I get asked all the time, “How do you do it? Don’t you miss your kids when you’re gone?” And the obvious answer is, “Yes, I do.” But there’s a deeper, secondary answer that rises up from within me that says, “But it’s good for me, and I’m pretty sure it’s good for them, too.”
Travel has long been a part of my life, and even before I was married, before kids, a trip for work would often come up. In fact, it’s something that Chris and I would talk about, because we feel it’s something that has kept our marriage strong… time away from each other. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and with it I completely agree, to a point. And by that I mean a few days apart here and there have strengthened and defined our relationship. In the absence of each other we see the true beauty that we bring into each others lives. In missing each other, we build anticipation for reuniting. When we have to pick up the slack, so to say, when our partner is away, we begin to really appreciate all they do while in our presence. These things have been something that has really brought a depth and a closeness to our relationship that I didn’t necessarily expect from being separated by miles between us.
How does this apply to kids? Well I think there’s a significance there as well.
As mothers, when we’re in the nitty gritty of daily life, when we’re living in the trenches, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and entrenched in the day. When we need a schedule to keep us on track in the midst of diaper changes, laundry, lunches, homework, pick up and drop off, dishes, cleaning up and wiping down… well, sometimes a breath in between doesn’t happen. It takes a very strong mom to stay being a mother in all of those moments, instead of becoming a house and schedule keeper. A break, a step away, a night or two of not having to bath kids and get them to bed before you fall sleepily into your own helps you put back on the glasses of motherhood enjoy your children for who they are… it helps you see the beauty in their big personalities, instead of the mess they’re making in their wake. I know that not all mothers can get away for a couple of nights, and if my work didn’t make it happen for me, I don’t know that I would either. But all mothers have heard over and over that we need to plan moments away, even if it’s just one night out, doing what you love to do, while someone else gets your kids to bed.
The beauty in being away from my family? It’s helped me become a better wife and mother. It’s helped me to appreciate the moments we’re together. When away, yes, I miss them like crazy. Also, I can take a shower without interruption, go to bed when I want and read a book on my downtime… and in those times, those moments of lone away time, I realign my values and reset my patience. I hear their voices on the phone, the same voices that I recently “shushed”, and I’m aware with new ears… ears that appreciate every squeak and intonation in their tiny words.
Children benefit from time to spread their wings a bit while mama’s away. They are resilient and though they feel that loneliness too, they are building a sense of independence. In hearing tales of their days without me, I can see the pride in