A few weeks ago,  I had the good fortune to get away with four great girlfriends.  While I was only away from home for 36 hours (and I spent six of them in the car!), I returned feeling refreshed, recharged and reminded of just how lucky I am to call these amazing women friends.

The last time we all went away, two of us were pregnant for the very first time.  While the rest of the gang partied it up, we went home early and whispered in the dark about belly butters and the awe (and horror!) of pregnancy.  Now, with our babies born and our lives forever changed, it was a true treat to reconnect, decompress and yes, even relax for a short while as we left our husbands, children, jobs and obligations behind for a brief time... time that was so well spent, we're convinced it should be an annual event.  

Here's why:

1.Only your girlfriends will tell you that you need to lose the Mom jeans.  Or khaki pants.  Or sensible shoes.  Maybe not all the time, but certainly some of the time.  Your girlfriends will remind you of your life pre-kids and reassure you that you are just as cute/smart/great now as you were back then -- and, that you should at least occasionally dress that way!  They will also help you find the right jeans and, having suffered through the hunt, will wisely tell you that when you find the magic pair, you should buy two of them.  Listen to this advice.  It is good advice!
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2. Your girlfriends will make you realize how much you've changed.  For the better.  Sure you may now have saggy boobs, a few gray hairs and a mid-section best not exposed but, you also have the wisdom of years and a new-found confidence that you may have lacked in your 20s.  You've advanced your career or perhaps left it behind for the full time job called motherhood.  Either way, you believe the decisions you've made are the right ones.  And that deserves a pat on the back -- a pat that your girlfriends are all too willing to give.

3. Your girlfriends make you realize that your problems are, for the most part, universal.  Everyone occasionally struggles with their kids, their husband, their finances, even their sex life. Who wouldn't as the years pass by, the babies arrive, the sleep disappears and the the daily responsibilities grow.  The days may be long but the years go by quickly; enduring friendships are a great way to commiserate about the the challenges you face now -- and the ones you faced before and now can laugh about... which leads me to...

4. Girlfriends are great to laugh with.  And be silly with.  And be yourself with.  They accept you for who you really are and love you for the person you are today -- even as they laugh aloud at the person you were back in the day.  The one in the daisy dress, drunk as a loon, dancing like a rock star.  Or, perhaps more like Elaine on Seinfeld.  They don't care.  They love you for you and you love them back.  Even when they are laughing at you.  Or with you.  It really doesn't matter; either way, they are there for you now, were there for you then and will be there for you tomorrow.

5. A getaway with girlfriends is like a "get out of jail free card."  I don't mean to imply that the Lyons Den is a jail but rather that a brief getaway is a joy-filled freedom to have a break from it all -- no laundry, no dirty diapers, no cooking and no cleaning up.  To the contrary, a short escape with the girls provides he opportunity to do a bit of shopping (see #1!), maybe get a pedicure, linger over coffee in your pjs and have that one last drink because you know the little people who typically wake you up at night are safely tucked in a few hours away.

Girlfriends, and girls weekends, are good for the soul.  They are vital reminders that we are so much more than moms, wives and workers.  We are funny, we are fun and we deserve to have a good time every now and again.  Believe me, I have fun with my family.  In fact, we have a LOT of fun but, a weekend with the gals is good for everyone.  In addition to painted toes and some new clothes, I came home with renewed appreciation for my great husband and incredible kids.  I have my girlfriends to thank for that, and for so much more.  Including next year's getaway, which is already in the works!