Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Paris Escape - Brought to You by Our TW Ash

We are thrilled to welcome the first contribution to our new Thriving Wives Collective! Ash is a longtime friend of mine, who over the years has become family. When Ash shared her European travel plans on one of our catch-up sessions, I had to know the details. Even as she was telling me I started to feel racked with guilt and wondered how she was going to do it. Since her son is only a week younger than my boys, I was amazed at her strength and ability to feel confident about taking advantage of an opportunity to enjoy a romantic getaway with her husband. Now, if that doesn't motivate you to thrive and yet still do you...then heck, I don't know what will!  

Enjoy & Strive to thrive, 

Newsflash to me: My thriving husband has to travel to London for two weeks for work. Well, we decided to make the best of his work situation and make a vacation of Paris, France!!  We love to travel to new places, have always wanted to visit Paris, and the idea of eating/ drinking our way through such a romantic city sounded we decided to go abroad...without the "baby".

Of course I was nervous at the thought of leaving our son. But, we are extremely fortunate that we live within 5 minutes of two sets of grandparents.  Once I organized childcare between my mom, my mother-in-law, my step-mother-in-law and our nanny, we were set! 

To prepare for leaving home, I made sure to confirm (and reconfirm) the childcare situation.  All the caregivers were coming to our house to take care of Jake.  We wanted to keep him in his environment and have as little disruption to his schedule as possible.  Thankfully, they supported our "routine" and were committed to staying 24 hours a day. We made sure to leave his insurance card, medical release forms and all the appropriate medical contact information. Good thing we did, since it was unfortunately needed.

While Em has shared her struggle with the mom guilt, I am going to be honest...and this may sound bad, but I was pretty excited to go on trip like this without my son.  Now that Jake is almost 2, and I had a fantastic childcare situation, I was feeling pretty comfortable.  Plus, I had been working full time and on solo mom duty for 2 weeks already while my TH worked. Needless to say, this mama was ready to see her husband and have a break! 

Now while I was initially thrilled to get away, when I got to the airport the anxiety set in. I was able to keep that under control with some wine at the airport bar and in flight. Once I arrived in France, saw my husband and played out a scene from a romantic movie (yes, running into each others arms before falling into a deep kiss), all was forgotten. And...that lasted all of two days. Then, that awful guilt started to creep in again.  

To make matters worse, my son has never been sick. Of course, while we were away, he came down with an ear infection, cold and cough. UGH! I felt horrible that I couldn't be him.  I felt helpless.  I worked through the guilt by sticking with the plan to stay in touch with our family regularly. I made a point to Face Time with Jake each day and talk out my guilt with my with my husband. Thankfully, he helped me work through my feelings and helped me remember Jake was in great hands and most importantly, we were in Paris!

Despite the worry I had about being away from my sick son, I did my best to make the most of the time we had away.  My favorite memories from our trip was when we spent close to 10 hours a day just exploring the magical city of Paris.  

One day we rented bikes and rode over to the eiffel tower. Little did we know that this would be one of the more terrifying experiences of our lives due to the crazy amount of traffic and my "emerging" bike skills (my college girls can attest to that). But, we laughed a lot and will never forget the experience. 

I also loved the freedom of walking the city at night. We stood in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral and just stared at all the beautiful lighting and architecture. Definitely couldn't have done that with a toddler in tow. It was truly amazing. 

Fun Fact: Paris was one of the first European cities to adopt gas street lighting which is why it is known as the, "city of lights".

Once I was able to disconnect from the guilt of being away and focus on enjoying myself and reconnecting with my husband by the end of the trip, we were THRIVING again!

Now getting back....that was tough. Jake had been thrown off his schedule big time.  Of course, we couldn't expect every caregiver to do things exactly in "our" way, so they all had a slightly different way of caring for him.  For example, we had been trying (very hard) to limit the amount of pacifier time he had as he loved that paci.  Unfortunately, by the time we were back, when we took it away a major meltdown ensued.  While it was hard and long, thankfully, it only took about a week and a half for things to fall back into place.  

If I could go back and do it again...I would in a heartbeat.

Meet Ash:

Even under a kitchen remodel she's still Thriving!
A born and bred California "Valley Girl" Ash was introduced to her husband (ironically, also a "Valley Boy") after returning to So Cal once she graduated from Chico State. When "the party was over" and it was time to grow up, she soon met the man of her dreams. She knew she was where she was meant to be. This September marks her 5th wedding anniversary while August will mark her beautiful son's 2nd birthday.   

While Ash has always been a career driven independent woman, her priorities shifted a bit when she became a mommy. Since both she and her Thriving Husband are total "bosses, (#powercouple), she decided to move to a new company located closer to her stunning Studio City home. 

Her Thriving Life Philosophy?  

Making sure the most important relationships in her life stay "watered" or "filled up". The first relationship she makes sure to keep full is the one with herself.  If she's not taking care of herself (mentally or physically) she can't be the best version of herself for the rest of her relationships.  While it is easy to forget yourself once you become a wife and mother, she has spent the better part of her 30's trying to work on herself.  Her relationship with her husband is one she cherishes more than anything.  She recognizes that her family started with two and as long as they stay strong everything else around them will too. She feels she is thriving most when all her relationships are "watered". Everyday she tries her best.  

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