The Great Mom Strike 2016 Part 3

Well, it’s almost over. My extended sabbatical has permitted me to find that elusive calmness and peace that comes when we are alone with our thoughts and at one with our universe. I have spoken little in these three days. To my husband and daughter yes, of course, but only to a select few. I have tried to regain as much as possible my own vision of the world.  As I edited and worked on my book, I  became lost in my characters and their dramas. I am elated that I was a grown up and actually got 150 pages edited. I am well on my way to the completion of this task.  I also have felt my creativity bubble to the surface like steam emerging from a tea kettle.

This ability to be alone, which I truly was afraid I had lost, came back to me in full force on this sabbatical.  I have been alone before in the last 16 years of marriage, but always for a “reason”. I was going to a conference, or to visit my parents or some other “reason”.  This is truly the first time in 16 years of marriage that I have had the courage or the opportunity to just take a “time out”.  To focus on a personal project that I knew I needed space and time to concentrate on.  I was single for 20 years before my marriage. I remember all too well my “alone time”. I learned to be happy on my own, although I longed always to find my “mate” and have a child.  Life is about balance, and it is also about being happy with one’s self. No one, as they often tell you, can make you happy. You must find the joy that comes from inside of you.  These past three days people watching and observing, alone in the restaurant booth, reading my book or just gazing and not talking, I found joy. Alone in my hotel room, with CNN on mute, my laptop blaring an old funny movie or t.v. show that I had transferred to an external hard drive, and my other laptop open to my writing and editing, I found joy. I found her where she had always been. Inside me.

Tomorrow I go home. My joy is there too. My beautiful and talented daughter and my incredibly loving and supportive husband. My sabbatical had nothing to do with them. But in the end, it was for them. When I finally checked my email, one of my daily reminders seemed appropriate

And that, dear friends, is probably the most important thing I have done during this time. The Strike is over. Everyone can now get back to work.

 

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The Great Mom Strike of 2016 Day 2- Extended

The Mom Strike continues. Sort of. Yesterday I spent over an hour on face time with my daughter Samantha as she struggled with a paper. Most of the time, I said nothing–she just needed me to be there. I continued to edit my book, as she wrote her essay for English on Romeo and Juliet. I couldn’t help but think of facetimes to come. She’s a first year high school student.  There will be more essays to come, finals, college.  When you are using face time however, there are no dishes to do and nothing to dust.  Although I did spy a messy desk through the small monitor of the phone. I didn’t have to deal with it however, as it is THERE and L am HERE.  I negotiated with my husband Chris to call a teacher that needed to be talked to NOW. He able to resolve the issue neatly and tidily.  It’s a guy thing. Women tend to make things way more complicated. That isn’t a sexist comment. I am a Woman. This gives me the right to comment on at least some of my fairer sex.  So despite the fact that I am over 100 hundred miles away, I still had to do some Mom work. I hope the strike captain doesn’t hear about this.

I awakened and immediately got to work. Didn’t go down to have breakfast even. By noon, I felt the need to climb out of my hole, and have some lunch. My brain cells are beginning to put themselves back together I think. By the time I finished my lunch, I stopped by the Front desk with a crazy idea. What if I stayed another night? I knew it couldn’t be that much–but I wanted something to sway me away from this fanciful idea.  The lady said, “I think you have another comp night”  “No, really?” I smiled in disbelief. Sure enough I did. Well, I took that as a sign the universe was on board with this extension of the strike.   I booked it and then phoned home. My husband was delighted actually, and, my daughter, after a momentary panic of “I have to be with Dad one more day alone? said “whatever mom,if you feel you have to” which in teen lingo is pretty much the best you are going to get in terms of a thumbs up.

it is now day 3 and I had a fairly restful night. Save for the fire alarm that awakened us all at 3 am. Strangely, I didn’t panic. Although I did manage to  prepare myself to get out. By the time, the sirens ended, I knew it was a true false alarm and just went to bed. I am on the first floor, so my “escape” would have been fairly simplistic. Even I don’t panic when I know I have an easy out.  I try always to get a first floor in hotels because a) I have traveled so much that elevators have lost their thrill and b) waiting for an elevator is probably one of the worst time wasters I have yet to find.  And yes, I do give a fleeting nod to the fact that if there were a fire I would be one of the first evacuees.  However, I must have have stayed in hundreds if not thousands of hotels in my life….and last night was the first time I have ever had a fire alarm sound.

The best thing about my self imposed strike?  That for a few days I don’t have to share.  This sharing thing is quite overrated.  I love my husband and daughter with every fiber of my being–I couldn’t imagine life without them. However, every fiber  of my being is responding quite nicely to this life of handling the remote, dinner, whatever I want to do when I want to do. Before I came I wasn’t worried about being alone. I was worried that I would wallow in it, that I wouldn’t remember how to be alone (remember that I was married at 37, so I had almost 20 years of being alone). It was as if I didn’t trust myself. Well, as they, like riding a bicycle..it all comes flooding back.  And I haven’t been lying or putting things off about my writing. I just needed space, physical, emotional, mental, to write. Get myself back on track by letting my train get off the tracks. The Conductor that is life will inevitably call my train back into service.  Until then, I am happy to stay in the yard and retool, refuel and recharge.

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Mom Strike of 2016 Day 1

Well, I didn’t really go on strike. But I did do something that was completely out of character. I took off down that highway and didn’t look back. Granted I booked it over three weeks ago, Got it free from the hotel because I was a frequent guest, planned my daughter’s lunches and organized my husband’s dinners. I picked a time that would be least offensive.  Heck I even picked the 29th of February–cause it was like the universe was giving me an extra day anyway!  But I laughed when I tried to get out of my little town.  I couldn’t exactly remember just where the turn off was.  How the heck do I get out of here.  A momentary confusion was immediately confronted with my survival skills–I switched lanes and made the turn in the nick of time. You see my husband generally drives so I spend my time taking selfies, talking to him about our plans or just daydreaming about our adventure.  I rarely actually pay attention to the road. Today, I took the driver’s seat.  And the road looked very different.  i can’t deny there wasn’t  a bit of anxiety.  Not as much as I had feared. But enough for me to keep telling myself, I can do this, I can do this. I AM Doing this.  Honestly, the little engine that could had it easier.

The basic idea is that I wanted to get away to focus on my book. To get it finally ready to send to Amazon.  As I drove here today, through mountains and desert, a complete three hours of solitary drive time, I was comforted by the fact that I could talk on the phone to my closet and dearest (my husband made the list). However, there were spots along the way where the cell service was completely gone.  I was completely alone. There was a moment of terror, and then all of a sudden I laughed.  Just like life.  Just when you most need someone or something, it’s not available–and you must rely on your own self.  Because the universe knows you don’t really need it.  You gotta go down this road on your alone–at least part of it.  There was something extraordinarily cleansing about this process. When I saw the familiar 3g appear or even better 4g I breathe a sigh of relief–but also of pride, for I knew that I had managed to get through all on my own.

I was giddy when I arrived, so giddy that instead of going to my hotel immediately,  I took a detour to a favorite restaurant. I sat and quietly had lunch, reading emails and catching up on some news. When I arrived at the hotel a full three hours before check in, I hauled my 4 pieces of luggage (yes I over pack–even for a two night stay) into the lobby and laughingly said to the lady at registration “I’m ridiculously early, but I’m just letting you know I’m here”.  She smiled and said “You’re in luck, I can get into your room immediately.”  I took a nap, awakened and then got right to work.  I had some dinner and did a little gambling (even won some money) but returned to my room and continued to quietly work away.

Sometimes by going on strike we end up in a stronger bargaining postion. The thing with Moms is that there isn’t a union representative or mediator. We must be our own lobbyist and advocates. The only Table we will approach is our own dining room table.  But it looks different when you haven’t had to set it for a few days 🙂