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My vision has blurred to resemble a fun house mirror reflection. The small square window beside me has morphed into an hourglass. I can feel my knees digging into the seat-back-pocket in front of me; however, the dog-eared airline magazine is a zigzagging abstract of color. Sweat tickles my armpits as it pools visibly into my shirt. My heartbeat races beyond its normal pace.


I’m on vacation.

I’m meeting my father in British Columbia for a seven-day backpacking adventure in the Monashee Mountains. He’s turning 73 this year. It’s our first father-daughter excursion, hopefully a first of many. I left behind my two children, ages six and four, in the über capable hands of my loving husband, which means I’m alone and child-free. Shouldn’t I be doing a happy dance? Instead, I’ve sogged my entire travel-pack of Kleenex with tears and snot.

Am I worried that I didn’t leave enough milk and orange juice for my family to get through a couple of days? Am I concerned that no one will remember to feed the dog, water the flowers, or take the trash out in the morning? Will my husband remember not to put too much soap in the washer, and that the kids actually have to bathe? Will anyone recall that we have fish?

I’m a mom. Naturally, I left a detailed note outlining each day I would be gone, who needs to be where, at what time, and what to bring. I mowed the lawn, scrubbed the house, changed all the sheets, and completed the laundry. I packed playdate bags, laid out three new bottles of sunscreen and bug spray, doled out 1,000 kisses, and stocked the refrigerator and freezer. I even felt like the master bathroom wouldn’t survive my absence without a fresh coat of paint. Somebody stop me!

May I pause to point out that I am keenly aware of the irony. I’ve prepared my family to live and play in a germ-free, dirt-free, lavender-scented, calorie-laden, and relatively chore-free zone. However, I’m supposed to have energy left to carry a heavy backpack, climb mountains, live out of a tent, sleep on the ground, and not shower for a week. I’m exhausted and the wheels of the plane have barely lifted from the ground.

I’m on vacation.

“Once a mom, always a mom.” That’s what my mother tells me, with regularity. Yesterday she felt compelled to send a reminder text to pack my passport and extra socks, regardless of the fact that I am her 40-year-old daughter, a mother of two, and separated geographically by like, eight states.

We’re mothers. It’s what we do. We prepare our homes, our nests, for our absence. I wouldn’t want my husband to flounder. He’s not fully uploaded to do my job, nor would I be to do his. He isn’t privy to the day-to-day routines and rituals, locations of special stuffies, sun hats, and picnic baskets. He isn’t readily aware that swim lessons are Tuesdays and our daughter will need help with her goggles. He shouldn’t have to be. And I should probably warn him that neither kid will want to, and both will swear they don’t have to, when he strongly suggests they pee before they enter the pool.

I cry not because I’m worried they won’t make it without me. I fully accept the fact that they can, and will, thrive. They will surely eat way too much sugar, break all the rules at bedtime, and allow spiders to peacefully cohabitate in the house while I’m away. I’m crying because at this moment I don’t feel like a mom. No one’s whining, or fighting, or needing to be somewhere, or desiring a playmate or a snack.

Up here, looking down, I’m reminded that apart from being a mom, I am also a woman, a wife, and a daughter. Today I am opening myself up for an experience that is all my own. This will be a unique and memorable week with my dad, to share with him and to learn from him. It’s a time to get to know him from the perspective of a grown-up daughter, and to gaze in wonder at God’s magnificent creation in nature. It’s a chance to lay down the frenetic pace, to unplug from the demands that tug from all sides, and reconnect with who I am as an individual.

If I consistently pour out my energy into my children, my husband, my home, what happens to me? To who I once was? To who I am still meant to become? I see now how easy it is to forget that.

The farther I go, the hours that pass in travel from one country to another, it seems a sense of peace has come over me. A deep breath. No more tears. Stillness. Peace. Contentment. Quiet.

I whisper a promise to myself: May I challenge my body both physically and emotionally to summit the mountains that await me. May I take the renewed energy, the fresh air, and the experience home with me to share with my family as a woman, as a wife, as a mom. I will benefit from this, and as a result, so will they. My tears have dried.

I’m on vacation.

   

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Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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