If you follow my Instagram, you may or may not be aware that I am currently in Uganda. Yes, the country. But, it isn’t about visiting Uganda — ok, maybe a little bit. Rather, it’s about leaving behind my husband and child. It’s about letting them fend for themselves. And really, it’s about creating my own adventure [in Uganda], separated from the stress of packing items for the family, preparing meals for my husband’s rotating work schedule, and battling my daughter about her shoes for the day.*
I am a big advocate for abandoning the family — ok, temporarily — to live a life for you. I fail to accept that being a mother should permanently consume my every moment. And though I sincerely applaud those women who wake up and go to sleep everyday with the sole goal of being the best mother ever, I often ignore my child.
Perhaps this makes me a terrible person. Perhaps it simply means I am an honest person who cannot give myself entirely to the tiny offspring. Perhaps it just means I am too much of a multi-tasker, seeking the ongoing, unachievable balance that comes from fighting against the demands of my career, my family and my personal goals.
Though I often feel having hours upon hours to myself to be alone, think, create, and answer to no one would be the greatest gift of all — I have found the greatest gift [aside from the tiny human, of course] is simply the challenge of trying to manage the stress of it all. After all, it is in the challenge that we grow and evolve . . . or find friends who will share a bottle of wine and listen to us whine.
Now that I am a wife and mother, I hate traveling alone. Ok, with one exception and that exception would be Uganda — but only because I’m here with a client and still suffering a bit from jet-lag. Under normal circumstances, I hate traveling alone. I find an empty hotel room cold and unwelcoming and the meals to be depressing and uneventful.
I told my husband not to long ago that I’d love to check into a beautiful hotel for a night to stay alone. Except, I don’t want to be alone. Rather, I want my daughter and husband with me, but for them to do dinner without me so that we stay together, but that I am given at least four to six hours to myself to feel as though I’m alone — without actually being alone.
I do believe it’s important to travel alone, or rather to leave the kid behind. It’s important for The Beau and me to go away without our daughter — where we aren’t arguing about the dishes, or what size bow is acceptable in her hair, or who is responsible for packing the road-trip snacks. It’s also important to travel without either of them.
It’s important to leave them behind so they can fend for themselves. Though, my daughter is better behaved when I am not around, which basically means the torture I am hoping my husband will suffer is essentially non-existent.
Once again, mom loses.
But, it’s important for me to be without my child. So she survives me, so I remember why she’s awesome, and so I can get a moment of breathing room without secretly threatening her life and wondering how to get away with it. I’m KIDDING. We mothers never think such thoughts.
And so, as I sit here in the lobby of my hotel watching fellow guests and hotel staff walk past me as I type, I can’t help but feel homesick for the next time my child yells at me for bringing her milk instead of water, or demanding to switch smoothie cups because she doesn’t believe that mine is the same, or listening to her explain a story — gesturing with her silly little hands in a seriousness that borders on hysterical. Perhaps, the homesickness I share is really the thought of the experience of being without the family.
After remembering the yelling over the water, the negotiating over the smoothies, and the silly stories I smile, but sip on my glass of wine and thank my client for giving me an excuse to take a break for a little bit of time. For it is only in leaving [temporarily, of course] that we truly appreciate returning.