It’s only for a few days, I told myself as the ever-familiar mom guilt crept in.
Just two days. And I’ll Skype with them for an hour before bedtime. And buy them souvenirs. And text pictures. And not leave again for at least another year. Yeah, that’s it. It’ll be fine.
I secured childcare (that’s never easy since we don’t live near family) and took a deep breath.
I got up early to coach my husband on the morning routine and triple-check my packing, because I always overpack but wind up forgetting something important.
I was all ready to go, and I gave the kids hugs and kisses goodbye. I walked into the airport and this exhilirating feeling came over me. I was walking alone. Only worrying about my own stuff, my own things and not chasing children anywhere.
I was traveling alone. I was traveling alone! Like Kevin McCallister from “Home Alone” raising his eyebrows after making his family disappear, I was on my way.
I was only gone for two days, but I learned a lot about taking a trip away from the kids.
It’s hot to watch your husband take over the morning routine
I don’t know if it gave the kids a deeper level of appreciation for me or not, but it was pretty hot to watch dad get the kids dressed and ready, pack lunches, and strap our toddler into his carseat in his car for drop-off.
The kids always get ready faster for him because of his no-nonsense approach, and he may just throw a big bag of pretzels and cookies into a bag for lunch, but he does it with love and he made sure the toddler’s seat belt was on with care. Now that’s hot.
It’s okay to leave for a few days
Moms often give until they suffer, and I am guilty of not taking enough time for myself on a regular basis. I rarely take time away, especially overnight. But I realized as I was gone, after the business part of my trip was done, I was able to decide what it was I wanted to do. I wasn’t working around naps or homework and I got to see a lot of new things and really enjoy myself.
I did not even end up Skyping with the kids for an hour before bedtime like I had planned. And it was fine.
It’s okay for something else to be a priority in your day
Self-care is really important and it’s okay for something else to be a priority in your day. It’s important for kids to know that you are more than “mom,” that there are other things in your life that you can take time for. It’s especially important for them to see you going out and pursuing career ambitions, and I gladly share that with them.
It’s important to experience new things
Experiencing new things helps you grow as a person. I believe if you continue to learn and pursue new things, you will never get old.
I was in a new city trying to navigate how to get to where with public transportation, and I saw a lot of historic landmarks. I had time to get a feel for what it’s like to live and work in a big city, which is a lot different than my small home office out in the country back home.
Kid-free life is good
I had a laptop bag and a camera bag to keep track of, and that was it. I traveled light. I saw a woman pushing a big stroller trying to get on the train gracefully, and I was glad it wasn’t me. And then I of course yearned for my kids’ baby days as I admired her baby.
I also grabbed a quick bite to eat at a restaurant before heading back to my hotel, and there were two little boys at the table next to me telling their mom “I’m hungry!” I grinned and immediately missed a few very similar little voices and complaints from home.
And then I ate my meal in peace while listening to a podcast.
It’s really important to miss each other
Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I arrived home to excited kids that were happy to see me and I gave them their souvenirs and great, big hugs. I truly missed them. I showed them pictures from my trip and they listened to every word.
Though the big city has a lot to offer and it was a trip that I will always remember, it was really good to be home where I belonged … In a simple little town with two little boys in mismatched clothes that their father lovingly picked out for them while I was gone.