Hip Mom: The Hip Mom Runs Away
Oh my dear mommies, I have a crazy wonderful discovery to share with you: Did you know that outside of your four walls, outside of your family room and its littered Legos and continuous looping of Dora, there is a whole wide world, that has nothing to do with your children, nothing to do with snot, poopy diapers, homework, or “Mama can I have a DRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIINK?” I know, I know, this revelation shook my mom jeans right off too. But it’s true. There is this glorious place called Earth Outside of Your Home, and I am telling you to get out there and visit it.
How, you ask? Well, yes, that’s tricky! My husband has a little flexibility at work, and I have in-laws in town who are able to pitch in – so even with six kids, I am able to swing a brief trip (although I pack my nursing baby!). Perhaps you can enlist a friend or trusted babysitter to cover some pickups or tough spots? Someone you trust? Because I know: the queasy anticipation of a trip like this is accompanied by much dread. What if someone gets sick right before you leave? I know my husband and eminently capable in-laws can handle such catastrophes, but doesn’t a sick kid need his or her MOMMY?
Well, of course. But life is full of risks, as any mother who has let her child actually out of her sight for eight seconds knows all too well. And that’s part and parcel of the whole letting go thing. So I try to push my worries aside, prepare things in advance to make things just a little easier, and go with a clean conscience. Gulp!
Fortunately, around Tulsa there are quite a few places that are either a quick drive or cheapish flight away. My lawyer sister, Molly, happened to have a copyright conference in quirky, beautiful Austin, Texas. So we coax other sister, Missy, to come out for a rendezvous, and voila! — sisters’ reunion – just a couple hours away from home for me. We stay at the Omni hotel downtown, where there is not only the copyright lawyers’ convention, but also a Tantric yoga conference (everyone is dressed in white turbans and white loose clothing), and a whole gaggle of runners convening for the Austin marathon. It is hilariously evident who is with which group!
We start out our trip by walking (oh, walking urban streets! Such a fun spectator sport!) through the strip of college bars to a little gem of a spa called Joie de Vie. The solicitous estheticians ply us with mimosas; I get a facial (so I can hold Margaux) while my sisters get massages. I feel weightless, like I’m running on rocket fuel, without the demands and plaintive screeches of the rest of my children. And everything I see seems thrown into high definition, like walking from black and white into a Technicolor dream; funny how much you see when you’re not preoccupied with many little ones.
For dinner we go to the Hula Hut on Lake Austin, which is like walking into a Texan luau. Recommended to me by a hot old guy from my Austin flight (alas, the only demographic which still finds me attractive), the Hula Hut cuisine can best be described as Polynesian-infused Tex Mex. It feels like a crazy, fun happy hour inside; I would love to come back when the decks – right on the lake – are open. My sister orders some frou frou umbrella drink with cucumber-infused vodka, declares it delicious, and then promptly spills it all over her lap. My other sister and I find this hilarious. (No, we don’t get out much.) After dinner, the girl trip gods must throw pixie dust our way, because I get Margaux down to sleep and we are able to sneak to the hotel bar, which is chock-full of lounge lizards, for a postprandial Irish coffee.
Try to rely on cabs, if you can; some walking and a few shared cab rides is far less stressful than renting a car and fretting over driving and directions. The next day, Molly attends to some copyright shenanigans while Missy and I hit the Austin mall, Barton Creek Square. Sure, it’s a lot like any mall – a bigger, snazzier Woodland Hills – but without having to stop at the potties, the kiddie area, or a Merry-Go-Round, wow – what a vacation! I spend probably three hours playing at the Nordstrom there. We wrap up our day with a lovely Italian meal (and a cute waiter!) at Vespaio’s, and walk our way back to the hotel, soaking up the sights, the people, the urban life that has so little to do with kiddies in the suburbs.
Another wonderful spot for a great getaway right next door: Dallas! My dear friend Kappa Kappa Karen and I initiate what needs to be a yearly tradition: Shopapalooza. Karen finds $99 round trip tickets to Dallas on Southwest, so at awful dark thirty on a Friday morning, we sneak off to the airport, and are at the doorsteps of NorthPark Mall in Dallas just as it opens. We spend an entire 12 hours scouring the mall, eating, getting free makeovers, laughing, talking and having a mommy blast. Then we head to our hotel for the evening: the W Victory Park Lane, where my husband found a great deal. It is the antithesis of the kid-friendly hotel — über-modern, über-chic and über wonderful — there is even a party on the roof for someone famous (rumor has it it’s Mark Wahlberg!) We take the elevator up intending to crash the party, but chicken out and don’t actually get OFF the elevator, suspecting our awkwardness just screams “Moms from the Burbs!” But we have a fantastic evening anyway.
The next morning, we sleep in until the decadent hour of 9 a.m., head down to the hotel bar for breakfast (there may have been a Bloody Mary consumed), and then head out for even more shopping. Karen nabbed us tickets for an event at the Fashion Industry Gallery. Fashion Industry Gallery (FIG) is a “boutique wholesale venue, open to the fashion retail trade that showcases the best in women’s, men’s, and children’s contemporary, bridge sportswear, and accessories” located in the Arts District in Downtown Dallas, and Karen gets us tickets to one of the 5 apparel markets per year that coordinates with the national standard of seasonal shows. We show up with our tickets and spend many hours perusing the booths, buying adorable, trendy dresses, shoes, tops and purses at bargain prices. After another rough day of shopping, we head to the airport and back to reality. All this fun and bonding in just 36 hours!