I love my children, but….. (confessions from a mom’s business trip)

I really loved my trip to New York. A lot.

My vacation … er, …. I mean,  business trip, I mean, began the moment I arrived at the airport and got a copy of the New York Times. On the plane, my economy-plus seat might have been a poolside chaise-lounge for all the enjoyment I took of the five-hour flight — a golden opportunity to read, doze, and work without interruption. Bliss. From my arrival in The City, my schedule was busy and full. I had meetings with clients and potential clients throughout the days and social engagements shoehorned in between times and in the evenings. Every day was non-stop. My work was engaging and challenging, and I opened some new and intriguing doors. I reconnected with beloved friends. I even went clothes shopping — which I never do at home — and had a blast. And as a special bonus, I got to be with my sister on her birthday.

Part of my enjoyment came simply from getting a break from my children and my routine. As any primary caregiving parent knows, the constant demands of caring for and managing the schedules of one’s children is often as draining as it is rewarding. Getting away from all this was a welcome relief. In addition, being in New York put me in a more intense professional milieu, and it challenged me and raised the level of my game. But more than the break or the professional opportunity, I appreciated the chance to express different parts of myself that are — let’s face it — often in a kind of dormancy or hibernation during the long winter of parenting young children. On the non-professional front, having having uninterrupted adult conversations allowed me to relate to my friends on a deeper level and to connect more fully to their ideas and to my own. Trying on clothes in a boutique with my pals helped me connect to my inner girlie-girl and whatever sense of fashion and style that may lurk under my habitual garb of jeans and sweaters. Going for drinks at the Yale Club with a top lawyer friend of mine and her banker colleagues brought out my bantering happy hour extrovert. Looking at 600 year old drawings in the Morgan Library gave me an opportunity to appreciate beauty in silence. And nibbling delicate swiss chard and ricotta gnocchi with brown butter and sage at Al Di La delighted the foodie in me.  I was my old New York self — walking and talking fast, sandwiching myself into a subway car just before the doors closed, jaywalking in Times Square, not taking myself too seriously. It’s not just that I love New York. I also love me in New York.

I’m on the plane home now (flying internet – wow!). When I arrive at home in San Francisco in a few hours, I am looking forward to hugging and kissing my husband and children. They are the most important and beloved people in my life, and four days away has left me eager and longing to see them. But along with the gifts I am bringing home to them, I also will bring with me a new energy that comes from having rediscovered my own range. I’ve got some new clothes and a new attitude, and I’m excited to see what is possible.