Running Away

In Relationships by Leah Wise

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Recently, I wanted to run away.

I have a 3-year-old and a 10-week-old and a wonderful husband, and I wanted to run away.

I wanted to run away from my impending grocery trip.

I wanted to run away from the construction project in our home that is now three months past the original planned completion date.

I wanted to run away from the seemingly endless search for a childcare provider.

I wanted to run away from laundry, from dishes in the sink, from my yoga pants and nursing tanks, and—I hate to say it—from the little hands and mouths that need me the most. I. Wanted. To. Run.

I told Brad, and he assured me that I didn’t need to run away.

He would.

And he would take the kids with him. Glory be!

So that day, my three loves left me all alone.

I slept in, I drank coffee in silent solitude on the couch. Then, I drank another cup. Then, I browsed through a magazine. It was deliciously quiet.

I took Lola on a walk on a long-forgotten, formerly familiar route.

We walked until my legs and lungs burned.

Back home all hot, sweaty and worn out, the black-and-white version of Leah started to feel the technicolor return.

I momentarily felt tempted to tackle tasks around the house.

But then I thought “Um. Hell no.”

I chose to fully embrace selfishness on this day off.

So, I went shopping.

I ate Doritos and a Fudgsicle for lunch. Don’t judge me.

And I got a massage. And a Blizzard.

And then I took a ridiculously long hot shower.

A shower where I shaved my legs. I used the good shampoo. I sang some Mariah Carey “Emotions” really loud.

Then I made my way into my beloved kitchen to cook for fun with no interruptions, no deadlines, no hungry mouths to feed.

I popped open a bottle of rose and I sipped, cranked up some music and cooked.

As I whipped up the fixins for a Sunday morning quiche, I realized I didn’t want to run anymore.

I just needed a few precious, life-giving hours to be me.

Not wife.

Not mom.

Not employee.

Not nanny interviewer.

Not general contractor of the never-ending basement project.

Not housekeeper.

Not playmate.

Not entertainer.

Just me.

And let me tell you … 8 hours after my family left me, I felt good.

I felt better than good. I felt content.

And I was ready for my family to come home.

Why am I sharing? I don’t really know. I guess because recently I admitted to a few trusted friends that I was at the end of my altruistic rope. And I realized I felt ashamed in that admission.

“Good Wives” and “Good Moms” don’t want to run away from the people and responsibility we love the most.

But, that just isn’t true.

Perhaps the best wives and mothers run whenever possible so that they can be the best version of themselves for each of the relationships that matter most to them.

So, if you have felt the need to run, you aren’t alone sister.

You aren’t alone.

If you are a husband, run away with your kids from your wife. And tell her she has to be selfish. If she is like me, and she needs a little encouragement to focus on herself … do it.

Let me state that I think it is equally important for me to let my husband run. I am fortunate to be in a marriage of equals, and in the husband and father department—my man does not slack. He is up early with our 3-year-old EVERY day so that I can sleep a few precious minutes longer. He takes care of our dog, makes coffee, gets breakfast made … he runs the morning shift with efficiency and grace. He then goes to a job and works hard all day to provide for our family. After work, he is back home and he jumps right back into dad mode wholeheartedly playing, feeding, bathing, storytelling, etc.

So if you are a wife, let your husband run away (guilt free, I might add) to a round of golf, a guys night out, a baseball game, whatever. They need it too.

And can we all agree to pitch in and give our single parent friends a chance to do the same? For the record, if you are parenting alone, you are a hero of epic proportions. And I mean that sincerely. And I will watch your kid for you whenever you need it. Bless!

My children are two of the greatest gifts I have ever received. I love them dearly. But Oh-My-Lawd, sometimes we all need to just be with and by ourselves.

I will be a better wife, mom, and friend because of the gift my husband gave me that day. The gift of solitude, brain and physical space, of guilt-free, self-indulgent me time.

Amen and amen.

Photo (Flickr CC) by Sarah Zucca

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Leah Wise
Leah is a wife to Brad, mom to Henry and Jane, and a marketing manager at a Fortune 500 company. If Leah ever had a whole day to herself she would get in a good workout, devour a book, eat a proper meal at one of Cincinnati’s delectable restaurants, drink a glass bottle of good wine, and then she’d take a nap … in that order.
Leah Wise

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