When I think about all the "down time" I had Before Kids, I just can't believe the luxury of it all. Now, I try to get a "Mom's Time Out" at least one evening a week. Usually I get together with some mom friends and knit at a cafe or yarn shop. Having just taken my first overnight (32 hours!) away from the family since my son was born almost 18 months ago to attend the Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon, I'm inspired to get one more block of time to get down in my sewing room and quilt at least once a week.
Like a lot of parents, I have lost many of my BK friends and now mostly socialize with other mothers of young children. The women I happened to go out of town with are moms of much older kids (like, out of college) or not moms. While they had some interest in talking kids, it was from a different perspective than that of my mom friends who are still in the toddler trenches and it helped me mentally relax to not trade wee-one war stories, but to hear the calm, knowing voices of moms who'd been there, survived, and knew I would too.
It was also a relief to leave the kids at home with their dad and know that they were Okay Without Me. REALLY. Not that I doubt my husband's abilities--he had some concerns, but I knew he'd be okay. I worried that our still-nursing toddler would cry all night, though, and be traumatized by the separation. My fears were not born out and now that we've managed our first successful mom-free overnight, I have a feeling I'll be getting away more often.
While I do enjoy my time out of the house with my friends, I think that for really getting back in touch with that creative, multi-faceted, reflective person I was BK, time alone is essential and I'm thinking of scheduling myself a short retreat, say here: www.breitenbush.com.