Mommy's Afternoon Away

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I love my kids, but I spent all week wanting to get away from them. I’m thankful to be a stay-at-home mom, but I often feel that ALL I get to do is be “Mom.” My job is ALWAYS with me. I’ve been away from Henry and Eleanor a grand total of three times in their twenty-one-and-a-half months, all short weekends away. I’d love to sneak away for three or four (or seven) days, preferably with Andy, and preferably on a beach, but the chances of that happening are very slim.

So what's a girl to do when she’s feeling a bit smothered and needs a break? She drives two hours to a grocery store. Today I fled across the state line to Cincinnati, home of Jungle Jim’s. The store posts lodging info on its web site, so it must be quite the tourist destination. It’s 300,000 square feet of regular, boring American groceries, and a huuuuuuuuge international grocery section. I spent an hour-and-a-half browsing all the international aisles, studying the labels of foods from China, Malaysia, India, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Holland, Italy, Greece, and others. There was a wall full of alphabetized hot sauces, and kangaroo, antelope, and alligator for sale in the meat department. I found some favorite candy bars from England, Mexican Coke, plantains and guava like I enjoyed in Costa Rica, Dutch mayonnaise french fry dipping sauce for Andy to savor, Italian balsamic vinegar, Indian curry simmer sauce, shea butter from Ghana, beer from the Hofbrau Haus in Germany, bacon-flavored potato chips from England, and cookies from France. I might not be able to use my passport much any more, but now I can just go into my kitchen and feel like I’m traveling.

Luckily, Ikea was just over the hill, another behemoth store that took forever to wander through. I strolled past each room set-up, complete with books on the shelves and clothes in the closets, and of course wanted to buy everything. I stocked up on some items for the kiddos—a play tent, blankets, a nightlight, some plates and bowls—and bought some glasses, wooden hangers, and a closet organizer-thing for myself. I sat and ate a cinnamon roll from the café (with no little munchkins begging for some; it was heaven), people-watched, and then headed back to Indiana.

I warned Andy that I’m going to try to be selfish a bit more this year and ask for a little more time away from Henry and Eleanor. I’m in this stay-at-home-mom gig for the long haul, and I think being good at my job means getting away from my job every now and then. This afternoon was a good start.


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