Guilt takes a weekend off
Mommy guilt. It’s everywhere. Under that pot cooking on the stove, in the pediatrician’s office, at the parent-teacher conference. And as a mother of four with only two hands, I feel that guilt a lot.
So when there is so much guilt readily available, I don’t generally go looking for it when I don’t have to. So forgive me if I don’t feel it when planning a rare weekend away with my husband.
This doesn’t happen very often -- perhaps once every couple of years when we find ourselves with an opportunity to travel sans car seat for a couple of days -- but when it does, I think it’s a good thing. For everyone.
This getaway weekend does not take the place of any family vacations, and the kids are in loving and responsible care, so why should I feel guilty? It’s not that I need to recharge my batteries -- I have never looked at motherhood like that. It has more to do with focusing on that very important component of family life that often suffers when we‘re busy with the kids -- the other parent in the familial equation.
But despite not feeling obligated to feel guilty, it still isn’t easy getting away (which is probably why it only happens every leap year) and so here are some tips to make it easier for you and your kids.
1.) Obviously, their care-taking arrangements are your top priority. Assuming they are in responsible hands, ensure smooth sailing by having directions, tips, schedules and all pertinent information all written out. Include emergency phone numbers, but also those of local family and trusted friends that can help out in those “lesser” emergency moments. Work out a list of possible activities with the caregiver beforehand so there are many options open.
2.) Buy souvenirs before you leave. I always buy a special craft project or a new game for my kids to enjoy while I am gone. Creativity can be a good distraction.
3.) Anticipate the most difficult time of the day for your little one, and then ease it. My kids are used to going to sleep for a babysitter, but haven’t had too much experience waking up to one. I go over our morning routine very specifically to help ease that potentially tough moment.
4.) Stock up. Make sure there are plenty of the familiar items in the pantry so your caregiver doesn’t have to deal with an avoidable problem. I also like to pack in some special treats that they may not be expecting -- it’s their weekend away, too.
5.) Enjoy it. Don’t spend your weekend away fretting about being away. Check in, but remember that calling too often interrupts their flow as well.
And always, leave the guilt. No need to pack something you can always find at home.
-- Tracey Henry, Suburban Diva