Once upon a time I used to like going to hotels. I liked walking into a freshly done up room that wasn’t prepared by me.
I loved seeing the linens that were fresh and crisp, and not because I did the laundry. I loved the freshly folded towels, not folded by me. I loved the little adorable essentials that I didn’t shop for.
I felt like a queen.
And then I went to a hotel with all my kids. And we stayed in one room. And then we did it again. And again.
And no longer did a hotel have the same appeal.
It started innocently enough. We got to the lobby to check in. We asked for two connecting rooms. Oh, they don’t have connecting rooms.
Can I put kids ages 6 and under in their own room? No, not going to work.
So how bad can it be to be in one room?
We piled in. Us and all our 45 pieces of luggage of every shape, color and size. And suddenly the hotel room looked different than it had for so many years.
The drawers opened and closed so easily, waiting for little fingers to close it on themselves. Twenty lamps to flick off and on. Alarm clocks to set and beep every couple of minutes. A phone to call room service as many times as you please. A blow dryer in the bathroom, accessible to all. And the beds; those mattresses were way more fun to jump on than the house ones.
The abundance of pillows! Not just any pillows; but pillows that are so fluffy and puffy they make great Frisbees, balls, airplanes and anything else that can sail across a room. And a swivel chair. All a mom’s nightmares in one room.
That very first time we did it, we needed 10 extra blankets and 6 more pillows.
I opened the door just a crack when room service arrived; no point letting them see just how many kids can fit into one cramped hotel room.
And then bedtime began. I wheeled the baby up and down the hall, praying for him to sleep and trying to be intrigued by the non intricate detail of the carpets, while my husband tried to get the rest of the gang to bed. When baby was finally sleeping, I quietly went back to the hotel room and switched him in for the rowdy toddler who kept climbing out of the pac ‘n play; up and down the hall I went…but it didn’t work.
I brought him back to the room and took the energetic four year old out, hoping my husband could do his magic and get the toddler to sleep.
By 11:43 pm, all the kids were asleep. It was pitch black. My husband and I didn’t dare turn on a light, whisper, or breathe for that matter, out of fear of waking up one of the kids.
I quietly tiptoed into bed, not without tripping over a little shoe and stubbing my toe into those useless hotel desks.
At 1:03, the baby was crying; I didn’t give him a chance to see if he’d fall back asleep, I grabbed him and nursed him, out of fear that someone else would wake up.
2:10 my 4 year old whimpered; I held my breath; no one wake up!!
Phew, they were all still sleeping.
3:25 I was nursing again.
4:15 I had a stiff neck from those over fluffy hotel pillows.
4:45 I started thinking about bedbugs.
5:05 I was nursing again.
6:01 the guy next door was starting his day early and the slam of his hotel room door was deafening.
Everyone was still sleeping.
6:15 I heard a whisper.
6:16 I heard two whispers.
6:18 and they were all up. And I was still trying to fall into a peaceful sleep.
Why oh why didn’t we just stay home?? Whose idea was this anyway? I’m never doing this again! Ever! Even if it means doing my own laundry and folding my own towels!
But of course, we did do it again. Many times.
Last weekend was our most recent hotel adventure; although my memory changes with time, the experience doesn’t. It was a weekend retreat with 25 other families. And for the second year in a row, my kids won the kids-who-wake-up-earliest award, and my husband continued his winning streak of dad-who-gets-up-earliest-with-his-kids award.
And I got to sleep in an extra 2 hours, convincing myself it was a solid sleep, despite the uncomfortable, over-fluffy pillows and dreaming of bed bugs.
And I know we’ll do it again.
And even though we unplug every outlet, put away blow dryers, bring our own pillows and use our suitcase full of tricks we’ve accumulated over our many hotel experiences, I know it’s not going to be a vacation stay.
I just add it to the many things I didn’t notice in the fine print when I signed up for this wonderful and crazy thing called motherhood.