me. myself. and i.

May 9th, 2012

A while back I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Sharon (who I got to meet at this dinner!). She wrote about her yearly weekend away. Alone. No kids. No husband.

I finished reading and then just sort of stared off for a while, thinking. Thinking about what I would do with 2 days completely alone.  Thinking about the last time I had done just that. And realizing that the answer was………….NEVER.

Yes, I’ve had my share of “Mom’s Days”.  And I did a teeny amount of business travel, way back before kids. But I don’t count those.

What I was now thinking obsessing about was 2 days away from home, alone. No plans, no schedule, no reservations.  And I decided that I wanted to do this. When and how, I didn’t know. But even just thinking about it made me giddy with the possibilities.

And then we had “one of those” months. And though  it wasn’t quite earth shattering, it was just enough of a game-changer to add just enough stress to just about push me to the edge of my reserves.

You know about reserves, right? As a mom, they are in endless supply. Till one day they’re not. And then you’re running on fumes, thinking you’ve still got it all under control because you have to. Because EVERYONE is counting on you. Because no one can do it as well as you.

But I eventually broke. And Mike saw it coming and asked what he could do. And I told him I needed to get away, just for a night, to clear my head and fill up those reserves.

So last Saturday morning I packed up and drove off, checking in to a hotel near Union Square Park.

I took the subway to Brooklyn to check out Dekalb Market, a unique flea and food market – unique because it operates out of a collection of salvaged shipping containers, and houses a working farm too. The combination of the gray skies, brightly colored containers and overall grittiness of the setting made for a totally engaging morning. It was a great beginning (the Robicelli’s cupcake didn’t hurt).

union square subway station, nyc

dekalb market, brooklyn

dekalb market, brooklyn

And then I started walking.

manhattan bridge, DUMBO

I walked to DUMBO, and had a light lunch at One Girl Cookies’ new shop.

I walked through Brooklyn Bridge Park – the gleaming Jane’s Carousel, tucked between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, is always a joy to see.

jane's carousel, manhattan bridge

I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge – one of my very favorite things to do.

brooklyn bridge

I walked through lower Manhattan and was treated to things I don’t often see.

An awesome break dancing troupe.

break dancer, nyc

A historic fire house, inspired by a French chateau.

 engine 31, nyc

And a quirky store that had the greatest selection of tape ever (yes, I bought a box).

top hat, nyc

After a brief respite back at the hotel I went out for dinner at my fave burger joint, where I was treated to two guys singing Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers (they even took requests!).

And then I crashed, surrounded by my lap top, magazines, DVD’s and garden sketches.  It was messy and wonderful.

Next morning I ate breakfast in my room and worked (in bed) for a few hours. I wasn’t sure about how I wanted to finish my day, but it was a glorious afternoon so I headed up to the High Line. It was packed with tourists, as I knew it would be, but there were a few pockets of peacefulness nonetheless.

high line, nyc

high line, nyc

high line, nyc

And then I went home.

It may not seem like a big deal – I was only gone for 30 hours – but it felt like so much more. And in many ways it WAS more.  I didn’t have to “work backward” from a nap, or a meal or a departure time.  The day was completely open–ended, allowing me to change course, backtrack and linger – without any thought to having to be any place else.

I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Some good:

one girl cookies, DUMBO

Most, not so much:

babycakes, nyc

shake shack, nyc

I viewed the city from vantage points, and during times of day that I don’t normally get to see:

w hotel, union square park, nyc

park avenue south, nyc

union square park, nyc

And I was quiet. Even in the thick of all the people, cars and noise, I didn’t have to talk  – or listen. I got to just be in my own head, and I walked and walked, and thought my thoughts till I could actually feel those reserves filling back up.

My dear and very wise friend Kerri talks about this concept often – about the need for all of us, but especially moms, to make time for ourselves. And I listen, nod vigorously and agree wholeheartedly. And then never do it.  And I have only myself to blame.

After dinner I told Mike all about my weekend, how great it was, and how much I appreciated it. He suggested that maybe I do it a few times a year, and my immediate reaction was, “Oh, no, no no. That’s way too much. Once a year is perfect”.

Okay, maybe twice.

We’ll see.

I’m curious – whether you’re single or not, with kids big, little or even all grown up – do you make it a priority to give yourself “you time”? And what does that mean to each of you? I’d love to know.

Click here for more photos of my NYC adventure.

42 Responses to “me. myself. and i.”

  • I think it’s great for both parents to take a little time for themselves, and that may mean something different to each of them. I have traveled alone and really love the independence, but I am thinking of going someplace local to get away real soon! I am glad you did it, and hopefully it was guilt free!!! And I must now eat one of those donuts…… 🙂

  • Ahhhh…..it *almost* feels like I got away too, gazing at your pictures and imagining myself there. So glad you got some much-needed Sherri time. Hugs.

    • sheri silver says:

      Already feels distant but the after effects are still “in place”. Much needed. And thanks for the hugs. xo

  • Sheri, this is one of my favorite things that you’ve ever written. Truly beautiful and inspiring. I can’t think of the last time I spent 24 hours completely alone. But now I want to. And I want to do it in NYC! The pictures were also gorgeous. Thanks.

    • sheri silver says:

      Thank you SO much – for all of your lovely thoughts here (and always). If you do it in NYC I’ll plan (from afar) some fun stuff. And I won’t even stalk you. Promise. xo

  • I have been going on an annual “by myself” trip to NYC for a number of years now. Both for the time alone to recharge and for the creative inspiration of museums and theatre and galleries and walking. All that walking.

    When the girl was a baby, a real tiny baby, I’d scoot away for one night in a hotel in town. Even that was heaven!

  • Love that you did this! You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself. Good move on buying the tape too. I’m jel.

    • sheri silver says:

      Hey you – thanks so much. Yes, the tape was a good move – stay tuned for some mad gift-wrapping tutorials! 🙂 Love how you phrased this; I need to remember the “taking care of me” part more often.

  • Sheri, this is perfect! And one of those things the universe has been saying to me again and again lately. Karen Walrond talked about it a bit this week, having a whole day to herself at a hotel to do whatever she wanted, and Sandra was doing the same thing when she visited NYC. I LOVE the idea. I have been regularly grabbing a few hours to myself over the last few years, since I have had kids, but never an overnight. Might be time to make that change. I have 3 hours to myself every weekday, but there is always something coming up that I have to remember. For me the pleasure would be in having no deadlines, no one to think about but me, and not having to talk. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • sheri silver says:

      Thanks Leslie – yes, before Noah, my kids were gone all day for school. And while I enjoyed those long stretches I was always (as you know) “mindful” of a stop-time. NOT having that was probably one of the highlights of the weekend for me (and the NO talking – even I get tired of the sound of my own voice after a while!) 🙂

  • Zoe Denahy says:

    Looks like a terrific time! We do need experiences like these for perspectives on our lives.

  • oh wow. your 20 hours away sounds dreamy! i love what you chose to do with your time. perfect day! i have got to go to the Dekalb Market–i’ve never heard of it!

    ps thanks for the shout out 🙂

    • sheri silver says:

      Thanks Sharon! You know what a fan I am of your blog; this post really resonated with me in particular! 🙂

  • Sheri, I am so inspired! And impressed! And I don’t know why, but incredibly proud. I love to see moms take time for themselves. 20 hours—it’s not a lot, and yet, it makes all the difference in the world.

    So happy you had a lovely weekend.

    • sheri silver says:

      Thank you so much – I really appreciate that comment as I felt “proud” too (and felt weird feeling it!) – you expressed why better than I ever could. It really did make all the difference. Hope our paths cross a little closer soon! 🙂

  • Loved, loved, loved this post! Bravo — you deserved it! And as always, your photos are gorgeous.

  • Sheri,

    Just last night, I told my husband that the best mothers day gift would be a gift card that entitles me to 24 hours alone locked in a hotel room! I swear, had this very conversation! I was sort of joking because it sounds ridiculous at first. But I was sort of serious too! Love that you did this. Hope I do it someday (soon!). I assure you my day would involve lots of walking and good eats too. And probably some retail therapy ;). xo

  • Amy Zerman says:

    You have me fantasizing about what I would do. Maybe a day at the Cloisters, the Frick, high tea and a long walk downtown. Feels good just to think about it.

  • Amy stein says:

    I LOVE this post!! It might even be my favorite.

  • Kerri Warner says:

    My dear friend and neighbor…so delighted you did it – did YOU! It’s amazing how much joy there is in somewhat ordinary things when we’re fully present in these moments. Couldn’t love you more! XO

  • That is so true – I always promise that I will make time for myself but never do. Your 30 hour absence from the home-front sounds wonderful. How lovely to have that serenity and timelessness and lack of scheduling. Yes, once or twice a year of this kind of break sounds very therapeutic xx

    • sheri silver says:

      It truly was – I’m still feeling the benefits, almost a week later! Thanks for your thoughts as always – your comments always put a smile on my face!

  • I am in need of this badly. Even with several hours during the week kid-free, there is that awful stop time as you mention.

    What a fantastic write up and I loved seeing the city through your eyes. I would have done the same things like walking without any plans and stopping into shops unexpectedly. Love a day like that.

    I’m going to plan my NYC weekend soon!!

    xo

    • sheri silver says:

      Thanks so much Jill – it truly is different when the day is open-ended. I had a glimpse of a “full day” before Noah, as my older kids were 12 and 17, yet that “clock” is always ticking, right? xo

  • FINALLY I get to read this! And I knew I would love it, because this is the exact same thing I like to do! I’ve done it three times now–staying for a whole weekend alone in a hotel downtown. Granted, downtown Knoxville is not NYC, but you’d be surprised how much there is to see and do. And a big part of what I did was walk! (http://lesliesholly.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/two-walks/) There is something so refreshing and soul-calming about total aloneness when you are not used to it. I come back with a feeling of balance and peace that are hard to shake–at least for awhile. 🙂 Glad you got to experience it too!

    • sheri silver says:

      Oh Leslie, thank you! Just read your post and your “walks” sounded great! Soul-calming – I love that! And total aloneness too – ahhhhh xoxo

  • I’m so glad you were able to take a break. I’m a firm believer or moms taking a break every once in awhile. I’ve been on a few trips by myself and it makes it so much easier to come home and be a good mom again. Or at least better than I was before I left.

    I love all these photos. It makes me miss NYC so much. Maybe I’ll have to plan a little trip out by myself this summer. 🙂

  • Sheri, I’m going away this weekend (to a yoga retreat). It’s Friday to Sunday and I keep wondering, is it enough? Is it too much? When we’re in the thick of it, it’s so hard to gauge how much time we need to actually fill those reserves. This weekend, I’ll be inspired by your 30 hours. xo

    • sheri silver says:

      Have fun Britta – for me, the complete “unplannedness” (is that a word?) was key – and I think made the time feel more indulgent and slow-paced. It felt like just enough. Please let me know how your weekend is (maybe over a drink soon?)! xo

  • This post is so interesting but mostly because I can’t even fathom the idea of having only 30 hours alone in an entire year! I recently moved to a new country and pretty much have all the alone time I could possibly want but I often read and hear stories from different mothers about the importance of this alone time. Two girlfriends are visiting soon without their children or husbands and this post makes me think perhaps a very open schedule may be the best agenda, so thanks!

    • sheri silver says:

      It’s all about perspective, right? I appreciate your take on this – enjoy your friends’ visit – let me know if you change plans! 🙂

  • Sheri – it sounds like a lovely adventure! I’m sorry it’s been such a rough time for you, but glad you were able to take some time to yourself. It’s so very important. I hope you can enjoy more such days!

    • sheri silver says:

      Thank you so much – I look forward to doing this again sooner than 20 years from now! xo

  • This is so great and so necessary and why is it so hard to do?

    But you know what line resonated with me the most? The idea of not having to listen. I didn’t realize how exhausted I am as a parent at having to listen so much. Thanks for the lovely post and sharing so many beautiful images.

    • sheri silver says:

      Thanks so much for your note! This post clearly struck a chord with many moms out there. And I DON’T know why it’s so hard – in the end, it was really so easy. Best part? I was feeling the benefits of it almost a week later! 🙂

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