Dear mama, take the trip.
Almost four years into parenthood, I can count on one hand the number of trips I’ve taken without my kids. Taking a break from our new way of life is not something we moms do on a whim. Months of careful planning, childcare arranging, and money saving lead up to a mama’s getaway. So often, only to culminate in a mental meltdown the night before the said trip.
The anxiety kicks in.
Will the kids cry when I leave? Will they be too much for my parents? I hear my youngest cough in her crib as I scramble to throw things in a suitcase. Oh no. No No No. Please don’t get sick. After a tough couple days of toddler behavior battles, my three-year-old has somehow morphed into the sweetest, cuddliest little dream on the eve of my three-day absence. I lay with him a little longer than usual and admire his long, thick eyelashes.
Oh, the guilt.
I can’t do this. They need me. We spend long, hard days pining for just an ounce of alone time. Dreaming of a long weekend to connect with friends. I’ve told myself I deserve this. That life is so short, and I’ll be a better mom and wife after some time to recharge. But as I scramble around at 9 PM trying to pack, the house is a disaster. I sift through laundry hampers packed to the top to find a few last-minute items to wash. Ugh, I can’t leave the house like this for my poor husband. Why can’t I ever seem to get ahead with the laundry? Just looking around, I add four things to my late-night to-do list. I’m desperate not to forget anything. It kills me to drop the ball on any detail when handing over the reigns of my daily operation.
Just take the trip, my inner voice whispers to me. And I did. And it filled my soul.
Dear mama, take the trip. Ask for help. Trust your husband; he’s got this. Throw things in a suitcase, take a breath, squeeze those babies, and then just go. Laugh with your friends, spend time on yourself for once. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to orchestrate a window of opportunity to get away and breathe, take it. You’re giving your kids the gift of a growing relationship with their loved ones. And let’s be real. They’ll be there waiting, chaos locked and loaded, upon your return.