It had been two years.
TWO YEARS. Yes, I’m shouting that at you right now because two years is a really long time in my opinion.
Before I became a mom, I swore up and down that I wasn’t going to be THAT mom. THAT mom who couldn’t leave her kids to take some time for herself. THAT mom who never got a babysitter. THAT mom who thought no one else in the world could possibly do everything as good as she could. THAT mom who thought her five-minute routine of putting on her chemical free makeup was a vacation.
And then two years went by and I realized I was THAT mom.
Sure, I took date nights here and there with my husband. Sure, I took the afternoon away to spend with girlfriends many, many times. And of course, I spent time each day during nap time and bed time and independent play time appreciating time alone to get things done around the house.
One time in two years, I took 24 hours away to go visit a friend out of town, while our son stayed with my husband.
I know for many of us, it’s pretty normal not to take time away from our kids. Heck, I had a friend who confessed not too long ago that it was EIGHT years before she took a vacation away from being a mom.
I know why it took me two years.
I’m not sure exactly when it happened. Maybe it happened the instant that I birthed my son from my body. Or maybe it happened gradually over time. Or maybe the whole stay-at-home-mom thing got me stuck in this ridiculous mindset.
It was the mindset that no one could possibly care for my son as well as me. The mindset that he would experience immense anxiety the moment I left. The mindset that he would scream for me the entire time I was gone, never sleep and misbehave endlessly.
I got a grip and took the bull by the horns.
Around Christmas time last year, I got an opportunity to take a trip for a work conference. It was an opportunity for me to get away, network, and grow my business. It was staring me down. I knew I needed to take this 4 day trip.
I needed it for me, to get me out of a stay-at-home mom rut, to remember who I was as a person outside of motherhood, and to break free from my own anxieties over leaving my child.
I booked my trip and never looked back. I called and made arrangements for my son during my trip, ignoring every ounce of convoluted anxiety over leaving my child. It was time. I absolutely had to do it.
The trip finally rolled around…
Packing for my trip the night before, I was determined not to be a crazy, lunatic parent leaving pages upon pages of instructions. I decided not to leave any. My dad—after all—raised three kids already. He knew how to care for a child. He spent plenty of time with my son and me observing our day to day routine. I prepared that night telling my dad only one thing: an approximate nap time and bedtime.
That was it.
I was going to release myself from this ridiculous idea that my care was the ONLY way my son could survive the day. I was relenting control.
The following morning, I left at the crack of dawn before anyone was awake. I was taking a leap of faith that everything would be okay. That I could take time away for a trip and nothing bad would happen.
In the back of my mind, I was sure there would be issues. I was convinced this would be a struggle for my child. But you know what really happened?
My son did amazing.
He felt happy.
He asked for me a lot and seemed satisfied with the explanation that “mama went bye-bye.” I called twice to check-in, and that was that.
My epiphany unfolded.
I spent TWO years pressuring myself with guilt and anxious feelings over leaving my child with someone else. And then I learned that was all something I put on myself. I was the one making myself feel guilty and selfish over nothing. I was the one creating these convoluted visions over how horrible things would go.
My son loves me just as much now as he did before. He doesn’t think I’m a bad mom for leaving him for a few days. He doesn’t think I’m selfish for investing in myself. He just thinks I’m his mom, who loves him very much.
And for him that is enough.
I wish someone told me.
I wish someone told me, so I will go ahead and tell you…
Take the trip.
You are worth it.
You are enough.
And everything is going to be okay.
Want more on motherhood?
- Making Peace with Becoming a Stay at Home Mom
- The Key to Creating a Successful Stay at Home Mom Schedule
- 8 Things First Time Parents Swear They Will Never Do…Until They Do
What’s your most selfish day as a mom? Let’s chat in the comments!
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