I wanted to go to NY by myself and ended up having to bring Aidan along. I was irritated but had a great time—and I learned a few key lessons (or remembered a few things) about what it takes to make mommy happy.

1. Let Daddy babysit! My first night in town, my friend Sue Shapiro was reading her essay from the book Wedding Cake for Breakfast at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, so Harlan stayed home with Aidan and I headed out solo. After the reading, I had drinks and caught up with my dear friend Dana whom I rarely get to see. Harlan was sick with the same thing Aidan and I had last week, so there was no arm-twisting necessary, but there rarely is. As long as I don’t do it every night of the week, which I don’t, both of my boys are happy for a little extra time together.

2. Sometimes you just gotta get a sitter. The next day Harlan had to work and I got a sitter so I could meet up with my sister and Dana to get our toes painted with glitter polish, and then Dana and I wandered through Chelsea Market, tried on flowery dresses at Anthropologie, and ate crêpes in the sun on the High Line. It was well worth the $20 an hour I paid the babysitter (although next time I’ll use my friend Kate’s sitter, who apparently only charges $12!). Saturday night we got her again so we could have sunset cocktails overlooking the Hudson at the rooftop bar of the Standard Hotel, where my LA friend Michelle was staying, and had steak frîtes at Pastis.

3. Being with my kid is so much fun. Yes, alone time rocks, but so does time spent with my son! He ran and jumped at the playground on Bleecker and Hudson, while I watched and texted with friends. And twice we walked the High Line, which was much more fun with him than it would have been alone. The first time he insisted we walk the entire thing, winding our way from Gansevoort Street to 34th, past art installations and hordes of tourists, as Aidan climbed and jumped off every bench and squealed with delight when water or railroad tracks suddenly appeared. The second time we went for the treats—we’d had a peanut butter cookie and banana ice cream sandwich our first trip and Aidan wanted to try the chocolate mint gelato—but wound up splashing barefoot in the water feature and bumping into our LA mom-group friends Christy and Fanny, which was a blast!

4. Walk more! I walked more in five days in New York than I do in a month in Boston. Walking changes your perspective. It creates opportunity. I ran into my friends Grant, Elektra and Daniel just wandering down random city blocks, as well as the Broadway legend, Joel Grey, who used to be my neighbor in Venice and who told me Boston isn’t that bad—”You just have to discover it.” I also window-shopped, pet dogs, enjoyed the sun and the breeze and worked my leg muscles. One day a few weeks ago, I decided to pick up Aidan from school on foot and we ended up having a whole adventure. We walked to the library, visited the fire department, hunted for fire extinguishers (Aidan’s current obsession), watched some guys place bocce. Put feet to pavement and a whole hidden world opens up to you.

5. Go with the flow. On Saturday afternoon, I went to my friend Julie’s bridal shower on the wrap-around deck of a gorgeous suite at the snazzy Bowery Hotel. Afterwards, my sister and I stopped by a party at my friend Sue’s house and then headed home. My sister was tired and her feet hurt, but I was still aching for adventure. When I turned onto Perry Street, my old friend Daniel was sitting on his stoop just as I wished he would be, as if I’d conjured him up for conversation. While we were catching up, Dana texted to say she was having dinner around the corner and I joined her and her friend for a glass of wine. It was a perfect night.

6. Do what you’ve gotta do. Monday I decided to see the Cindy Sherman exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art and I decided to go with Aidan. I’d forked over enough money to the babysitter, but really wanted to see the show. I have been to many museums with Aidan and usually it means chasing him around and seeing art out of the corner of my eye as I run past. This time, I put him in the stroller we’d barely used for the last year and the minute we walked through the museum doors, I handed him my iPhone. He played Angry Birds. I savored Sherman’s exquisite body of work. I’m not a huge fan of kids watching movies, playing video games and the rest of it, but I did what I had to do and had an incredible time at the museum with my son.

Aidan on the High Line

Happy mom

Happy Mom