Monday, January 23, 2012

Mama Weekend Away in 10 Steps or Less

view from my hotel
Yesterday at 4:30pm Mama Weekend Away came to an end.  It was earlier than I had planned - I was originally intending to stay until 7pm, and was considering extending it to Monday morning since the snow last week made a mess of my Friday plans.

But as it turned out, 2 days was just enough.  My hotel offered me late checkout for free until 2pm but if I wanted to stay later, it was going to cost half the night's rate.  At that point, I was fully relaxed, and ready to go back to my sweet peeps at home.   So at 4:30, TJ and BabyT came to pick me up, and I was radiantly happy to see them.

So what did I do with 2 whole days to myself?  I soaked in the giant tub. I blogged. I set up a personal OneNote notebook to organize stuff I had randomly written down in various notebooks, stuffed in my wallet, or in the Drafts folder of my email accounts. I set up my phone the way I liked it (more on that in a later post too).  I ate and slept on my schedule, which meant staying up until 2am one night, and sleeping till 11 the next day.  I walked a couple of miles in downtown Seattle just for the heck of it.  I read the newspaper for the first time in ages. I organized the photos for this week's Project Life pages.  I got a haircut and color (badly needed!) and a completely unnecessary 90 minute massage and swanky pedicure at the hotel's spa. I did some introspection on how I could fit exercise into my busy schedule, what my "perfect day" looked like, and thought about some habits I need to change.

As I've mentioned before, I'm an introvert so this weekend was all about me getting quiet time to myself.  I didn't make plans to meet friends.  I wanted to play it by ear, and see what *I* felt like doing as the days unfolded.  I didn't really talk to anyone, except during the basic transactions for eating, spa-ing, and hoteling.

It was FANTASTIC.  Last week's Snowmageddon, stuck in the house with cabin crazy toddler and dogs, made me seriously grumpy.  This weekend away was refreshing, soothing, and inspiring.  Totally selfish, but totally worth it.

Here's how I made it happen, and how you can too.

1.  Asked kickass husband if he was ok with the idea.  Yes, I did ask for permission, because after all, he was an integral part of the plan.  Someone had to feed, clothe and entertain BabyT and the dogs all weekend!

2. Looked for local hotel deals on Hotwire and Expedia, just a few weeks in advance.  I wanted to stay somewhere pretty swanky, but it's not a requirement.  I just like swanky hotels.  I decided that it needed to be downtown Seattle, because downtown Bellevue or Kirkland just weren't "away" enough.  If I were feeling even more adventurous, I would have considered a 3ish hour drive to Portland or Vancouver, but I just didn't want to spend that many precious hours in the car.

3. Chose a hotel carefully.  Some hotels have free wifi, and some don't (charging as much as $15/day!).  Some of the older hotels don't have any wifi at all, so if it's important to you, make sure you check ahead of time.  Parking is a similar story - some include it in the rate, and others will charge you as much as $50/day (no joke!!!).  I wanted somewhere that had decent restaurants and a spa within walking distance.  Other people might be interested in good shopping - I just wasn't in the mood for it.  Check reviews and make sure there isn't anything bad that jumps out at you.  I wasn't searching solely on price, but I couldn't stomach the rate at the (lovely) Four Seasons - $259/night.  Maybe next time :)

4. Secured child care.  Not only did I need my husband to agree to be "All Daddy, All the Time" this weekend, we had to figure something out for Friday (a day when BabyT would normally be home with me).  Fortunately, her daycare had an open spot so she went there for an extra day this week.  If they didn't, I would have checked with our awesome college-student babysitter or my parents, if they were in town.  Since I didn't have a particular date in mind, childcare availability drove my choice of weekend.

5.  Planned a high level agenda.  That sounds horrifying for a relaxing weekend away, I know.  But I didn't want to sit around in the hotel wondering what I should do.  So I made a high level list of what I might like to do (no commitment), and loaded up my electronics/packed accordingly.  I'm a high tech kind of girl, so I brought my Kindle, my phone and my laptop, and chargers for everything.  I copied files from our home server to my laptop for things I thought I might work on.  The key here was not to commit to doing anything, just to have a variety of things available, so if I felt like doing a bit of something, I'd have what I needed.  Note that this DID NOT include work from my job :).  Most of it was personal organization stuff I never get to at home.  I ended up not bringing anything crafty, which worked out just fine.

6.  Made appointments for pampering (optional).  This depends on how attached you are to the idea of a spa day, mani/pedi or haircut.  If it's a must-do, then get an appointment beforehand.  You may not be able to waltz in and get services on the spot, and you don't want to be disappointed that you didn't get to something you REALLY wanted to do.  I was kind of "meh" before I left about pampering, so I left it up to chance and called the spa and hair salon when I got to the hotel.  I was lucky and they had appointments open, likely due to our wretched weather.  Also, it's not wedding season yet - on summer weekends in Seattle it's nearly impossible to get services without appointments booked a few weeks ahead of time.

7.  Figured out transportation.  My original plan was to drive myself, hence my search for a rate that included secure parking.  The best laid plans were disrupted with our Snowpocalypse, so TJ had to drive me instead.  He was willing (awesomest husband ever!) and it worked out just fine.  I could have taken a bus home if I was coming back after T's bedtime but decided against that.  Again, depending on how adventurous your weekend is, you may need to book plane or train tickets, or figure out bus schedules.

8. Held the dates sacred on my calendar.  I had a few potential requests on my time at work and some social engagements.  I declined them.  T was getting a cold, but I knew TJ could handle it.  This was MY time.  It's tempting to reschedule because "it's just me" and I could do it anytime, but I knew I wouldn't.  I had to do a lot of legwork to make this happen so I wasn't willing to compromise or move it.  Be strong!

9. Was kind to myself.  Obviously, just having this weekend away was a sort of kindness to my self, but I also didn't want it to be jam-packed full of expectations and tasks.  I didn't want to run through a list and have it complete at the end.  Manicure, check! 10 minutes of reviewing goals, check! Relaxing bath, check!  Um, no.  I let myself "float" through the weekend.  For once, I really thought about what I wanted to do that moment.  Sometimes it was just veg out with my Kindle, even though that OneNote project was beckoning.  I completely ignored the task of getting the last 3 months of 2011 photos sorted and edited. I just wasn't feeling it, and that was OK.

10.  Went home when I was ready.  Before I left that I wanted this weekend to be as LONG as possible. I was stressed out and needed time to decompress and focus on my larger goals.  But on Sunday, I was ready to rejoin my "real life" again.  I missed TJ, BabyT and the pups.  (Though not Spike's barking.)  So I slept in (till 11!!), packed up slowly, grabbed some lunch, then went home.   As a bonus, this gave TJ a break to go watch some important football, and T & I went to get Thai food, on her request.  It was a LOVELY evening.

So that's it.  Not rocket science of course.  I think it's something I'd like to do twice a year.  And of course, TJ can take a weekend off as well.  We both like the idea of getting a weekend off at home alone, so we might try to take BabyT on a short road trip somewhere, now that she's a bit older.

So, thoughts?  Would you take a Mama Weekend Away?  Or a Daddy Weekend Away?  What would you do?  Where would you go?


  1. Bravo! So far my adventurous time away has been for the 2-day craft shows. Because its something I enjoy, takes me away from the family life and requires husband and babysitter childcare. Otherwise my "me time" is for workouts that sometimes are during the dinner hour.
    I can see myself organizing something like this.
    And I have taken my son places leaving daddy some alone. He usually likes to work and be with friends.

  2. I've gone away a lot to visit friends but never on my own. I might not be able to swing it this year since I'd rather travel to shoot!

  3. I'm so glad you had your much needed Momma weekend. Congrats on being kind to yourself.

    I have been thinking about doing a girls crafting weekend somewhere and have been checking with misc friends who have cabins all over the place. I think it'd be fun for a handful of us to go away and just craft and drink wine.

  4. I've done a mom weekend away, but on a bigger scale--I went (twice) to visit my friend in NYC. It was wonderful but it also made me miss my babies a little bit too much. Maybe some day I'll go to Portland or Vancouver on my own instead...

  5. @Laura - 2-day craft shows are like work, though! You need a vacation :)

    @LauraC - you could do a shooting trip where you didn't know anyone, and then get both!

    @Jenn - if I can convince TJ, I'm totally in for your crafty weekend. There's a cabin rental on Camano Island called 'Craft Hideaway' or something that looks PERFECT for that sort of thing!

    @Shalini - Wow, NYC is a long trip, but probably tons of fun! Yay for you. Depends on what you're looking for, but I love both YVR and Portland too.

  6. This is an awesome idea Anandi!! I am so happy for you that you took some time out for yourself! :) I think this is something I would like to consider doing since I am working on starting a business in the next couple of years and I really need some solid time to work on it.

  7. In lieu of an entire weekend away, I've been doing "Daddy-Daughter Sundays" where I duck out for 3-5 hours of me time. Sometimes it's alone time, sometimes it's social. Either way, I get some sanity back, and Ryan gets some bonding time and care practice (lunch, diaper change, nap). We've managed to keep this up for most of the weekends since we started back in December.

  8. When I'm at conferences without the fam I read lots of novels. Sometimes I will get a haircut.

  9. @Trista, Hi!! I just read about your business idea, and it's SO cool. If you lived here, we'd totally hire you :D

    @Divs - this is great too. Maybe even better, because you have regular time you can count on for yourself. TJ and I used to do this but fell out of the habit. We might need to reinstate it.

    @nicoleandmaggie - I cannot believe how f'in hard it is to get a haircut, an eyebrow wax, or get medical tests done now that I have a kid. Either I need to take time off work (which is precious since I work half-time) or bargain w/ hubby, and it's SUCH a pain. I guess on the bright side, it's saving me money because I go to get those services much less frequently.


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