I’m happy to be home and reunited with my family, but man did I need that getaway!
I spent the weekend in Miami with my best friend. My first full day away from Annie. My first night away from Annie. My first weekend away from Annie. I expected to cry a lot. And sure, I did get a little weepy when I put her to bed Thursday night, knowing I wouldn’t be the one to get her out of her crib the next morning. But when I got up Friday, got in the Uber, headed to the airport, and eventually boarded my flight, I was just fine. I love my baby more than I’ve ever loved anything. But I didn’t feel sad. I didn’t cry.
And that tells me I was so ready for a break.
For 15 months, I barely left Annie’s side. I was there every morning, every day, every night. And I love that and I feel lucky for that life, to be able to do work I love and spend time with her. But it’s still hard work. Rewarding, absolutely. Challenging? Exhausting? Draining? You bet.
So when my BFF Michael (Michael is a girl; yes, she gets that a lot), who has three kids of her own (ages 2, 4, and 6, and I bow down to her!), suggested we take a little trip, I was on kayak.com within seconds.
January felt like the perfect time. We were both feeling stressed and overwhelmed and exhausted and desperately in need of a weekend not taking care of others, I think. (At least I’m speaking for myself here.) We Googled “warmest place on the east coast in January” and settled on Miami. The goal was a short flight, not international (it was my first time away, and I wanted it to be as easy as possible!), as warm as possible, and nice but not too over the top. (I love a luxury hotel, but I also love paying off my credit card.)
And so: a long weekend in Miami in January. Just the two of us.
Michael flew out of Laguardia and I flew out of Newark, and we landed at Miami International within half an hour of each other on Friday morning. I squealed when I saw her coming down the escalator, I was so excited. (Kind of like that scene in Cruel Intentions, which…is not at all the same. But you know what I’m talking about, right?)
It was the perfect trip. The perfect length — we flew home on Monday, so we got two full days in Miami. We were away long enough to feel rested and recharged, and by Sunday night, I was really itching to see Annie. And we traveled beautifully together. You know how you’re never really sure how compatible you’ll be with someone when you’re not in the comfort of your own homes and routines? Turns out, we are perfect travel companions. We wanted to do all the same things. We’re both pretty low-maintenance. (Like neither of us takes more than 10 minutes to shower and get ready for dinner. Very efficient!) We like the same food. And we were each happy with an equal mix of activity and relaxation.
I convinced Michael to try her first Orangetheory class, which she loved. (YAY! Wish I got commissions on these! OTF, hit me up!) We went for nice run/walks along the water every morning. And on Saturday, we took a “Splash Cycle” class, which is spinning in the pool. It wasn’t an intense workout, but it was the most fun. We splashed a lot, and I was laughing so hard the entire time.
And we relaxed. Despite my general inability to nap, I fell asleep on the beach the last afternoon we were there. I drank strawberry daiquiris as early as 2 PM, and was in bed every night by 9:30 PM. At home, I’m up by 4:25 AM daily — 5 or 6 AM on the weekends — but in Miami, we both stayed in bed until 7:30 AM.
We talked a lot. Laughed a lot. Shared a lot. Michael and I have been friends since 2008, I think — we worked together at Dance Spirit! — and it’s amazing that we still have secrets to share. (She doesn’t know the spelling bee word, though.) We were together, shocked, when we learned about the helicopter accident carrying Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and several others. And we cried together.
I didn’t open my computer the entire trip. I spent minimal time mindlessly scrolling. I was, for once, very present. I didn’t try to multitask. I let myself breathe and relax. I realize these things are supposed to be inherent, but most days, I get to 8 PM and have to actually ask myself, “Did I even breathe today?” Most days, by bedtime, my shoulders are earrings and my whole body feels tense. Forever a work in progress, and this trip helped me make some of that progress.
I’m grateful for the ability to get away. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a vacation, and I’m glad that despite my initial hesitation and worrying, that I actually booked it. It was the best weekend with the greatest friend, and what everyone says is true: Getting away and taking a break, in whatever form it can take, is so important. I often feel stressed and bogged down about a mix of big things and insignificant details, and it all adds up to, well, shoulders as earrings. It was nice to step back this weekend, regain some perspective, and come back feeling refreshed and ready to jump back into work and motherhood. (And jump I did: I was up literally all night with a dog who had the runs and needed to go out starting at midnight, and a baby who woke up crying and needing comfort at 1:30. I could’ve done without the puppy runs, but didn’t hate the Annie cuddles.)
At one point during the trip, Michael and I were talking to a woman at the resort (we stayed at the Kimpton Surfcomber), and we said something about how we’d left the kids at home. Her reaction was swift: “Ohhhh, are you having so much mom guilt?!” I think she expected us both to say yes. But in perfect unison, we both looked at each other, and then back at her, and said, “Nope!”
I know I can’t always skip town and go on a mini vacation whenever I’m feeling stressed or like I need a break. But I do hope that this trip serves as a consistent reminder to take or ask for what I need more often, and to feel less guilt around it. (I have more thoughts on the whole “mom guilt” thing, but I’ll spare you that essay right now. The short version is that I feel like mom guilt is part inherent, but part societal expectation. It’s weird. It’s real! But it’s also weird.)
And I hope my little tan sticks around for at least a week.
Oh and side note, no one wears full bathing suit bottoms anymore?! I saw so many butt cheeks this weekend. Everyone is in thongs and very cheeky suits! Power to them! I love confidence and yes, women, do you, flaunt it, feminism, hell yes. (I was mostly in full coverage, high-waisted situations. I’m fine in the confidence department, but also love comfort very much.) But if you’re wearing one of those suits, reminder that when you bend over to pick something up, you may want to do so from the knees, because otherwise it’s like wow, colonoscopy for everyone in view. So many butts! Everywhere butts! (Is this a thing everywhere? Or just South Beach? What is fashion? Do you wear butts-out suits? Or full suits? I don’t think I can wear cheeky suits. But it’s not an age thing, because everyone of all ages was wearing them! So I think it’s just fashion and I didn’t know!)