Still recovering from my recent trip to Salt Lake City Utah where I got to attend ALT Summit. I had 5 very busy crammed packed days away from home. I confess I’m a little exhausted, but so excited to see my little weasels again! By day 3 at the conference I could hardly talk about them with out feeling emotional. These feelings are so wonderful to have! I am so grateful for the opportunity to get away from home alone- today I want to share a quick thought about being away from my family. I think toooo often a stay-at-home-mom doesn’t leave. I am sure I have not spent 10 nights away from my kids in the last 3 years- and maybe another hand count in the last eight. Maybe that’s a lot to some of you moms out there? I suspect many of the moms that have to juggle career demands wish they had the luxury of being home with there children more often. My reasons for not spending time away from the children are mostly guilt and responsibility based, although the lack of opportunity and support systems also play a huge role.
I recognize my role in our family is to be the primary care taker of our children. My husband travels 5 days a week and has always had a demanding career, because of this he is often undependable when it comes to being home by a certain time to relieve me and allow for me to get some time away. In addition, we have such a very little bit of time together as a couple and as a family I feel our time should be spent together. There are always too many things that need to get crammed into those 48 hours that I feel like we need to be tackling it as a team. I have not always handled the constant travel gracefully, and my negative feelings of jealousy, resentment, abandonment, distrust take a toll on our relationship. Those few days on the weekend are simply not long enough to repair and compensate for the 5 days he is gone. I digress… point is that even though we rarely use Saturday night as a date night, I think it would really help our relationship if we did, and spending that time together is important. So I never leave. I feel guilty for wanting alone time. I feel like my longing to get away suggest inadequacies in mothering. I also think years of infertility plays a role in my feelings of guilt. I spent so many years longing to become a mother, that if feels ungrateful to want to not-be a mother for a little while. Also I think role modeling is a factor. For what ever reasons, I can not remember my mother EVER being gone- EVER! It may have happened MAYBE, but If she ever did get away when I was a child, I don’t remember it and it must have been extremely rare. Maybe her reasons why are foder for another post but I think it taught me that a stay at home mom stays-at-home (with the family). When I think about her dedication it makes me feel guilty, less dedicated, and sad for her that she never got to have experiences like my weekend away just provided me.
I don’t want to get all negative so I’ll try to keep the lack of support brief, but its worth starting a conversation about because I would love to hear your story and find out if you feel the same way or if you have discovered a solution. My husband never volunteers to stay with kids while I get away, in fairness I rarely ask. He doesn’t say no but he loves to use uncommitted words like, “perhaps” or “I’ll try”. And because his job has, on more-than-one occasion, “cancelled” a family trip, I really just expect him not to be around ( yeah, I realize that i might have some issues in this department! ) Probably because of the constant feelings of being the only parent and having (imaginary or not) feelings of sole responsibility, I sometimes want to “run away from home”. this leaves me with 2 solutions as I can see-1. Either you have resources to hire alternative child care or 2. you have to have close trustworthy friends and family who will keep them. I don’t. I wish I had a cultural solution to this problem. I am sure I am not alone.