused things I didn’t really need.
Sometimes I take my third baby to his Mommy and Me class all by myself. The other two stay home with my husband. I go into the room with the other young moms, most of whom are with their first babies. I remember going to that class with my first child, and then taking him out to Panera with a friend each week. Life was so much slower then.
A few days ago, I left my husband at home with the kids and went to a morning Zumba class. I got there early, checked my phone, filled my water bottle and took the entire class. I didn’t have to worry about anyone crying, having to leave early, or rushing home because someone had to use the bathroom or get a snack. I used to spend every Saturday at step class in my twenties, and this was totally reminiscent of that.
Sometimes it’s fun to take a time-out from parenting. From being needed. From having an impossibly long list that never gets accomplished. Every so often, it’s fun to just remember what it was like before. Each stage, its own challenges…I wonder what I’ll be doing in ten years, when I try to take a time-out from the present and hang out in the past for an hour or so.