I have mixed feelings as I write this post this morning. Friends of ours are getting married on Saturday in New Zealand. So my husband and I are heading off on a plane tomorrow for a week... without the kids. What does this have to do with an organising blog? Well, I wanted to talk a little about Mother's guilt - that gnawing feeling that we all have when we we feel like we're not doing the right thing, that we could be doing better, that we should be spending more time with our kids.
However, I'm realising more and more during this crazy parenting journey, that it's also so important to give ourselves a break every now and again, and not feel guilty about it. If it leads to feeling refreshed and ready to tackle all those Mummy tasks with renewed energy, then it's something we all surely deserve every now and again.
This will be our first long trip without our kids (we had 2 nights away last year), and to say I'm nervous about leaving the kids for a whole week would be an understatement. 2 and 4 years old is still very little in my mind, and although I know they will have a fantastic time staying with both my parents and my mother-in-law, I'm very emotional about leaving them. And feeling guilty they're not joining us.
We've had the trip planned for nearly 6 months, so it's been quite a build up. On the hugely positive side - I can't believe I'm getting a week away alone with my husband! A week with no interruptions, no schedule, no housework, lots of 'talks' and planning about our future (we are big planners!), dinners out, reading, shopping, sight-seeing, fun with friends, and the wedding of course! It's going to be amazing to have so much 1-on-1 time together. That moment when we get on the plane and I take out a book and actually READ it uninterrupted, will be pretty darn awesome.
The only thing we've been wishing in the back of our minds for the whole 6 months, is that we could've brought the kids with us for a family holiday. Last year's family trip to Noosa was quite sincerely the best holiday we've ever had. Having kids on a holiday, although tiring, is so much fun and a completely different experience. Logistically and financially, we just couldn't manage it this year. There's always next year to aim for, but it does make me sad that our little chatterboxes won't be with us to enjoy the experience.
I've had mixed reactions when I've told people I'm going away without the kids. Most tell me what an amazing time we'll have and how great it will be to have time on our own. But some have said, without meaning anything by it of course, 'I could never leave my kids for that long'. Which just makes me feel so guilty that I can! We are tremendously lucky to have lots of family around to help out with the kids. So I guess I'm used to being without them for a night or a day while they're having fun with family. A whole week is a different thing, but I feel a little guilty that I'm so looking forward to that time away. Mummy guilt!
This year has been so busy - at one point you may remember how I talked about reaching the crazy level with 4 jobs on the go. My guilt levels were high at that time for sure. I've since cut right back to 2 jobs (plus being a Mum of course, which is a full-time job in itself) and feel so much better. Life's too short to be that stressed. Being on maternity leave, my priority is definitely spending quality time with the kids while they're little. But my priority is also my business, and I think it's ok to have that focus for yourself as well. To me, it's important that I have something for me, rather than giving all of myself to my family. My business is my outlet, and I love spending time on it and being productive.
I guess my point is that as Mums, it's ok to give ourselves a break every now and again, and we should aim to not feel guilty about that. Time away from the endless routine of cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, planning, drop-offs and pick-ups (and yes, some time away from our kids) should be something we actually plan and aim for. Whether it's a night, a weekend, a week or longer. It's important to have that mental and physical break - parenthood is exhausting! I know I'll come back from our trip feeling ready to tackle the busy end to the year with energy and focus, and true appreciation for the quality time with my kids.
I did have a little teary as I tucked my babies into bed last night and my son said 'I'll be missing you and Daddy soooo much when you go'. Which was quickly followed by 'but at least I can still listen to my Frozen CD while you're away!'. A break from 'Let it Go'? Bring it!
Have you ever left your kids for more than week? Do you have 'Mummy Guilt' when you spend time away from your kids?