In Pursuit of the “Mom Cave”

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It’s obvious that Mother Nature is taking no prisoners this winter but I sure as heck wish she’d take me!  This raw, snow-laden winter we’re coming off of (sorry neighbors—there’s nothing I can do about the Christmas decorations still frozen to my front lawn) is wreaking havoc on that precious gift God gave me when I eagerly signed up for motherhood—my sanity.

Sure I knew it wouldn’t always be a picnic, but c’mon—it’s hard enough entertaining them during the blissful, balmy months of summer.  It’s just not fair toying with a bunch of decent, hardworking, overtired group of mothers’ fragile states by throwing in nearly a week’s worth of unplanned snow days that we had to survive now too!

My husband, away on business during the week, would innocently call home to see how everything was going.   If he caught me at a good time (say 2 AM after the shoveling, 6 piles of wet snow laundry, 5 extra snow meal preparations, did I mention shoveling, on top of the usual Nirvana that we housewives live to tell about each day) my response wasn’t overly hostile.  Other than that—my children were instructed not to answer the phone!

Yes, this winter more than any other got me to thinking about that term “you can run but you can’t hide”.  In our house, that’s an understatement—with 10 people living in less than 3000 square feet of coping space, hiding just isn’t an option—for me at least.  When the kids want some space they quickly retreat to the privacy of their bedrooms.  My husband has his own den (small as it is) or the bathroom (did I say that?) for his escapes, but I have absolutely no place to call my own.  Even our dog can sneak away and hide under the dining room table for heaven’s sake.  If the four-legged members of this family can have a spot to find some respite, so should the woman who scratches her belly. That said, I decided it was high time to find my own quiet retreat.  Yes—it’s time this house had a “mom cave”.

With a new purpose for which to live, I quickly began searching our homestead for the perfect place to call my own.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy to uncover a dusty corner or hole that no one else had yet laid claim to, but always the optimist, I wouldn’t give up until I found some little box to call mine.

As I started scouring our property, (with great promise, mind you) I got as far as the linen closet when the first dose of reality hit…… “Mom—why do you let Annie go in our room?  She spilled all our nail polish!”   And then….. “Who stole the rest of the Reese’s Puff’s?”  Distracted but not discouraged I keep to the task at hand, hunting for any little snippet of space I can transform into my very own hideout.  The grumbling in the background continued which only made me more determined to locate any remotely possible nook in this place.

With limited space to choose from, my bedroom was the logical choice but then again, with our king-sized bed already in there, how could I possibly fit my well-deserved mom toys as well?  I mean, the typical man cave is well equipped with a wet bar, a couple of comfy recliners, a pool table, dart boards, a home-theatre system, a mini fridge, a stuffed bear head mounted above the flat screen and a coffee table strewn with a plethora of TV remotes and a little silver bell to ring for service as needed.  Nah, the bedroom is definitely not going to work.  There’s only room for a bell, and I know someone will end up just taking it.

Thinking outside the box I am drawn to the idea of the asymmetrical closet under our stairs, but wait, we lost that to the big floods last March.  Next, there’s the oversized walk-in closet in our mudroom, oh, forgot, we never did add that when we did our renovations.  Maybe the shed in the backyard? Absolutely not—the Spanish tile still hasn’t been laid yet.  Then again, there’s always my car.  Now I’m on to something—a “mobile mom cave”!  I could just hop in and drive to a quiet little refuge like the grocery store or the kid’s baseball practice.  Forgot—I do that on a weekly basis anyway.

The pursuit of my very own “mom cave” was a bit more challenging than I had originally thought, but the possibility of someday having an exclusive sanctuary where I can simply sneak away for even 10 minutes to enjoy some peace and quiet or to wolf down an entire bag of potato chips with nobody watching is exhilarating enough to keep me searching.  For now, I will resort to the “mom cave” that is available to me at a moment’s notice, my God-given mind.  No matter how many snow days or other uncontrollable moments come my way, I can always escape to the great upstairs and temporarily drift away to thoughts and feelings that are exclusively all mine!

Copyright 2011 Cheryl L. Butler

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