I suspect I may receive a few eye rolls after writing the following sentence, but the longest time I have spent away from my 16-month-old daughter in her entire life is about 3 hours, that was until about a week ago. I am a stay at home mom, who suffered from some postpartum anxiety (hello zero trust for anyone), that on top of living far away from both sides of our family, a limited babysitting budget and a husband whose work schedule is quite unpredictable, it made for the perfect storm of not leaving my baby much.
Now don’t get me wrong I have taken her to childcare so I could attend mom groups, Bible study or even to get a workout in. I have had some ladies nights, and my husband and I have enjoyed some date nights, so I am not a total recluse. However, it was not until just recently that I spent 9 days away from my daughter. I was convinced it was going to be so hard being away from her for so long, but in a word it was glorious!
While away on our vacation, I was reminded that I was, in fact, someone much more than just my newest title had claimed me to be. I have found that being a stay at home mom has been one of my greatest joys in life, but I have developed a bit of an identity crisis from it as well. Most days, I feel totally confident in who I am as a person and how I spend my days, but then my anxiety kicks in as well as societal opinions claiming that being a stay at home mom means you are not doing enough. I often combat these thoughts by reminding myself, this is exactly where I want to be, but at the same time making sure I am continuing to work on my other relationships as well as myself. This has not been easy to do, but after getting away with my husband I was reminded that my life, although drastically different since having a baby, does not have to completely change!
My husband and I had been planning this trip for years. We originally were meant to take it about two years ago, but when we found out we were pregnant and that the doctor did not want us traveling to Zika infected areas, we put it on hold for a while.
So here we were, two years later, about to embark on a journey that once felt so familiar to us, traveling just the two of us, but now seemed so foreign. Traveling is a passion that both my husband and I share, but since having our daughter, I have found traveling to be a little less enjoyable because it takes so much effort. I was so looking forward to this trip because it meant doing whatever we felt like at any time we felt like, seriously so much freedom in that! However, since we knew about the trip so far in advance, it gave me ample time to exhaust every detail one could worry about for leaving our daughter.
Thankfully, my mother was able to stay with our daughter the entire time we were away, which I think is partly why I had no issue being away. I feel bad admitting this, but it took me a couple days before I actually missed my baby. It was just so amazing waking up when we wanted to, eating at whatever time and not worrying about hangry babies or naps! I was able to read books, meet new people, play games, walk on the beach or whatever else my heart desired. And y’all I needed it! I needed to be away from my baby, to have that glimpse of my old life, be reminded of my likes and interests and just be with my husband without interruptions.
Now, I know this is not a feasible thing for all families. However, since traveling is a shared passion of ours, we try and find ways to do it often, even if it means a short getaway weekend or overnight because we want to instill this same passion into our daughter. We also made a commitment while on our trip to take vacations without children in the future, because we both needed to reconnect to ourselves and with each other. So I urge anyone with children, to find time all your own. Even if that means saving up for a sitter or getting family or friends to help, find some way to get away from your routine. Because getting away helps you find your way.