Let’s go for a quick get-a-way, just the two of us – this was my hearts wish and my husband’s too. My mind as always was not in sync with my heart and wanted to bring out the guilt of leaving the kids at home. I’m so glad I didn’t cave in to the MUM GUILT!!
Lately I am struggling with my boys especially with my eldest, Jamie, he is 10 and giving me an attitude that I can’t really understand. For all those reading this post before any other one, I am also a teacher in a middle school teaching 11 – 14 year olds. So, the attitude of my son is very similar to the difficult students I get at school. I am having issues from morning till evening and anger in me is growing stronger and at times I have lost it. (Reading books like: Calm Parents, Happy Kids by Dr Laura Markham, is helping) Unfortunately I lost it with my own son. Why am I saying all this? Well, this was and still is the main reason why I needed the get-a-way in the first place.
Not giving in to guilt of leaving the 2 kids was hard especially when, my eldest kept saying that it was unfair. This year is a tight year on budget as we are fixing a few things in our house (long past their due date) and decided to pause on holidaying. This also made it difficult for me to just pack my things and go on this mini break with hubby alone. My mind kept saying that Jamie is right, it’s not fair. We adults are going on a holiday and the kids probably won’t. ARGH!!!
We did go!
How did I do it?
These were my thoughts before, during and after my little get-a-way:
- It’s only 2 nights
- It’s a super cheap flight (€100 for the both of us with return and hand luggage)
- I’m going to shop for Jamie’s bedroom (we needed Ikea help, biggest excuse ever!)
- My husband needs this more than the kids, I love my husband too.
- May be during the year we can manage a small family holiday – we did.
I had to find ways to push back the guilt. I hate traveling with guilt! Why, I hate guilt what so ever!
Why do we have guilt?
Guilt is so inbred in me through my childhood and my religion that I put it on myself at times. I mean, while I am writing this, a part of my Christian mass comes to mind; “mia colpa, mia colpa, mia colpa” while hitting our chest! It makes me believe that everything is first and foremost “my fault”.
Guilt is put on you from various places; parents, your own kids, friends that don’t understand but still give you their opinion and even the universe sometimes. Therapists may say to not kill yourself too much but we do. It’s because we care. Sometimes we care for too many things too much! Have you read the book: “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson? he explains this better.
I looked at other sites and blogs that state that a couple holiday is needed and that it will do the couple a mountain of good but, that wasn’t going to convince me. In fact, this blog is not to convince any reader that you should travel guilt free, far from it. What this blog is trying to do is making sure I am true to myself and saying that, although I did feel guilty, traveling with my husband at that point in time was needed.
There are people that travel for months, solo, I don’t think I can do that – not now at least. I am not judging them either (I might actually be a bit envious). There are people that only travel with their kids and come back exhausted and needing to get away from the kids anyway so, date night is eminant. Everyone has their way of dealing with things. This blog is my way of explaining to myself and may be there are others like me out there.
Whatever we do, we mums carry a guilt!
It’s how to deal with it that counts.
Accepting your feelings is one of the important steps to feel good with one’s actions. Yes, I did feel guilt leaving my kids but, I did my best to make sure they were in good hands and having a good time too! I’m not abandoning them!
One night my kids had a sleepover with a friend, she has 2 kids with similar ages to mine and they go well. The other night they were staying with my mum. During the day my friend took them out to the carnival activities that were going on and the other day they had a blast together going on adventures. My friend kept sending photos of what they were doing and honestly this made the guilt less pungent. It was still there.
While I was soaking myself in the private heated pool/Jacuzzi of my hotel room (Donna Carmela), I still felt I miss my kids and that they would love it if they were here – but I focussed my attention on my husband that also forms part of the family and that many times is left aside due to the nature of things. This moment was dedicated to him. Being romantic is not my thing – I don’t marvel at flowers, chocolates or dinner with candlelight. My husband on the other end loves them; he has never stopped calling me dear, my love or any such loving words but I have. So, this time spent with him helped me realise how much I had become the mother and not remained the lover and wife. Why in one day, we relaxed, we drank, we talked, we fought, we made love and we were silent together. Was it needed? OF COURSE!!
Then there was my type of fun; I love exploring new places. Donna Carmela is a place of beautiful mindful settings. You can rest your whole body and soul here. Yet, after a while if I don’t explore, I get bored. It’s just me. So, we headed to Taormina, a place I had been long a go with my very first boyfriend but then never again!!! It was great. Did I feel guilty I was not with my kids here? Yes but, I didn’t delve on it. I was in the moment and having a good time for myself, along with my husband of course. We had a great day! I even got tipsy!! (more on this here) I deserved this! ONE DAY!!
Last but not least, the guilt that my parents put on me (or rather my mum). I had to go find some furniture prices for my son’s bedroom. All those reading that are not from Malta or a tiny Island like ours wouldn’t understand this. You might ask; don’t you get furniture in your country? We do, and very good furniture too. Yet, back in my mum’s days things that came from abroad were better and cheaper and so my mother’s mentality remained the same. I used this to convince her that a holiday is needed. We did go see furniture – a trip to Ikea (we don’t have it on our island) is always an inspiration for me. It did its job, my mother stopped asking me why I was going and that helped the guilt stay small.
So, ladies, although you will read many quotes like:
“If women are the “carriers
of culture,” as Ashley Montagu once said, then we owe it to ourselves and those
around us to continue our inward journey and see it as not selfish time but
rather selfless time.”
— Joan Anderson
the guilt might still be there.
I am a firm believer that women are “carriers of culture” and that we do so much more than just parenting. I am also a very strong woman that believes I can achieve great things. So, when guilt tries to stop me from doing somthing I must do three things:
- Embrace the guilt,
- Acknowledge it,
- Carry it with pride…but keep it small.
To conclude: just a week ago we went to Sicily (yet, again) this time with the kids. Only now, has the guilt somehow vanished. Guilt is in those who care. Work on how you will deal with it but, don’t hit yourself three times on your chest, it is not your fault.
Enjoy the moments.
What do you do to supress the guilt?