I can easily count how many times I’ve left my kids to go out of town. Once it was to attend a funeral and I was gone for two days. Three years later, after a lot of pressure from our families and reluctance on my part, the hubby and I took a 2-night road trip to Seattle. At that time, I didn’t feel ready to leave them but I did. Even though it was great to have a little kid-free time and some alone time with my husband, I still felt bad for leaving them and a bit stressed out. That was five months ago.
Then last week, for the first time ever, I left EVERYONE behind to take a trip that was just for me! I went to my first ever blogging conference in San Jose for 5 whole nights!! Before leaving, I was feeling a whole lot of emotions and excitement wasn’t one of them.
I was feeling guilty, that dreaded ‘Mommy Guilt,’ for leaving the kids behind for so long, because technically I only needed to be gone for three nights.
I was also feeling separation anxiety because they’d never been without me for so long. Maybe it had a little bit to do with my personality trait of what others may like to call ‘a control freak.’ I mean I’m always in the know of what they’re doing, where they’re going, making sure they’re not eating junk food, getting enough sleep and not watching too much TV. With me out of the picture, it was a free-for-all with sleepovers and everything else I couldn’t control while in another country.
It didn’t help when we were at the airport and I was leaving, that my eldest got sad and teary-eyed. It was so gut-wrenching seeing my mom carry him off while I was in the middle of a long line-up to get through security and i couldn’t even comfort him. But, I made it to San Jose. We video chatted that night and the kids asked me why I left and why they couldn’t come with me, but other than that, they were fine.
The next morning I woke up and my friend and roommate Crystal, from Sew Creative Blog, and I spent the day exploring the city, shopping and meeting new friends for dinner.
And you know the amazing thing? I didn’t feel bad.There was not guilt, no separation anxiety , nothing. I realized that this was something I needed. Time away. Time for myself. Time to do nothing and to relax. As mother’s we’re always on the go, for our family, our work, the home. We put our needs on the side and eventually it does catch up. I was happy to be on my own for a little while and there was really nothing to feel guilty about and here’s why: I know I’m a good mom. I’m not perfect, far from it. But I am there for my kids. I read to them, I play with them, I give them love, I make food for them, I take them to activities, I read with them, we take walks, we ride our bikes, we do crafts, I take them on scavenger hunts, the list is endless. Somehow in doing all this amazing stuff for my kids, I get a little lost. That’s why it’s okay as mothers and parents, to take the time for ourselves, without feeling guilty. Whether it’s a small thing like getting a haircut or a pedicure or taking a week long vacation with your hubby or girlfriends, it’s important to take care of ourselves. It reminds us of who we were before having children and it even makes us better parents.
When I got back to Vancouver on Sunday morning I felt tired from a busy trip, but refreshed and I was so excited to see the kids!! Five days with no hugs and kisses was a long time 🙂 When I got to the car and opened the door the kids were happy. They had been just fine without me and had learned to let someone else put them to bed and run to someone else if they needed something. They also learned that even if Mommy goes away for a little while, whether its for one hour or one week, there are other people to count on. And of course, she will always come back.