My Facebook page was recently abuzz with empty nest mothers feeling low this year because their kids were not going to be home for Mother's Day. Some of their sons and daughters were living across the country in Seattle or Los Angeles. Others were stationed at Fort Bragg or Hawaii. College kids weren't making the trip home for the weekend.
My husband and I have just returned to New England from Florida to begin our new life as innkeepers at a small bed and breakfast in Western Connecticut. The inn is a lovely Victorian tudor set on acres of land in a quintessential, rural New England town. We are very excited about this new adventure and as a writer, I know a thousand stories will pass through my door.
I also know I have a lot of new things to learn, but I assumed they would all have to do with things like how much toilet paper does an innkeeper need to purchase each month? How many dozen eggs? What is the best way to fold a fitted sheet? Things like that. I never thought about the life lessons I would also learn, such as how to pamper yourself.
This is a quiet time of year in Western Connecticut. The calm before the storm. We have only a few guests at the inn this week. One of them is a single woman. The current innkeeper said she was treating herself to a getaway.
So this is for the Moms out there who are feeling blue. Instead of feeling down about being alone this year, celebrate yourself instead. Whether you do some of these things with your spouse or alone, you deserve a pat on the back for your accomplishments as a Mom. Treat yourself to a day of doing only the things you love to do.
1. Explore someplace new. On Day One, our guest at the Inn took a scenic drive, stopping along the route to visit small shops and walk the streets of nearby towns. She bought lunch at one of the artisanal bakeries along her route and had a picnic in a park. Connecticut is lovely this time of year. All yellow and cheerful with blooming daffodils and forsythia celebrating the end of a long, hard winter.
2. Go shopping. On Day Two, our guest followed another scenic route she created from a list of antique shops she wanted to visit. She bought herself a lamp and some antique linens. She also visited independent bookstores. Western Connecticut is full of antique shops with a treasure trove of items that would satisfy any collector or home decorator's passions.
3. Take a day off and do nothing. On Day Three, our guest planned to sleep late and enjoy a day of rest. All the rooms at our inn have private baths and a sitting area. I assume she spent her day reading one of the books she bought the day before. And maybe she also knits? Whatever she did, she enjoyed her solitude.
4. Treat yourself to a spa day. Our guest went out for a facial. You could treat yourself to a massage, a manicure and a pedi. All of the above. Or none of the above. This is about you. Do whatever you enjoy doing.
5. I'm not sure what our guest is doing today. This is where you, Dear Reader, will have to use your imagination and fill in the blanks with the things you would most like to do on your special day.
I am writing this piece at 5:30 in the morning. I never wake this early because I have usually just fallen back to sleep after tossing and turning from three a.m. to five. I often say I haven't slept well since the millennium and that isn't an exaggeration. My circadian rhythm prefers a few hours sleep at night and a nap in the afternoon. Writing would seem to be the perfect job but who can pay the bills on writing alone? Not many of us. However, on my first two nights here at the inn I have slept like a child. Seven uninterrupted hours of deep slumber. I awoke to an unfamiliar feeling. I was refreshed and ready to go.
We haven't officially started our new job. We are settling in and learning the ropes and have the weekend off to visit friends on Cape Cod, where my older daughter also happens to be this weekend. So I myself won't be alone this year, as I have been the past two Mother's Days I spent in Florida. Although I will miss my younger daughter who is at college in Denver, I am looking forward to seeing her this summer. In the meantime, we have plans to do lunch with daughter number one on Sunday, maybe at a place by the ocean or along the Bass River.
I know my future holds more Mother's Days alone. Kids grow up. They move away and have families of their own. These new families have in-laws to visit and busy lives to lead, so I've started my list of things to do on Mother's Day and other holidays when I am alone. Two days into my new life I've learned a valuable lesson from a stranger. A woman I barely know who taught me how to take good care of myself.
Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there. Take care of yourselves. You've earned it.
Follow my adventures in inn keeping and writing at my blog.