This guest post comes from Marilyn, one of the winners of Hyatt’s Big Welcome Back Giveaway that we hosted a while back. This is why we like to do trip giveaways. ~ CajunMama
Regardless of what the mommy mafia says, motherhood sucks. Everything is about your family – you sacrifice your dreams for them, you put their needs before yours, you cook for them, clean up after them, help them with their homework, sit with them while they cry over simple and sometimes complicated issues, drive them everywhere and even do their laundry. If you’re lucky, they may remember to say thank you but more often than not, you’re more likely to get an eye roll than a word of gratitude. That’s why I recommend that once a year every mother does something that is utterly and selfishly about her. That’s right, I subscribe to the belief that at least once a year mothers should be allowed to do one thing that is all about them. I have been doing this for five years now and I believe I am a better mother because of it.
This year at the stroke of midnight on December 31, while moms everywhere were pledging to be better mothers, I promised myself I would attend a Brad Paisley concert. I have had the biggest crush on the man since I saw him performing live at my college stadium five years ago and I’ve always wanted to see him performing live again but you know how that goes – life happened, the baby came, bills had to be paid and there just never seemed enough hours in my day to even listen to an entire Brad Paisley CD in one sitting. So this year, I vowed I would drive to wherever he was performing and see him. Did I accomplish it? Yes I did. On Saturday, August 14, I was one of thousands of screaming “Paisley-nuts” playing air guitar right along with Brad while singing every single lyric of his hit songs.
But that trip wouldn’t have been possible without a sweet win from Travelingmamas.com. Earlier this year the Hyatt Hotels ran a “Big Welcome Back” promotion on a few blogs and my entry was randomly picked on Travelingmamas.com giving me two free nights at any Hyatt Property. I wrote that I wanted to visit Florida, New York or Las Vegas and spend my free nights there. It was wishful thinking on my part and little did I know at the time that I would indeed be having a glorious time in one of those three states.
The day the winning email landed in my mailbox is a day I will never forget. I was on the road traveling for work and my boss had put me up in a rather crappy hotel, you know the kind where you don’t even want to take a shower in the bathroom because you might come out dirtier than when you went in. I was contemplating checking into another hotel on my own dime just to take a shower when I noticed I had won two free nights at a Hyatt. I jumped with joy until I realized I couldn’t redeem them immediately so I had to spend that work trip in the crappy hotel.
Upon returning home I remembered my New Year’s day promise to myself and immediately started searching for information on Brad Paisley’s tour schedule and unfortunately for whatever reason he wasn’t coming to my state but luckily for me, he had three shows scheduled in Florida as long as I didn’t mind driving over 600 miles to see him. Being the hardcore fan I am, I strapped my toddler into his car seat and set off to West Palm Beach, Florida. I’m a city girl and I love staying right in the middle of the action so I checked into the Hyatt Place in Downtown West Palm Beach. The first thing that struck me was how cool the hotel lobby was – trust me, driving 600 miles in 95+ degree heat in a car without air conditioning will make you appreciate how cold the staff at the Hyatt Place keep the hotel lobby. I was also very impressed with just how squeaky clean the hotel was. Before my son and I could even say a word, we had about three very professional and extremely nice staff members welcome us with huge grins. I felt like royalty. We arrived two hours prior to the official check in time but the staff where nice enough to let us check in early. Checking in was swift and painless and in a few minutes we were in the elevator heading to our room. We found our room unlocked with a repair man fixing something in the bathroom and I have to say he was one of the nicest people ever. He apologized for the fact that he was still in the room when we got there and then immediately got down to my son’s eye level and started telling him which cartoon channels he’d enjoy on the TV. My hyper son with his twenty million questions was thrilled to have found a grown up cooler than his mom. I’ll forever be indebted to this repair man for keeping my son entertained while I recouped from my 12-hour drive.
I wish I could tell you that I found at least one bad thing about the Hyatt Place in Downtown West Palm Beach but the truth is the hotel was flawless, the breakfast was fresh and delicious, the staff was superb, attentive and friendly, the room was amazing and incredibly comfortable and the best part about the Hyatt Place in Downtown West Palm Beach was the fact that the shuttle was available anytime guests wanted to use it. This has always been a big pet peeve of mine. I hate making my schedule based on when the hotel shuttle runs and thankfully the Hyatt shuttle is always parked right out front ready to take you wherever you want (within a 20 mile radius) when you want. Did I mention that the Hyatt also has a cool kiosk in the lobby where you can self check in or out? Pretty impressive.
So I got to see Brad Paisley. My little dude got to spend time building sand castles and chasing waves at the beach and we both got to spend two heavenly nights in a luxury hotel we would never otherwise be able to afford. To this day, my son hasn’t stopped talking about the comfortable beds at the Hyatt and I’m still blown away by their ultra comfortable sleeper sofas. But the best memory for both of us is when it came to check out time and I presented our room keys to the front desk guy. He looked through his system, looked up at me, then back to his system and with a puzzled look said “your bill has already been taken of, you don’t owe a thing”. The inquisitive look on his face betrayed him and I knew he was dying to know how we managed to score two free nights at a high end luxury hotel but he was too polite to ask so I leaned in and whispered, “I know people who know the people who got us the room for free” and slyly winked at him. My son laughed so hard while the poor guy turned a deep shade of pink. I turned to my son and high fived him as we dragged our bags to our car.
The whole 12 hours back to Georgia, I listened to my son recounting every single detail of our mother and son West Palm Beach weekend getaway and I recall thinking how lucky I was that I got to enjoy that experience with my eager little man. Everyone needs a partner in crime to form lasting memories with and I had my own sidekick rambling away in the back seat. I stared at him through the rear view mirror and I smiled to myself as it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe motherhood doesn’t suck.
Special thanks to Marilyn for her story and to Hyatt for providing the giveaway TravelingMamas.com hosted. We’re happy to be a part of one family’s lasting travel memories.