Thursday, April 2, 2015

Reflections on Traveling without Kids

Reentry after spending time away from the kids is difficult enough, but coming back to dreary, cold Michigan makes it even harder.

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Napa Valley Reflections on Traveling without the Kids
It's spring in Napa Valley!

Getting back to the routine was surprisingly easy.  No, easy is not the right word.  It’s kind of like jumping into freezing cold water and then swimming because if not, you will drown.  So it’s more like survival.

Before Napa Valley and Ojai Valley seem like far, distant memories, there were a few thoughts I needed to share before they fade away.


See this salad? 

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Napa Valley Reflections on Traveling without the Kids

I had it Ca’ Momi at the Oxbow Public Market  It’s asparagus topped with frisee and a crumbled hardboiled egg dressed with the most delicious lemon vinaigrette I have ever tasted.  The woman who made this salad prepared it with so much love and attention to detail.  I am sure that she does this for every salad, but somehow this made me feel really special.

Right then and there, while I was marveling at how the sweet-tart lemon dressing perfectly complimented the asparagus and frisee, I realized that I am not nice enough to myself.  Sure, I go to yoga and treat myself to coffee, but it’s always mashed in between something like grading assignments or volunteering at the kids’ school.

 I am not even sure how to incorporate this kind of focused, non-hurried moment in my life at this time, but I am sure going to try because it felt amazing.


Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Napa Valley Reflections on Traveling without the Kids
Oh, hey.  I remember you.

Between swim practice and Lego club and making lunches and filling water bottles and the Never. Ending. Bedtime. Routine, I sometimes forget that I used to have a great time with my husband.  Not that we don’t have a great time together now; it’s just not the same when we are squeezing in a date night at the end of a long week and trying to stay up until the babysitter has put the kids down to sleep.

I realize that even though we do a decent job scheduling a date night (even if it’s a half-assed one that includes running errands at Target), we definitely do not spend enough undivided time together. 

I am not saying that we need to leave our kids for a week and go clear across the country every time we want to spend time together.  However, I am saying that after spending time in a place like Napa, buying orange juice at Target should not be considered a date night.


More specifically, Bouchon croissants.  Every morning at our stay at The Cottages of Napa (which I totally recommend because they were quaint and unique as a traditional B & B, but more private since we had our own kitchen/patio to eat), we had a basket of Bouchon baked goods delivered for breakfast. 

The croissants were lovely, buttery, flaky perfection.  Also, the blueberry muffin was so perfect, I don’t know how I am supposed to eat one that is not baked at Bouchon.

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Napa Valley Bouchon Reflections on Traveling without the Kids
My wish is for Bouchon to deliver croissants to me in Michigan


It’s one thing to pair up a cheap (yet satisfying) glass of wine with some Golden Grahams because you are tired and desperate after a long day, but it is entirely different to learn the history of the vineyard, learn about the wine making process, and savor a glass with a delectable bite of food that pairs perfectly with that glass of wine. 

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot Napa Valley Robert Mondavi Reflections on Traveling without the Kids
Robert Mondavi

I love my kids.  I love them more than I thought I could love anything in the whole entire world.  But parenting is hard.  So very hard.  I sometimes feel guilty for wanting needing a break, and other times, I don’t even recognize that I need a break because I am too far deep in the parenting trenches to even know there is life happening elsewhere.

This trip really helped me remember how refreshed I feel after I enjoy moments that are separate from the kids. And more importantly, I realized that refilling my tank should not be associated with any kind of guilty feelings.

Have you taken a break away from being a parent?  Where did you go?  What did you do?  How did you feel?

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