For the past two to three years, Kevin has figured out the best present he can give me is a break. I’m a stay-at-home mom, wife, housekeeper, chaser of toddler, nurse, and referee or just simply “mom” works. The job can range from very hard to very easy to ‘someone please stop me from ripping all the hair off my head’ all in one glorious day. So, as I started to say, the best present one can give me is a break an actual, factual day off. The only way I can really get a day off is to leave the house for a set amount of time; if I am in the house, no break will be had; children have radars and they can always find me. For the past two to three years, I’m not even sure how long it has been my days all run together and its not important anyway; Kevin has given me 24 hours off. This includes one night in a hotel (nothing fancy, think Holiday Inn) and 24 hours to do as I wish.
This fall has been particularly challenging. We moved to a new country, we have no car, and we walk everywhere. Three kids are in school which means we get up, get ready for school, and I walk them there. Then, approximately three hours later, I head back out to pick up two of them, waste time for an hour and then get the third child before finally heading home for the day. It makes for long days. Positive takeaway? I get a lot of exercise. On Christmas, I was presented with a few options to choose from for my present. I could have a spa day, a hotel stay, or something else to my choosing. Without hesitation, I choose the hotel. Kevin then further surprised me and offered me two nights; which I did not even think about…saying no to. So for Christmas, two nights in a hotel of my choosing somewhere in Dublin. I choose Dun Laoghaire (pronounced Done Leary, for my American readers), AKA the Dublin Bay. Approximately 25 miles from my home as the crow flies, or 45 mins by public transit.
I settled on the Royal Inn Hotel for two nights. The morning of Jan. 11th, after I helped Kevin get the kids ready for school and out the door, I headed to the LUAS and off on my adventure. I rode to the end of the line and bussed over to Dun Laoghaire for my two-day adventure. Beside it being cold and windy outside, the weather was quite nice; no rain. The bus dropped me off near the hotel and I walked around the town for a bit before attempting to check in a few hours early. Some hotels don’t mind an early check-in, others are sticklers about check in time and won’t let you in a second earlier. The Royal Inn was the former, they said my room was ready and checking in was no problem.
Blah, blah, blah, boring stuff about checking in and exploring the entire room. I headed back out to walk down the east pier. The water was gorgeous as usual, the view of the town and Dublin in general was amazing. The walk was refreshing and I didn’t have to listen to anyone complain about how tired or hungry or bored or cold they were. It was also nice to not hear those horrid words “I have to pee”, two minutes after walking out the door. I listened to an audiobook and enjoyed the peace and serenity of the day. I was able to walk around the town for a bit, popping in and out of shops as I saw fit. I found the local Tesco grocery store and picked up some lunch, hey they have great chicken and stuffing sandwiches. Next to the Tesco, I noticed a movie theatre and it dawned on me the last time I saw a movie was before Roxi was born? Shortly after Roxi was born? Well, the fact that I couldn’t remember was enough to make me want to go see a movie. I popped inside the theatre and glanced at the movie times and realizing I had a few hours before the first showings, I headed back to the hotel to eat my lunch and watch some Netflix.
Later that afternoon, I went and saw “Midnight on the Orient Express”, the theatre was empty; all to myself. About five minutes before the movie started, an older gentleman and then an older couple came in; but the four of us had the theatre to ourselves. I ordered a popcorn and was surprised there was no option for butter, butter, and more butter. You get slightly burnt, heavily salted popcorn and that was it, no further options to make the popcorn even less healthy for you. I suppose it’s a good thing, but come on you go to the movies for the heart attack inducing popcorn. Anyway, I enjoyed the movie; makes me want to read more Agatha Christie books. After the movie, I spent the rest of the night in the hotel watching what I wanted with no distractions. I slept soundly, with no midnight visitors to my bed (sounds creepy but I’m talking about my children here). I did forget to turn off my weekday alarm, so I was awaken at 6:30, but went back to sleep for a few more hours.
The next day I just wanted to explore. I spent the morning walking along the bay. I found Sandy Cove and the Forty Foot; both are swimming areas, popular year-round surprisingly. They had small changing areas, small beaches, and people actually out for a quick morning dip. I do mean quick, the water temperature was 40 degrees F, and it was just as cold outside not counting the wind chill. I took a quick tour of the James Joyce museum and took in the view of the city from the top of the tower, it was free and it’s hard to say no to free. I continued on my journey and found an amazing little cove where I just sat and stared. I found that I am fascinated by large rocks and the water, it makes for gorgeous landscape in my mind. I then turned from the water and headed toward the small town of Dalkey. They have some live heritage tours, a castle, and castle hotel and just an all around old town feel. I didn’t stay long because I had a migraine coming on; never fun. After finding a pharmacy and getting some drugs, I found the DART station and took the train back up to my hotel. The rest of the day was spent relaxing in the hotel, watching Netflix and working on a cross stitch (my old lady pastime as Kevin calls it, but its relaxing). I spoiled myself and ordered room service, receiving more food than I could eat in one sitting.
Later that night, I headed out for some snacks. I stopped at the bookstore after realizing it had been quite some time since I had read a real, live book. I normally listen to audiobooks while I’m out walking around, or I read books on my Kindle, but I wanted a physical book in hand. I found two books by my favorite author (Mary Higgins Clark, for those who may be curious), that I had not read yet. I always believe in supporting authors I love, so I bought both books. As I went to check out, I noticed a copy of the Trump tell-all on the counter (The Fire and Fury, or whatever its called). I told the cashier I was surprised that book had made it to Ireland already, though I’m not sure why I was surprised, he told me if I wanted a copy I should buy it now because it is selling like hot cakes. I thought that was funny. I didn’t buy it though for reason I’ll keep to myself (hint: nothing new to read here). I miss bookstores, I have always enjoyed the smell of a bookstore; a mixture of new books and coffee, because there always seems to be a café of some sort in the building. I love the feel of fresh new books, pages so crisp, bindings firm you don’t want to even open the book and destroy it. Books are cool.
After the book store, I went to the grocery store to purchase some crackers and cheese slices; which I paired with a fine €8 sparkling wine. Yes, my luxurious life can be envious I’m sure. I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and enjoying my solitude. The next day, I packed up and headed on home.
I missed my family while on my break and I missed sharing the places I explored with them, but I enjoyed time on my own; I am not afraid of the solitude. It’s nice to leave the hotel within five minutes of saying I’m going to go out. It’s nice to only worry about dressing myself, think of only myself, and indulging in the things I alone want to do. These days off may seem selfish to some, but they are necessary for me. It is a chance for me to recharge, pamper myself (though it may not seem like pampering to everyone), and give myself a moment to breath and relax. Time on my own is the ultimate recharge/reset button. I come back from these trips happier, refreshed, and with more patience. As much as I look forward to these few days away from my real life; I enjoy coming back home just as much. If I ever need a self-esteem boost, my children are great at helping me feel loved and needed; sometimes to the point of annoyance, but after a day or two away it’s a welcome feeling. I was tackled by three of the four children when I came home, the youngest was napping, and it felt amazing. Not only that, Kevin had decided to take the binky away from Roxi while I was gone. Now, she doesn’t need it anymore and we are completely pacifier free in this house.
All and all it was an amazing mom break. I feel better coming back, I had an amazing time recharging and refreshing on my own; and though it is good to be home, I can’t wait until my birthday when I get to do it all again!!
Here are some more pictures: