After 14 months of primal scream, brace yourself for the "mumspringa."

Apr 30, 2021 @ 3:40 pm
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Moms Are Going Buck Wild After The Pandemic
Credit: Stx Entertainment/Kobal/Shutterstock

When Megan thee Stallion rapped the lyrics, "It's a Hot Girl Summer, so you know she got it lit," she probably didn't have a horde of pandemic-weary mothers in mind. But here we are, preparing for a sweaty, slutty break from the norm, desperate for a reprieve from Zoom school, food-encrusted soft pants and making what feels like 12 home-cooked meals a day, officially taking up the cause. 

As our 'primal screams' have attested, moms have experienced a crippling year of anxiety, frustration, heartbreak and fear. 

We're not good, bitch, and it shows. 

So a hint of wishful thinking is merging with the high of finally being able to see friends and be seen by the world, and here we are, ready to explode onto the scene with a fervor previously reserved for college spring break, rumspringa, or so many vaccinated Boomers in early March. 

Of course most of the world is still very much in the throes of a third wave of infections, but with over half of Americans having received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, the light is ever so faintly shining at the end of the tunnel, and moms in particular are ready to turn this glimmer of hope into a full-on disco ball of optimism. 

Brace yourselves: Here comes the mumspringa.

After a year of flight restrictions and airplane fear, travel is top of mind for many newly vaccinated mothers who need to GTFO. And while international travel is probably still more of a flight of fantasy, the sheer idea of going beyond our interior walls is intoxicating. Women have been crafting fantasy-vacation Pinterest boards for an entire year already, hoping that if they build it, it will come. If you pulled a car out front of almost any mom's house this weekend and said "Get in, loser, we're going —" she'd have a suitcase in the trunk before you specified a destination. 

Tafari Travel, a boutique travel agency based in Denver has seen a "slight uptick" in moms booking travel, but, speaking as a mom herself, president Leah Smith anticipates the real boom will happen after the current school year ends. "There's a great need and desire [to travel now], so we are in the midst of planning quite a few mom getaways." She adds a reality check that "moms are still in the weeds," but she knows they'll hit the pavement as soon as school's out for summer — "and it's very much deserved." 

For Toronto-based mom of two Kathryn Jezer-Morton, the dream is to meet up with old friends from college near the beach — no kids, just vibes. "We're gonna go for like three nights, no kids, and basically drink margaritas and eat chips and artichoke dip on the beach. That's the entire plan," she says. But since Jezer-Morton is Canadian and her friends are across the border in the U.S. the trip will have to wait until she's fully vaccinated, which could be a while, as Canada's vaccine supply has not kept up with demand. "I had to be the buzzkill," she said.

While Michelle Arbuckle, a librarian from Toronto and mom of an 8-year-old girl has "been daydreaming about a summer camp for adults," she's also not waiting around for relaxed travel restrictions to make her getaway. "Two weeks ago I checked into a hotel downtown from Sunday to Tuesday," she tells me. "I got a corner suite with a giant soaker tub and then basically moved into the giant, sun-filled bathroom all weekend. Ate Popeyes chicken in the tub, re-watched Girls in the tub, drank mimosas in the tub." 

She's living the pandemic mom dream.

If you can't physically escape your surroundings, at the very least you can pretend to be somewhere or even someone else. Temporarily. According to a New York Times piece from October, many parents are indulging in all manner of "helpers" to take the edge off the chaos of parenting and working simultaneously from home.

And Arbuckle is escaping in these ways as well. "I have found that synthetic happiness is the way I'm getting through right now. I smoke more weed to get to sleep, I microdose during the week, I'll take an edible on days I'm not working," she says. She'll see your high school spring break and raise you one.

Ottawa-based Human Resources professional Valerie Klassen, who has a 1-year-old and 3-year-old and has spent much of the past year-and-a-half in isolation, has similar plans. "You better believe that I think regularly about booking myself a hotel suite, buying some edibles, and ditching my beautiful family for just one night."

Not everyone needs the glamour of a vaxication or the thrill of a chemical trip. For mom of two Courtney Walker, the fantasy is a bit simpler: "Honestly, an afternoon trying on clothes by myself at the mall and then eating a giant plate of food-court noodles would be pretty great," she says. I have a similar post-pandemic fantasy, I guess this past year has really brought out the teen in all of us.

And after many, many months of living room dance parties soundtracked by Baby Shark and other tuneless toddler tracks, some women just want to party, the old-fashioned way. 

"I really miss queer dance parties," says 36-year-old mom of one Linnea Kenworthy. "I miss lighting that looks glamorous even if you've been sweating for four hours, I miss running into your new best friend that you made in the washroom, I miss seeing someone's outfit fantasy coming to life on the floor, and I even miss losing it when one of your songs comes on." 

My post-vaccine aspirations encompass all of the above. I desperately want to be alone, untouched, undisturbed and left to my stories (infinity episodes of Dateline and Forensic Files) and of course I passionately long to see anything besides my bedroom, the inside of my car, or the grocery store. 

Moms have been through it since March 2020, stretched ourselves to the limit and beyond, and the end is as achingly far away as it is on the horizon. Once we do dip an eager toe into the post-vaccine world, we're still left with the seemingly insurmountable burden of rebuilding what we've lost. So, sure, maybe it feels too soon to even talk about girls trips or post-pandemic partying but given what us moms are still going through, I say let the dreams carry you through. 

At this point, even the mere hint, the simplest suggestion of a freer summer is so utterly captivating that I could honestly keel over at the thought.