momcation: achieving the escape velocity required

No matter which Real Housewives variation one might watch– and I’ve watched, uh, a few– most of the dramatic action within any given city’s season involves

  • talking about “just getting away with the girls”
  • shopping to get away with the girls
  • getting away with the girls

I suppose no one has ever watched Real Housewives for its firm adherence to, you know, reality. But it always strikes me as a little strange that the screaming and hair-pulling and throwing things starts AFTER they’re already ensconced in their Deluxe Imperial Romance Suite at the Princess Ambassador Deluxe Royale Wherever.

For me, being away is a breeze. Getting away? Achieving the escape velocity required to board that plane? It’s an exhausting process requiring at least two weeks, forty woman hours, and every ounce of sanity I have left to give.

momcationI’m heading to the Mom 2.0 conference in Phoenix this week. I may have bought an “Early Bird” ticket the very first day they went on sale nine months ago. Since my non-mothering work is done mostly on a laptop at the library, blogging conferences are my chance to own the feeling of a career: I learn ways to improve my work, make connections, stay up late with lots of funny women similarly giddy due to their own escapes from their home planets.

I leave in less than twenty-four hours. I have not packed. But for two weeks, I have been working on a master document called “FAMILY SCHEDULE WHILE MOM IS AWAY.”

It’s five single-spaced typed pages. It’s in its seventh edition. And I’m not done yet.

Am I a control freak? Yes. That’s been established. But the first weekend in May is also apparently the perfect time for

  • the first-grader’s first school play, with mostly-homemade costumes
  • the fourth-grader’s two chorus concerts
  • the sixth-grader’s Picture Day for his baseball team
  • the first cousin’s First Communion
  • the OTHER first cousin’s First Communion
  • the school’s “Welcome Grandparents!” breakfast
  • the dog’s troublesome anal gland maintenance
  • and for our part-time babysitter to be out of town.

At this point I am taking all comers. “Yes, I will take that to go, and by the way, are you free this Saturday morning at 7:15 am to stand around at a soccer game? Don’t forget, you’re on snack duty this week as well.”

The really crazy part is that I believe it has taken me longer to create this master document covering my three days’ absence than it would have to just actually do everything on it. I think that’s because I had to plan ahead now for all the stuff I’d (probably) remember at the last second. “Don’t forget binder!!” I write, with several asterisks, because it has just occurred to me that I would have almost done so.

There are sublists and lists of lists. I have tried to think of everything. I will still get on the plane tomorrow morning with my heart pounding, certain that there is something I forgot. But why worry? In 2015, my family can still text and Skype and FaceTime me.

mom where’s my baseball glove

wait is it a dress down day?!?

It’ll be like I never said goodbye.



It’s Publication Day for LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER!

Last week I went to a staged reading of a play with a plot that pretty much hinged on the would-you-believe? notion of a CONFERENCE. For MOMMY BLOGGERS. Cause, like, why would they need a conference? What would those silly women have to talk about?

Six years ago, I met Ann Imig at a blogging conference. “I have this idea,” she said, and when she told me about her idea, I said “I want to be a part of that. Please, please, let me be a part of your idea.”

That idea was Listen To Your Mother, a national live-reading series of true stories of motherhood. I’ve directed the New York City version for three years and it’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. My friend’s idea has become a national phenomenon that has truly changed lives.

ltymcoverToday, Listen To Your Mother also becomes a book, a real live book from Putnam. 56 stories from the last five years of LTYM shows nationwide are between its covers. And I am over-the-moon proud to say that my essay is among them.

This book is terrific. (If I do say so myself). Just like a live LTYM show, the essays go from hilarious to heartbreaking, and everywhere in between. The authors range from household names like Jennifer Weiner to men and women who are seeing their words in print for the first time. To me, that’s what blogging has always been about: the democratization of great writing. These voices are real. And they’re sensational.

I hope you’ll consider buying a copy for yourself, for your mother, for your sister, for your friend. Mother’s Day approaches, and this is the perfect gift: a reminder that in a world that is quick to dismiss motherhood (let alone writing about it) as predictable or trivial or inherently undramatic, our stories matter.