My Mother's Day Getaway Tale: Time Off, Ticks and Tattoo

I don't think most moms get enough time off. Oh, sure, we get quiet time here and there, sometimes we get babysitters and sometimes our kids are old enough so we can lock our bedroom doors and binge watch episodes of Louie while clenching the body pillow just a little too hard (what? only me?).

But actual time off, like the kind where you go to sleep at least two nights in a row somewhere that is far away from your kids? That's hard to come by. For those of you who have wee little ones and are recoiling in horror and thinking "I would never want to be apart from my baby! What is wrong with you? DON'T YOU LOVE YOUR CHILDREN??", please print this out and read it in ten years. Or after you have the kind of day that ends with you curled up on the bathroom floor, trying to muffle your sobs and also shove a sleeve of Thin Mints in your mouth while your kids gather at the closed door like an irate mob of torch-wielding villagers descending upon Frankenstein's castle. Whichever of these happens first.

I know for a fact that I don't get enough time off. The last time I took a really substantial chunk of time away from mothering was in 2012, when I went to Amsterdam with John McCain. The guilt was killer but folks, it was so good for me. And for my kids. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, you know.

And don't worry: kids aren't like cats. They won't take a dump on your pillow or in your shoe just to show you how much they don't appreciate you leaving them. They are almost always really happy to see you when you return. And so is the person who's been watching them. So there's happiness all around when Mommy crosses the threshold of home sweet home...it's like your kids have turned into Herve Villechaize and Ricardo Montalban. In fact, this video shows you what it's like right before you walk in the front door:

(now I want to watch Fantasy Island. Especially this episode featuring Lisa Hartman and Dack Rambo.)

Three of my friends and I ran away from home for a few days last weekend. Yes, I'm THAT MOM. I wanted to be far away from my family on Mother's Day weekend. Judge away, haters. It was fabulous. We left for my friend Michelle's Wisconsin lake cabin on Thursday night and came back about 8 pounds heavier and a whole lot happier on Sunday afternoon. I was also covered with ticks but we'll get to that later.

So technically, I did spend most of the actual Day of Mothers with my kids, and of course with my own Mom. But the days leading up to it were spent in blissful peace, drinking dirty martinis, eating delicious meals and watching old movies like "Working Girl" (I have a head for business and bod for sin...oh how I love that movie). Also maybe sending out embarrassing tipsy texts, but what happens at the cabin usually stays at the cabin.

My companions for the long weekend were The Evil Twins (Michelle and her identical twin Janelle) and our friend Andrea. Michelle and Andrea were the cooks, while Janelle and I handled eating and keeping the couch cushions warm.

On Saturday, Michelle and Andrea encouraged me to move take a walk with them. I was starting to worry about bed sores at this point, so I decided to go. We usually walk along the dirt roads that lead everywhere and nowhere in Wisconsin, but this time we lived on the edge and chose to take a hike. Through the wild woods. And I'll be honest here, it wasn't Michelle's or my brilliant idea to tromp through the woods: it was Andrea's. More honesty? I thought she was the smartest out of the three of us. She's an attorney, for God's sake! But noooooo....

There we were. No cell phones, no water and apparently no brains. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but there are three things in this world that scare me: a prolapsed uterus, clowns...and BEARS. I'm so afraid of bears. I have nightmares about them. All I could think about as we noisily trekked through the trees was: "Are either of them menstruating? Because if all this noise we're making doesn't attract all of the bears, the scent of blood will for sure."

Yes, the bears weighed heavily on my mind until Michelle screamed. She was leading our Three Stooges Tour of Wisconsin, and when I heard her shriek I thought for sure she'd stepped in a pile of fresh bear scat. Or maybe on the actual bear who was scatting.

Oh no. Nope. Michelle was standing there, resplendent in her uniform of black yoga pants, black yoga jacket and running shoes, and she was staring down at her legs.

HER LEGS WERE COVERED IN TICKS. Like, crawling with them. Big ones, tiny ones, red ones, black ones.

Did you know that May is the big month for ticks? It's like their Spring Break and Wisconsin is Mazatlan. I didn't know this factoid until Michelle mentioned it while she screamed and brushed away ticks in the middle of the woods. At this point both Andrea and I began inspecting each other like besotted chimpanzees. I found two big ones on the back of her legs, another three on her arms and a few more on the back of her shirt. She found only one on me, but by God I knew there were more. I could feel them everywhere.

This seemed like a good time for Michelle to inform us that she felt like we were lost. I asked them if they had their periods. Nobody answered me and we began walking again, this time brushing our arms and legs like we were a traveling interpretive dance troupe performing "Tick Season In Wisconsin".

After what felt like days (but was really about an hour), we arrived back at the cabin. We undressed at the front door and again checked each other (which really is kind of a bonding experience, now that I've had time to reflect upon it). More and more ticks. Ticks as far as the eye could see! I found a few on my head and several in the hood of my sweatshirt. Michelle announced, "They like to be in places on your body where it's warm and dark and covered in tight clothing."

Well isn't that special. Apparently from the neck down I am considered to be the tick version of Old Country Buffet. "GRAB A TRAY, ASSHOLES. IT'S CHOW TIME!".

We recovered nicely with a few glasses of sangria and after that I hardly felt the ticks crawling on me and attaching themselves to all the dark warm places. Then we watched a few hours of HGTV (Flip or Flop...that show is like crack. Damn you, Tarek and Christina). Before we knew it, it was time for dinner and martinis and by that time all thoughts of ticks were gone for the night. At one point I did say, "You guys! I think I feel a tick on my liver. Wait...never mind. It's just cirrhosis." I switched to mineral water after that.

We had about 60 hours of relaxing, kid-free, responsibility-free time. It was awesome...ticks and all.

The house was standing upon my return, each member of my little family was present and accounted for. Everyone made it to work, the dog was fed and loved, and as far as I know, nothing illegal, immoral or illicit happened while I was gone.

The children were sweet to me that day, Mother's Day. They presented me with gifts wrapped in plastic bags from the gas station down the street: bags of Twizzlers (one bag of strawberry twists, one bag of cherry Pull N' Peel...because nothing says "Thanks Mom" like Type 2 diabetes) (But for real, dem babies know mama so well). It was perfect. Mother's Day isn't that big of a deal to me. I'd rather have several pretty good days spread throughout the year over one day of forced niceties. My kids honor me by being good, kind people. And that's really all I want.

That, and a little time off once in a while.


  1. I am never taking a walk in the woods again.

  2. I'm hiding in my tick-free air conditioned home until November.

    "...there are three things in this world that scare me: a prolapsed uterus, clowns...and BEARS." HA HA HA!!!!! Love this whole post.

  3. G-d this is so damn funny! And one of your best posts! Ranks up there with the ford focus one. I predict this one will get around and maybe even make it to Huffpo or something similar, or better. Prolapsed uterus and bears in the same sentence....that's the bomb girl.

  4. Jenny thanks again for the laugh.

  5. Ticks freak me out more than bears. I'd have to be institutionalized after such trauma.

  6. 1. I thought I was the only one afraid of prolapsed uterus.
    2. Working Girl is AWESOME.
    3. I'm asking for the time off and inviting myself next year.

  7. OMG I am pictured you jumping around in the woods....I would have responded the same way! Yikes! Seriously though, be sure to check yourself for a few days to be sure you got them all, and you didn't get a bite. Yuck! On another note, you'll be interested to know that I just had surgery because of one of your fears, prolapsed uterus! Also to repair a prolapsed bladder and rectum. Ain't it fun bein' a woman!

  8. Your last post made me cry and this one made me guffaw. You're a talented writer to put me on a roller coaster of emotions. Happy Mother's Day Jenny!

  9. Laughing so hard. Also feeling much better about finding myself wandering around dependent on teenage boys to keep me from be lost. At least they had better navigation training than Michelle.

  10. When I was a little kid we would walk through the woods of North Carolina, my dad and I, and I remember the tick check every time before we went back into the house. Good times.

  11. Guess what Michelle got talked into doing today. Dave: "Ticks don't scare me."


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