In Lifestyle, Parenting on
February 14, 2019

Parent Vacation: Travelling without your spouse or kids (aka this mothers massive guilt trip)

I’m going on a vacation this month…alone, well, not alone, but without my spouse or kids. It’s a week in an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. The type of vacation that you dream of. No cooking, no yelling at (your own) children, margaritas by the pool, real heat and no snow and did I mention, margaritas by the pool.

 

Instead of getting excited for the week away with a friend for the ultimate parent-cation, I’m spending the week leading up to it stressing myself to the brink of insanity.

Why? Well, my super capable human being of a husband will be taking care of the kids and not me. To add to my insanity, my parents – who are also incredibly capable grown-up human beings, one of which has experience in first aid as a volunteer firefighter and the other one with 20+ years in the education field are helping out. These three people who love our children immensely are picking up a couple of hours a week where I feed the kids, drive them to their places and remind them to be good humans and occasionally sniff them and tell them to have a shower.

Totally worth getting an ulcer for right? 🤦🏻‍♀️

 

I know that my stress about this is stupid

 

Instead of being a rational human being, I’m currently making daily prizes for my kids for while I’m away, which are really cute (side note: are also turning into a hassle) and also texting pictures to my husband of how my daughter likes her cucumbers cut for her school lunch (which I’m sure he rolled his eyes at) so he knows while I’m away.

This has made me think about why mothers get themselves into such a pit of guilt about taking time off. My husband is out of town A LOT for work and he has never made daily prize packages for the kids while he is away.

From a previous trip to Mexico when we went as a family.

Here are my conclusions:

  • Moms take on the mental load of a household. It’s not just the actual “doing” of lunches, anyone can cut a cucumber, it’s the remembering of valentines day parties, and RSVP’s and remembering all the little things that happen in a house. If a mom goes away, she has to pre-think of all these things. This isn’t to say dad isn’t capable or shouldn’t do it, we just have a tendency to take it all on.  Check out this cartoon on the mental load.
  • Moms tend to be are control freaks: I blame this on the mental load. If we get all the things ready and can make little presents for the kids while we’re gone, we’re trying to control happiness and the functionality of home while we’re not even there. 
  • By doing all this planning, we’re not giving dads the chance to run the home the way they would like it done.
  • I need to chill out.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

 

Here’s the crux, I am admitting that I know I shouldn’t be panicking and my inner feminist is very bewildered with me. I know everything will be fine, and the kids will be great and won’t miss me as much as I’ll miss them. However, as soon as I finish typing this, I’m going to print out a calendar I made with things that are happening while I’m away. It helps me to know that I’ve done my bit to help the family out while I’m away sipping on margaritas. That my child with extreme anxiety will have daily notes from her mum knowing that I’m thinking of her and that she CAN make it through the day. That my baby will have smarties in her school lunch from her mum because those are her favourite. It’s comforting to know that I’ve reminded my 13-year-old to remember his house key because every time he needs it it’s sitting on the kitchen counter after he’s already left for school.

Yes, I know that everything will be great while I’m away and my guilt and anxiety are essentially stupid,  but I’m still going to “mom” them from afar anyway.

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2 Comments

  • Marney Elzen-Hoskyn

    You’re talking about Emotional Labour. This article is a total mic drop. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a12063822/emotional-labor-gender-equality/?fbclid=IwAR2zPVq4tizwbMBfDmtYEilU-OHq2Q0MQqkXxqWw8QLIyOHxn8qtDj9gniQ

    Also, this podcast was aired on CBC radio. As a society we have to bring awareness about emotional labour and it’s time for men, children, and other beneficiaries to step up, step in and share the load. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/loneliness-womens-emotional-labour-what-we-can-do-about/id250082526?i=1000429488939&mt=2

    February 14, 2019 at 7:24 pm Reply
    • Alberta Mamas

      OMG. YES to the Harpers article! WOW, that hit home. I’ve returned from vacation now, and I’ve noticed after being away from the kids for a week how much I do for them which they can do themselves! It’s actually been really maddening that there are plates on the counter waiting for me to put them IN the dishwasher rather than them do it themselves. Well, there’s a new world order because mama is MAD that they are treating our home like an all-inclusive hotel. It took a week away to see what needed to change! I’ll have to listen to the podcast! Thank you for the recommendation!

      February 28, 2019 at 4:36 pm Reply

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