I got to enjoy a much-needed kid-free getaway in Nashville this past weekend! Read on to get the lowdown on all the fun!
Nashville’s pretty popular among our Illinois friends, who are always heading there for family trips or a long weekend (I hear it’s renowned for bachelorette shenanigans as well). However, I had never been there except for one brief trip with my family as a kid, from which all I remember is eating Goo Goo Clusters for dinner in our room, so this was different. The major “first” for me this weekend? The FIRST TIME AWAY FROM MY KIDS OVERNIGHT. Whoa.
Our firstborn son, Junior COD, is four years old, and the only time I’d been away from him overnight was when his brother was born, so I was in the hospital. But Mini COD had his mama’s continuous presence every single night of his life up until last week, at almost two and a half years old. I was actually surprised to realize that this would be my first kid-free weekend!
What emotions were coursing through me? Anxiety, sadness, excitement. Leaving my sweet boys for two days filled me with trepidation, but fortunately, Mr. COD encouraged me to go. (Such a supportive hubby!) He has another couple of weeks left before his official teaching duties commence, so it was the perfect time for me to take a break.
HOW THE TRIP CAME TO BE
Let me back up and explain a bit. I joined a fair trade company in April as a Compassionate Entrepreneur. Yes, it’s a direct sales business (!!!), but the first one I’ve ever felt drawn to, and its mission fits me perfectly. I’ve always known that I couldn’t possibly sell or recommend products to others unless I felt absolutely convinced that the products were worth it. This company has amazing products, but more than that, its ultimate mission is incredible.
Through the jewelry and accessories we sell, women in impoverished countries are able to make a living wage and rise up from unimaginable circumstances. (The company is Trades of Hope, in case you’re wondering. The business itself isn’t the main point of this post, but I did want to give you some background.) I’m super excited about the TOH mission and the chance to be a voice for artisans in Haiti, Uganda, Peru, and many other countries.
Anyway, this weekend was the Trades of Hope national conference, and it was held in Nashville! It’s only a three-and-a-half hour drive from where we now live, so it worked out wonderfully. I took off in the wee hours of Friday morning to arrive before 9 a.m. and participate in the full two days of training and networking.
Having a business purpose in going away, I think, made leaving my kids less stressful. I’m not sure when I’d have gotten up the courage to go away for that long, without a specific event at hand.
The night before I left, I didn’t even tell the kids about my trip. I hinted at it to the older one, but once I said “your mom might go on a little trip”, he was not having it! And Mini, well, he’s so attached to me that I figured telling him in advance would only make the whole thing worse. It was already so hard for me to think of not kissing them goodnight, not being there when they cried, not reading to them and playing Sorry with them. I hugged them both tighter than usual on Thursday night, then tried to focus on business and friends for the weekend.
As it turned out, the boys had a GREAT time at home with their dad. It was a fabulous bonding experience for them. Mr. COD always tells me they behave better when I’m not around, so that’s good to know!
KID-FREE STUFF I DID
- I listened to music in the car! That’s something I truly miss as a mom. Every long trip we take as a family, the boys either watch movies in the van or sleep. When they’re asleep, we’re too afraid of waking them up to turn on the radio. Hence, my weekend was the perfect opportunity to pop in my old CDs of Christian rock, Broadway tunes, and forties’ country songs. (“Walkin’ After Midnight” and “Mule Train” are a couple of faves.) I have a strange mix of musical tastes.
- I ate meals with other adults and engaged in actual CONVERSATION with them! And yes, we ate out. I wasn’t about to miss the chance to get to know fellow Compassionate Entrepreneurs just to save a few bucks on meals. (Although I couldn’t quite bring myself to fork over $9 for a cocktail!)
- I dressed up! As a teacher, I used to look forward to jeans on Fridays, but now I miss wearing nicer clothes on a regular basis. We went biz casual during the day meetings and glammed it up in the evenings. FYI, I really hate wearing heels.
- I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s safety! Boy, was it relaxing to spend two days without chasing frantically after a child or getting them food or entertaining them. Lounging in a sunny pool with friends is something akin to paradise! No shouting, “stop running!” on the pool deck or wrestling them into their swim gear. Being responsible for me and only me for a bit was lovely.
- I reconnected with my former roommate, who had introduced me to the company. We shared an apartment about ten years ago, just before I met Mr. COD, and she graciously put up with my grumpy cat and my incessant borrowing of her laptop. (This was back before we all had smartphones and tablets…wow, it seems like ages ago!)
- I learned from amazing speakers and got inspired! One awesome part of this event was that much of the training not only applied to Trades of Hope, but to other areas of life, faith, and entrepreneurship.
- I had the chance to miss my kids again! Yes, you moms who dream of the SAHM life, one negative of it is that you don’t get the breaks from your kids that enable you to really appreciate them. I used to miss them all the time while teaching. Two and a half days away made me actually miss my kids and be ready to return to their sweet hugs.
So there you have it! I’m one refreshed mama after my kid-free weekend! What are your strategies for getting away from your normal routine?