Could You Be a Part-Time Mommy?

Part-time mothering?Part-time mothering?How about taking your nights off from parenting for a few weeks? According to The New York Times, it's all the rage. A few professional moms in NY--who are married to teachers with the summer off--have sent their kids to spend the summer with Dad at whatever country/beach/family house they have outside the city. Moms head for the office as usual but don't have to "work the second shift" when they get home at night. Instead of making dinner and haggling with kids through bath time, these ladies are going to the gym, reading novels and having dinner with friends.

And they sound pretty happy about it.

It's not forever, and these moms aren't even absent all season long. Everyone's together on the weekend, which leads to the second fascinating part of this story. It's a setup that many men used to have and no one batted an eye, a fact that hit one mother in the piece, "The train is passing through all these bedroom communities that were created when men commuted to the city and women stayed home with the children," Ms. Chrzanowski said, "I realized I'm 'Mad Men' flashed forward into the future."

This is a bit much for me, but I do think I could use just a taste of it. A morsel of freedom.

For the last few months, we've been in the midst of a move. A big move. From Rome, Italy to a rental outside of Raleigh, North Carolina and now we've finally landed at our permanent place in Hillsborough. It's a gorgeous area, brimming with rolling hills just as I'd dreamed of. But I don't know anyone yet. And I work from home. These two dynamics make life with our three small children a bit intense.

Then there's the Facebook factor. I see friends who are more established in their lives-i.e. they know local babysitters-toasting glasses of pino noir, stepping out of limos or crossing the finish line of their first triathlon, all with nary a kid in sight. There are girls' nights, girls' weekends, cocktail parties and yoga retreats going on out there. When I rolled my eyes after a dear friend posted about yet another weekend getaway she was off to with her husband while a friend watched her kids (FOR FREE!) I knew I needed some time off.

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So my husband actually took our three kids to his parents' house in Florida this spring. His new job hadn't started yet, my part time job hadn't stopped since we left Rome and I was losing it. So off they went. And you know what? I did love it.

There were a couple of phone calls and a Skype or two in there too. But honestly, those rascals had such fun with Grandma and Grandpa--tea parties, craft projects, feeding chickens, baking cookies--that they hardly missed me. You know who I did miss a lot though? My husband. That's where I can't see this kind of take-the-summer-off arrangement working for us. I need actual contact to stay, well, connected to my husband. Hugs, kisses, you know.

But it was a pretty relaxing week. I did work a lot, stayed up late watching streaming video of all the US TV I hadn't seen in Italy (All the fuss about "Downton Abbey"? Now I get it!) and even went to lunch with a lady who my real estate agent introduced me to.

It seemed like a long time to be away though and by the time they returned, I was antsy for the antics. The noise, the hugs, the small people getting really excited about little things.

The point is, we all need time off. For me, it's not the whole summer. Just an evening or two, actually make that an evening or two on a regular basis and you'll have a much happier mama over here.

So long as that evening out doesn't include a gym. That doesn't count.

- By Charity Curley Matthews

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