I just came back from a 5-day trip that was all about me. Okay, it was about work, but it was all about my work. I had adult conversations without being asked to get anyone a meal, drink, or take them somewhere. (Well, technically I did, but it was from adults who actually returned the favor and asked me if I wanted anything.) I was not in demand 24/7. If I am going to be totally truthful, I have to tell you it felt nice.
I am a strong believer that the best way to be a good mom is to take care of yourself first and then you are better able to be good to your family. Like putting on your oxygen mask first and then putting it on your children. This was my oxygen mask. My time to be me without worrying about anyone else. I enjoyed my time away. I felt relaxed and energized at the same time.
Until the night before I left.
Suddenly I was aware that I was having so much fun with friends, was so busy networking and so busy just having fun I forgot to do what every mom must do when leaving town without her children: Bring home goodies.
I was out of time, short on money and, honestly, too tired to go in search of anything beyond a tourist t-shirt.
Then? Brilliance struck. The swag – conference Stuff We All Get — bags that I had piled up in my hotel room. That night I sat on the hotel floor and sorted through all of the many bags of items offered. I hit pay dirt for my 7 year old. I mean, what young girl doesn’t like things that blink, shine, sing and are wearable? I knew Gabrie would be in heaven with all of the things I could bring back for her to enjoy.
Then I looked through the swag for things to give to my boys.
It boiled down to a jump drive for each (that I really did want to keep), a coffee cup (they totally would not want) and some chocolate (give up chocolate?). But I knew better than attempting to go home empty handed.
As I unloaded my suitcase at home, Gabrie was mesmerized by the amazing loot she acquired. She thought I was the coolest mom ever for bringing her so much!
The boys? They looked at their offerings. They looked at me. They looked at their dad. They thanked me. (If nothing else, they show respect.) I explained the situation of the swag and why there was so much for her and I had minimal offers for them. I explained that I did not actually buy anyone anything. They were just happy I resisted the urge to get them a tourist t-shirt. After seeing my daughter with her piles of loot and my boys with their jump drives, I looked at them and just said, “GameStop?”
Suddenly, my trip was a hit with them and they scored. Mom was suddenly the best ever for going out of town.
The next time I leave town? T-shirts for everyone – whether they like them or not.