Putting My Mask on First

I don’t like to brag, but last Tuesday, I hopped on a plane in the middle of the school week to visit my best friend in Florida for her birthday. I was only gone for 36 hours, but it was fantastic! I am a lucky girl.

Happiness is … celebrating over thirty years of friendship with this #bosschick

My husband agreed to pick up the slack for two days so I could take this somewhat spur-of-the-moment trip. I felt very Eat, Pray, Love — dropping everything and running away from my life, even if only for a day and a half. It was exciting and fun and just what I needed. Who couldn’t use a little break from their everyday life once in a while?


My time away was both glorious and illuminating. Here are just a few of my brilliant insights from last week:

  • The lead up to leaving your family behind is hectic for a mom. In addition to making sure my roots were touched up, my legs were shaved and my bag was packed, I had to prepare meals, wash uniforms and outline the drop off/pick up schedule for the time I was away. A dad would have just left (not hating, just saying).
  • As a “just in case” person, I have trouble packing everything I might need in a small carry-on bag — and it takes me FOREVER to decide what to eliminate. What if it rains?!
  • I am like a kid on Christmas morning when I travel. No snooze button needed here!
  • It is very dark at 5AM and there are remarkably a lot of cars on the road at that ungodly hour … And just as many in the airport, too. WTF?!
  • The world is one big gym, but people will stare when you use the airport work space as a makeshift workout station. Oh well. #nevermissaworkout
  • Frontier Airlines is a cheap/decent option when traveling alone, without checked luggage. Just bring your own drinks/snacks.
  • I’m still perplexed as to why people clap when the pilot lands the plane successfully (read: does his job). Do those same people clap for their taxi driver, too? Or their dentist?
  • Florida weather and my hair do not get along!
  • Sometimes, a short break is all you need to get back on track. Asking for a break isn’t selfish, it’s enlightened.
  • Quality really is more important than quantity, especially when it comes to time. Make it count with deep conversations and even deeper belly laughs.
  • Bestie time is the best time — no matter how short.

Truth be told, this trip wasn’t just a present for my bestie; It was also a present for me. Leading up to my brief excursion, I was in a bit of a funk. My usual routine felt stale and simultaneously overwhelming. I was exhausted, stressed and bitter. This short break from reality was the antidote I needed to snap out of it. Yes, a day and a half isn’t much of a “getaway,” but it was the perfect amount of time to recharge and appreciate all that I have at home. Big shout out to my hubby for holding down the fort and kinda-sorta cleaning up around the house so my zen vibe wasn’t killed the minute I walked through the door (messes stress me out).

I know that skipping town in the middle of the week probably won’t happen again for a very long time, but I do plan on taking more local mini-breaks. A mani/pedi here, a coffee/tea date there, even a solo run through the hills followed by lunch at home while watching This Is Us On-Demand all sound pretty doable to me.

Preach! I don’t know who said this first, but it’s the truth.

In this crazy world of parenting, self-care is vital. In the words of the Frontier flight attendant, “Secure your mask first before assisting others.” It’s the only way to survive.


Playing Hooky, For Kid’s Sake

Friday was a warm, sunny day here in Pennsylvania — the perfect day to play hooky. Being the super awesome mom that I am (read sarcastically), I surprised my younger son with a day off from school and took him and a buddy to the NFL Draft Experience in Philadelphia as an early birthday present. My soon-to-be-11-year-old is a football fanatic, so this was a dream come true for him. Was I the coolest mom, or what? Yeah, I was … until I wasn’t.

Skipping school to attend the NFL Draft Experience … Life is good!

If you know anything about me, you know this type of event is not my thing. Far from it. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • I like my routine (morning workout, breakfast, errands, shower, lunch, writing, etc.). This was not my routine.
  • I am an introvert and need alone time each day to recharge. I did not get down time on Friday.
  • I despise crowds and have a mild case of social anxiety. Reported crowd size: 100,000 people.
  • I have too many food allergies to eat from a concession stand and outside food was prohibited. I subsisted on a bag of almonds I snuck in.
  • I drink a ton of water and pee a lot. Port-a-potties are my nemesis (I peed down my leg twice trying to avoid touching the hole/seat).
  • I get very swollen ankles when I stand for too long. Nearly 12 hours at the NFL Draft Experience = Fred Flinstone feet.
  • I am childishly impatient. Every activity had a line and every line was l-o-n-g-g-g-g!
  • I love the hot sun when I’m sitting on the beach. Philadelphia is not the beach.
  • I would do anything to make my kids happy. Case in point.

Needless to say, this was not my ideal way to spend a Friday playing hooky. I’d rather be relaxing at a spa or sitting on the beach, reading a book. But this wasn’t about me. It was about my child. Yes, I did have one or two (or maybe even three) meltdowns along the way, but I sucked it up and stuck it out for his sake because that’s what parents do; We make sacrifices for our kids, big and small. We do things we may not want to do to make them happy. Seeing my son’s face after completing the mock combine drills, hearing him talk about meeting Le’Veon Bell and watching him cheer as they called the next draft pick was pure happiness. And that was what this day was all about. So while I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than do it again, I’m glad I was able to give him an experience he’ll brag about for days and cherish for years — even if I did bitch a few times along the way.

Meeting Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers) — how happy is this kid?

With the Vince Lombardi Trophy #footballgoals

Today is my son’s actual birthday, so I’m letting him skip school again. This time, he wants to go to the movies and out for lunch. Now that’s more my speed.

Happy 11th birthday, O!