Being a mom means so many things. It means loving people so much that you worry about them constantly. It means learning to be selfless, losing sleep and elasticity in various body parts. Lately, for me, it has also meant losing a little of myself. I didn’t mean for it to happen. But, in the last five years, I’ve had two kids, turned 38 and have become someone who tries so hard to be Supermom.
I run my own business while staying home full-time with my daughter. I spend my days playing with her, watching in awe as she grows and develops, working during her naps and at night while the kids are both asleep, and picking my son up as early as possible from kindergarten. My guilt over having a second child compels me to spend as much time as humanly possible with my older kid. I try to make healthy meals, keep the house as tidy as possible (tidy meaning there’s no discernible food on the floor), see my friends and hang out with my husband. When I crawl into bed at night, exhausted but happy, I realize that there hasn’t been much time for me. And just for me.
So, on a recent trip with my family to the country to hang out with my sister- in-law, brother-in-law and nephew, I decided it was high time to get a little bit of me back. My husband’s brother and his wife (more like a brother and sister than in-laws to me) had decided a year ago to leave their stress-filled life in Toronto and live off the land. Though it would never be a lifestyle that would suit my frenetic energy and need for noise, traffic and tons of people around, it’s an incredible place to visit. Luckily, they’ve made some amazing friends there, and Violet, my sister-in-law, told me that she was going dancing with four of these new pals.
Dancing? Seriously? I sighed with the memories of my pre-kids, dancing life. I spent every weekend with my friends going to so many clubs until the wee hours of the morning. Tarted up in my tiniest of clothes, I would shake my booty with the best of them. But the last time I’d been dancing was at my best friend’s bachelorette party right after my son was born. That was four long years ago, and that night, I’d felt so odd and out of place. So old. Such a mom. I told Violet I was too tired, that I didn’t feel like getting dressed up to go out. My husband looked at me and said, ”You need to go out.”
He was right. I needed to get dressed up (though my tartiest clothes consist of a pair of jeans and a silky top, but the dominatrix shoes were pretty slutty) and go dancing. But I was nervous. Would I be the oldest one at the bar? Would everyone know I was a mom and should be home with my kids, waiting for one of them to get up? Would I even remember how to dance or recognize a single song? I didn’t care. I walked downstairs in my ”dancing outfit,” and my brother-in-law laughed out loud. Apparently, we were going to the Hayloft, the only bar in their small town, and he thought that perhaps I was a little too dressed up for a night out with the country folk.
When Violet’s friends showed up, however, I was okay. Gorgeous, similarly dressed women, also moms, they were warm and welcoming to me from the get go, and I started to get excited. We piled into a beaten-up station wagon and set off down the dark country road for our ride to the Hayloft. A long ride, I marveled at the stars twinkling overhead and the pitch black night illuminated only by the moon. No other cars on the road, no streetlights nor buildings this was pure country. And I was loving it.
The bar was pretty empty when we got there, which gave me a good while to have a couple of drinks and get my groove on. Because this was such a small town, the bartender was married to the DJ, and Violet and her friends knew them both because their kids all went to the only school in town. Within minutes, Violet’s friends and I were sharing drinks and stories, laughing our heads off as if we’d known each other for years. Instant camaraderie and closeness something that doesn’t often happen between women in a big city.
The women decided to say hello to the DJ, and I thought that was pretty cool. I’d never had the chance to hang out in the DJ booth at any downtown club, and as we ascended the stairs, I realized that I was on a much-needed adventure. My whole body had loosened up, and every time I began to worry about the kids (openly, because I talk about my every feeling and thought), the women kindly assured me that the guys would take care of anything that happened. And I actually believed them.
Not only did I get to meet the DJ and spend time in his spinning booth, but I ended up giving him the entire playlist for the night. All those songs from the 90s and early 2000s that I actually know how to dance to (Bust A Move, Hey Ya, I Like To Move It). By the time we got down to dancing, I felt more alive than I had in a long time. I knew every song (of course because I had requested them all), every move and not once did anyone look at me as though I shouldn’t be there.
Yes, it was such a country bar this converted old barn with sawdust on the floor. Yes, most of the people there were drunken teenagers groping each other. And, yes, as the night drew to a close the music changed and lyrics like, ”Tonight I’m fucking you” and ”Suck my dick” reverberated off the walls and into my mom ears. Instead of being morally offended, however, I giggled uproariously at it all. Times had changed since my own dancing days, but the chance to let it all hang out still lived inside me. And, man, did I let it hang.
At the end of the night, when we were all danced out and exhausted (my knees were actually creaking), we held hands (otherwise I’d fall flat on my ass in those hot shoes) and walked through the complete darkness to a cottage on the water. Instead of the usual post-club activity of eating street meat, we sat and talked by the lake, comparing our mom stories and bonding.
I was elated and exhilarated on the long drive back, cackling like a school girl and recounting the events of the night with women I now consider friends. Violet, who knows me so well, looked at me and smiled. She knew how much I needed this, and she was so happy that she could give me my night of me time. I admit, I was worried about what would greet me when we got back. Would the kids both be up and crying for their mom? Would my husband be wringing his hands and pulling his hair out? As we pulled up to their house, and after hugging my new friends, I listened closely for the sounds. Crickets, the odd coyote, and blessed silence. I had done it.
I had finally taken some time to do something just for me. For one night, I wasn’t just a mom or a wife or a business owner. I was just a woman out dancing and having the time of her life. I’ve already got plans with friends to go dancing next week in the city. And hell, yes, I’ll be wearing those shoes.