Ahh, the beauty of fall is here bringing with it colorful leaves, pumpkins, hayrides and everything cozy.  If your Facebook feed is like mine, it’s filled with pictures of mom friends enjoying fall festivities with their kids, friends and/or grandkids – but where are the men in these photos?  Ask the ladies and you’ll receive the well-known response this time of year, “He’s hunting”.  At the beginning of the season, these responses are usually light-hearted and supportive.  Ask that same mom in December and the response is typically less enthusiastic as she navigates yet another weekend alone juggling family obligations and the pending holiday bliss.  For other friends, these same responses come in the summer months as they accommodate hobbies such as golf, softball or fishing.  If you’re one of the “lucky” ones, you find yourself a weekend widow most of the year accommodating all of the above not to mention Sunday Football games and March Madness.

If you’re sitting there nodding your head while reading this, I must ask – what about you?  So often we women put the things we love to do on the back burner to care for those we love. We run kids to activities, make dinner, do the shopping, planning, cleaning and caring and in the midst of all of it, we forget to plan time for ourselves.  Why is it that our husbands have hobbies and we don’t?  Why is it that they have an evening or two per week or month dedicated to doing something they love while we (sometimes bitterly) support them?  Why is it that when we do have something planned, like the bi-monthly hair appointment, that we feel guilty for being away?  What’s wrong with this picture?

About two years ago, after multiple conversations with like-minded moms, I started considering that perhaps our husbands have had it right all along.  They are living the marital dream.  They have a loving family, good work-life and they are dedicating time to the things they love.  So, why shouldn’t it work that way for us?  My husband is a fair-minded person…if he enjoys a hobby or two, he would understand that I would enjoy the same, right?  Would it require some uncomfortable schedule changes on his behalf?  Yes.  Would it be worth it? Yes.  Was his weekly golf night on the line? Yes.  Score for the home team ?.

So it began, we started dedicating one night per week, in my case Thursdays, as “Mommy Night”.  The kids understood (tearfully at first) that I, like their dad, was going to take one evening per week to do things that I enjoy, and they would gain one night per week with just daddy, including bedtime.  (If the thought of this alone lowers your blood pressure, we moms understand ?).  Initially, I didn’t have plans, nor did I want them.  I wanted to live freely and go about my evenings willy-nilly like a single person with a house cat. Some nights I went to a gym class that I learned to love, some nights I holed up in a restaurant booth with a glass of wine and a good book, while other nights I enjoyed the pure bliss of roaming unhindered through Target without a list, timeframe or kids tagging along.  As time went on, I became more willing to dedicate my evenings and started booking things that I had always wanted to do but had never gotten around to doing, like getting together with long lost girlfriends, taking a pottery class and trying my hand at the flying trapeze (sounds crazy, right?  It was and it was amazing!).  Lately, I’ve taken to scheduling a reoccurring facial with a girlfriend, who like me, was having a hard time breaking away for some “me time”.  We meet up after work for dinner then head to our favorite spa for a glass of wine and a relaxing facial surrounded by dim lights, essential oils and the sound of Enya playing softly in the background.  Needless to say, we sleep like the beauties we are on Thursday nights!

Over time I’ve come to realize the additional benefits of Mommy Nights, outside of the obvious.  My husband has upped his home game, to include tasty dinners for the kids and a clean kitchen for me-yay!  The kids look forward to an evening with dad, which usually includes more relaxed bedtimes and my husband has come to appreciate a calmer, happier wife that’s ready to relax and connect vs. the normal half-harried one that’s falling asleep at nine o’clock.  Regardless of how I spend my Mommy Nights, I always come home calmer, happier and more appreciative of those that I love, which leads me to you.  If you had one night per week, or even per month to start, what would you do?  Whatever it is, you definitely deserve it!