“You’re going away again,” my friend said, “You’ve been gone so much your kids probably don’t even recognize you.” Gulp. While I know my friend was 100% joking, the Mom guilt started to settle in. Again.
The reality is that I’ve been gone a LOT in 2018. 6 weeks away from my kids to be exact. That’s a ton of missed school drop-offs and missed goodnight snuggles. Missed baseball games, homemade lunches, playdate coordination, and Saturday morning sleeping in. Not to mention the bigger things, like the time I was in the back of a car in L.A. when I got a text message telling me my daughter had just won 1st place in the province in her competition.
And I wasn’t there.
And while I’ve crafted my whole life around my children, including having a career with a flexible work schedule and a motto of “you can always make more money but you can’t ever get back the time”; not being there for my kids has been a very challenging this for this Momma.
So I often beat myself up, especially when I’m packing and my kids are wondering why they can’t come on my next adventure. I compare myself to other Moms and ask if I am doing the right thing by “leaving my kids”… again. I hang my head when I walk into an airport, and sit there and worry about them while I’m gone. But over the past 12 months it’s gotten a lot easier to be away from home because over time I’ve realized that we’re all developing very important skills during this time away from one another.
Top 6 things we’ve learned from being apart:
I have a village of women who cheer me on and support me Every. Single. Day. Katelynn, Jessica, Sarah, Hayley, Sasha, Erin, Elizabeth, Kate, Jenn, Alison, (and more). Whether they are cheering me on and living vicariously through my adventures, challenging me to push the limit to see what I can personally achieve, or being there for my children so that I can be off on an trip, these ladies like to give me some tough love when I’m feeling bad about “not being there” and remind me that they’ve got my back every single day.
More Independent Children
My children have learned how to be more independent with me being away. From helping out more around the house, to organizing themselves for the next day, to knowing what has to happen for school (and communicate it without me being able to email the teacher to confirm). This independence has brought forth a new confidence for both my children. And when I’m home, they continue to execute their newfound skills, making for less chaotic mornings and more support around the house.
Leading by Example
The way my children have talked about me has changed. I hear their little voices speaking about my work, my adventures, and using phrases like, “hard-working” and “adventurous”. The questions around the dinner table have dramatically changed, and I see my own children challenging themselves more to do new things like the Kids Adventure Race.
My husband has gone out of his way to support me every chance he can and in turn it has really improved our bond. By being supported, empowered, and enabled I am able to be not only the best wife ever (lol) and Mom, but I can also be Jami… and pursue the absolute best version of myself.
How often do we as Moms take breaks? I’m not talking about the 2 minutes in the bathroom where you hide so you can check Instagram. I’m talking about solo time where you can invest in yourself and reflect on your life? For most moms, the reality is never. Whether it’s logistics or mom guilt, we tend to push our own needs for a break to the back burner. Being able to break the norm and be pushed out of my comfort zone and learning new things has allowed me to do a LOT of self reflection. When I come back from trips I’m filled with more gratitude, often have things I want to change or do more or less of in my life, and new things I want to pursue.
Passion & Excitement
I don’t remember the last time I was ever this excited about life. Every aspect of it. My kids, my home, my work, my body. Investing in these professional and personal development opportunities has brought forth a renewed passion for life!
So Moms… I challenge you to schedule some times away from your family. It won’t be easy. You may have to save money for a year, find a village to support you, and push your own insecurities around leaving your kids in order to head out on your own adventure.
How can I help YOU make this happen?