Pina Colada Hold the Guilt Please…

O.k so we did the unthinkable…we left our children at home with a caregiver so we could spend a week relaxing on the beach with no responsibilities, no chores, no work, no house to clean or kids to deal with. I kow what you are thinking…selfish…right? Well maybe, but I happen to think that we did the kids a favour, really. Well-rested Mommy is much more patient than cranky, stressed, over-tired Mommy, right?

Making the decision to go way easy, hashing out the details was the hard part. Don’t get me wrong, we left J & G in perfectly capable hands, they were going to have an adventurous week with their fairy godmother. But there was the issue of leaving the children for such a long period of time, could Mommy handle the emotional reprecussions? Would the children feel abandoned? The arduous task of organizing the house for someone other than Mommy to be able to find things? Fleshing out the first aid kit, grocery shopping for a whole week in advance, writing out a schedule of extra-curricular activities, emergency contact numbers and acceptable snack ideas. Whew! I’m exhausted just remembering everything.

I haven’t even told you the worst part…while we were gone, J celebrating his 7th birthday! I know the guilt is immense…although in retrospect, he probably had a way better birthday given our attempts to make it up to him. But I did feel a little like Mommy-Dearest enjoying pina coladas on the beach while he reached the milestone at home without us. So either way, we were gone and the kids were home with their fairy godmother, so how did it go you ask?

Fantastic! Couldn’t have asked for a nicer week, the weather was great, the food was delicious and abundant, we snorkeled on the coral reef, swam with the dolphins and had so much time for adult conversation that we literally ran out of things to talk about. After 10 years of marriage we finally had a vacation away, to concentrate on each other, enjoy the natural resources of Cuba, eat ourselvs silly and just enjoy a wonderful blessing that God allowed us to experience.

The best part of my week? The books! I took 7 novels with me, and I finished the last one on the plane home after my relaxing week of sun, sand and sea. Anyone who is a reader at heart and also a mother will tell you, there just isn’t enough time in the day or brain cells sufficient to enjoy reading novels like we did before we had children! Although I would never trade the absolute joy of having children for a good book….um……no I definitely wouldn’t….it would be nice to have some free time once and a while to dig into a fantasy world for a few hours!

So I have had several people tell me that they went on vacation as we did and by about day 3 they were sobbing to come home to their babies racked with guilt. I have to say that I find this intriguing…I left my little ones with one of the most responsible people I know who loves them almost as much as we do, they were provided for physically and emotionally, they were having fun, we received emails and phone calls updating us on their daily activities, we spoke with them regularly to let them know we loved them and remind them that we would be home soon.

SoI can honestly say that I didn’t feel one ounce of guilt. There I said it, if that makes me a mean mommy, well I’m ok with that. I spent a glorious week of quality time with my children’s father, relaxing and re-charging my batteries, and when we came home guess who was overwhelmingly happy to see us?? The little ones. I guess missing Mommy for a week gave them a little perspective about how much they need me and how much they love me.

Maybe I should go away  more often…hmm…I’m going to go make a mock-pina colada in my blender and think about it….

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by fairy godmother on August 21, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to stay with them for a longer than normal period. We had a great time!! Although I have to admit I wasn’t prepared for the level of stress that comes with taking care of kids. I didn’t realize that you really do feel like you have completely ruined your relationship with them because of a mistake (like not knowing where the shin pads were so you miss a soccer game) you make. However, I am up for more so let me know once you have booked the next trip so I can get the time off work.


  2. Posted by Punky on August 12, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I feel you! I have the same anxieties when we leave the dogs for long periods! i know kids are different, but the getting prepared is the same and leaving notes on their care instructions and such. But im with you 100% you and Pato have a realtionship that needs to be tended to also, your kids wont be with you forever, and once they’re gone, you will only have each other again, and if you dont know how to spend time together alone, it will be a difficult transition.
    Plus like you say.. the kids need time away too.. they need to relate to other adults that arent their mom and dad.. and who better than their fav fairy godmother! :0)


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