A mere three-minute walk from my home, there is a quaint little cafe and bookstore. With a beautiful garden out back, it is no wonder so many mommies treat it like their own backyard. Once a week, they host a modest story time where the friendly lady who runs the bookstore does a few read alouds with the kids.
Quite frankly, it’s more for the moms than it is the kids. It serves as an opportunity for us to get together and have someone else make funny voices and faces as they read to our children, while we (finally!) get a chance to turn off our “baby voices” and speak in our “adult voices”.
Last week, at story time, my little guy was sitting quietly on my lap listening attentively (shocking!). One of the other moms I had gotten to know quite well, Amy, was seated next to us with her boys. Her husband walked through the door. Rather abruptly, she got up and made a beeline for the door. At first, I didn’t quite understand what had happened. Was everything alright?
And then it hit me. Amy had to take a Just Me Walk.
The Just Me Walk is not a rarity at all. As a matter of fact, its incidence is more widespread and common among mothers than any other vocation. While private sector jobs offer elaborate break rooms, refreshments, and snacks to keep employee morale and productivity high, stay-at-home motherhood has no such perks. Even bathroom breaks are a luxury as is quite accurately depicted by this meme:
Motherhood is a 24/7 job with little or no breaks. Sometimes, just sometimes, there is a larger than life force that overcomes us moms. In a moment of desperation, we need to take a Just Me Walk.
No stroller. No baby carrier. No diaper bag.
A few moments to hear my own thoughts, to not think about diapers, baby food, vacuuming, and all that populates the stay-at-home-mom-to-do-list.
So, when Amy made a run for the front door, I didn’t need to check if I smelled like vomit; I knew she was having one of those days, and needed to take a Just Me Walk. The other moms in the room simply smiled and nodded in understanding. We all have those days where we stare longingly at the front door, waiting for our partners to walk in so we can take a few minutes to ourselves.
Luckily, despite the high rates of incidence, the Just Me Walk runs a short course. After a short stroll around the block (or city), I find myself wondering what my little guy is up to now. I am missing his smiling face, bright eyes, and the scent of his soft baby skin. And, sometimes, that’s all it takes. I find my way back home, rejuvenated and simply delighted to see him again.