Now, I consider myself a pretty good mom. Oh sure like many others I slack off from time to time, some weeks more than others. I watch movies with my toddler when I am too tired to play one more game of mini golf in our hallway, or fly airplanes across the living room. And I leave town. Lately more than most other moms I know. Next week I’m taking off for Toronto for a week. I have a workshop and a conference I am going to be attending. Do I have any qualms about leaving my kids and their father? No. Not a one.
I consider leaving my family for a few days a medical necessity. As a mom I am “on” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t even get to go to the bathroom by myself most days. There is usually at least one kid trying to crawl on top of me. There are mornings that I shower before I leave the house, and there are others that I forget until late at night, and then really, what is the point? I get tired, I get cranky, and I sure as heck don’t feel like building towers out of block every waking minute, or even the ones where I am sleeping but being handed blocks regardless by my 3 year old at 6am. Yes, that happens.
I’ll be headed to Toronto to learn more about the blogging world, catching up with friends, and exploring the city through its sights, shopping, and most importantly, its food. The reason I’m not worried about my family is that I have the most wonderful partner in crime- my husband. I could not have picked a better man to be the father of my children.
While other dads may wonder “when do I get to take a week off,” my husband kicks me out the door. He knows I need these breaks. He also knows that this is “work” travel. As I build up Walking On Travels, he benefits not only from our increased travels, but also from the times I take the kids with me and leave him at home to work. I mean seriously, think of all the uninterrupted sleep I have blessed that man with over the past year while I am hauling kids across the globe by myself and getting very little sleep in the process.
Leaving your family for a week does take planning. Oh sure my kids aren’t in full-time school, but I do try to help out as much as I can before I take off so my husband isn’t stuck with a full-time job AND full-time parent/house husband duties. Let’s just say my guilt in leaving my kids (yes there is a smidge of it) is lessened when I plan ahead.
- Clean the house. Before I leave my husband and the kids I try to give them a clean house to start out with. I know the boys will destroy my hard work within days, but at least I can leave knowing I gave them one moment of cleanliness.
- Prep meals. I’m a big believer in utilizing my freezer. I’ve got a few go-to meals that I can make in large quantities, stick in the freezer, and know they will only take minutes to heat up when my husband gets home from work. Need a few suggestions on what to make for your own family?
- Rides to and from school. While my husband can easily drop Dek off at preschool in the morning, he cannot pick him up. It’s just too far from his office. I called on a very good friend in the neighborhood who pick up Dek. A car seat will be waiting for her at school the first morning Mike drops him off. The teachers all know my friend, and it is understood that she is allowed to take my son with her. Safety first people!
- Childcare. A month ahead of time I called the nanny service I sometimes use to set up daytime care of my children. I requested a nanny that I have used many times, who knows my kids, knows how I like things done, and knows when to dole out a few treats to bribe Dek. She interacts with my kids, and has never let them watch TV unless I have given express permission. I adore her, and this is the key to me being able to leave for a week. If I didn’t have great backup care it would be impossible.
- Travel plans. I am taking a very early morning flight out and coming back late at night. Instead of making my husband (and the kids) drive to the airport at extremely inconvenient times, I have booked myself car service too and from the airport. It is just as cheap as a taxi, and safer than taking a train and 2 buses back to my house at late night. This little added expense makes my husband’s life easier, and eases my guilt.
- Communication. As my children get older, they do notice I am gone when I leave town. Dek especially feels the separation from his parents when one of us is not present in his life for more than a day or two. Setting up times to Skype or FaceTime is key. Dek knowing that he can talk to his mom whenever he needs to puts my mind at ease and his. My husband and I always try to talk when he gets home at night from work, and I chat with the kids in the morning. This is still a work in progress as my schedule is usually very hectic when I travel, and we all know kids can have their own whims from time to time.
Leaving your kids for any period of time is hard, no matter how much you mentally, and even physically, need it. I will miss my boys immeasurably. I will also sleep like I have never slept before. Eat quiet meals out with friends that do not revolve around early happy hour menus. I will be able to dress up and not fear snot, spit up, or goo dripping down my outfit at any time, unless I am the one to put it there. It will be my own mama heaven, even if my two angels aren’t with me. We have a full summer of travel planned, some without their dad. There is time enough to reseal our bonds then.