The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
My attempt to get back my somewhat creative juices that had evaporated with stale milk and juice left in the sippy cups under my furniture.
W.I.N.O.S (Women in Need of Sanity)
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By Jessica Shaffer
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July 2, 2012 12:01 a.m.

I think the moment when a women becomes a mother she automatically assumes control over every situation pertaining to her family. She is the rock, the go to gal, the final decision maker. Daddy can't find his keys? Ask mom. Don't know what's wrong with the baby? Ask mom. What's for dinner? Ask mom. And the irony is that even though she assumes control, she'll complain about it, and FINALLY when someone else is in charge, gripes how it could be done better. Well, that's how I am anyway.
I suffer from an immense about of "mommy guilt." Possibly brought on by being cooped up in the house, I can't even step foot outside without anxiety brought on by how I'm leaving things at home. I trust wholeheartedly that Dad can care for our kids better than anyone else, but letting go and being absent isn't something I know how to do. Staying at home is what I do. My house may be in utter chaos at times, but it's my chaos. I know how to weave in and out of the dirty dishes, baskets of laundry, and the catastrophic meltdowns of a three year old.
Recently my family celebrated my older sister's thirtieth twenty-eighth birthday. It was a huge surprise for her. My mom had it all planned out. She rented The Water Valley Inn in Cobden and we would go do the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. This would be my first family trip where I wasn't pregnant or had to take any kids with me. I was ready to go, but the whole drive down there I kept thinking about my kids. The whole drive down there I had to stop and check the back seat to remind my self why it was so quiet in the car. The whole drive down there I kept hoping that Aaron remembers how Addison likes to eat her Ramen Noodles...
I can't even let go about Ramen Noodles? How long has it been since I got out of the house?
Of course when I arrived and got settled in, my thoughts focused more on consuming wine and having a blast with my family, child free. But I would be lying if I didn't say my mind didn't wonder about what my kids were wearing or what they had for breakfast. During the second night, I wondered if they even remembered me at all. And then I realized that I thought very highly of myself for someone who is just a stay at home mom.
After two nights it was time to go home. On the drive I kept playing scenarios in my head of me walking in the door.
Scenario 1
KIDS: "YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!" Hugs and kisses all around
HUSBAND: Rushes towards me, grabs me by the waist; passionate kiss."DARLING, I MISSED YOU EVER SO MUCH! DON'T EVER LEAVE AGAIN!"
Scenario 2
KIDS: "YAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!" Hugs and kisses all around.
HUSBAND: "These kids are driving my crazy! I don't understand how you do this day in and day out I haven't had time to shower Addison doesn't like the way I make her noodles Bubba has just cried and cried and cried for you! DON'T EVER LEAVE AGAIN!"
Scenario 3
ME: I stop in Olney to get gas. Leonardo Dicaprio just happens to be getting gas right next to me. We make googly eyes.
LEO: Rushes towards me, grabs me by the waist. "Run away with me, Jessica!"
ME: "I can't! My husband and children are desperately missing me at home. I love them too much, Leo, to just run away. But please always remember we had this moment....Please always remember we got gas together..." **SWOON**
KIDS: They don't even get up from playing. "Hey Mommy, what are you doing?" Asked Addison. Bubba shoves a toy car in my face.
DAD: Sitting at computer, drinking coffee. "Hey, what's up?"
The house wasn't disheveled. No one was in tears. The house was clean. Cleaner then I would have had it on any given Sunday...(But that's a whole other topic I'm sure my mother would love to tell you about.)
I guess the lesson I learned is that, yes, I am loved and needed at home, but not as much as I like to think. The reason I have mommy guilt is because I bring it on myself. I have options to go out and get away, but I don't, and I know the more I do get out, the guilt will subside. I've heard from a lot of moms that as my kids get older I will get better at this. That I should learn to get out of the house now because there will come a time when my kids will be out with their friends and I will be left at home with nothing to do.
My lesson for anyone reading: If you know a hard working mother, stay at home or not, sometimes she needs to be told that it's okay to go out and do something for herself. I know I'm not the only one who has extreme anxiety about leaving her kids and I know I'm not the only one who needs a little push over the threshold of her door to get over it.
On a drunker note, I had a fantastic time down at the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. This would make a perfect getaway for any group of girls needing a break.(Like I said, we went for my sister's thirtieth twenty-eighth birthday.)
Where we stayed: The Water Valley Inn in Cobden Illinois. BEAUTIFUL place. Great for large parties. You get the whole place to yourself!
Where we drank: Hedman Orchard and Vineyards, Star View Vineyards, Alto Vineyards, Blue Sky Vineyards, Orlandini Vineyard, Owl Creek Vineyards, and Rustle Hill Winery.
My Top Three Favorite Wines: Owl Creek Vineyard's Water Valley White Wine, Alto Vinyard's Heartland Red Wine, and Orlandini Vineyard's Saluki Red.
Favorite Vineyards: Owl Creek Vineyard and Rustle Hill Winery.
Least favorite vineyard: Hedman
There are twenty nine different wineries to go to so plan out a route AND DON'T GET LOST, because that didn't happen to us AT ALL.
And always drink responsibly and have an absolutely fabulous time....

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