We leave for Greece in just a few days, which means I have been packing for the past four weeks! Just kidding… kind of. Packing for a trip is when I start to get really excited. At approximately that one-month countdown mark, I begin to get butterflies in my stomach and a little bit jittery at the thought of travelling. Given that we are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime to my dream destination, jittery is an understatement.
In the weeks leading up to our trip, I told anyone who would listen that we were about to be jet-setting across the globe and spending three magical weeks in the land of the gods. People were either excited, jealous, or a mixture of both. Who could blame them? I mean, seriously, we are going to Greece!
Let’s talk baggage, but not the classic kind, the emotional kind. This trip, while it is something that I am so looking forward to, I’m also extremely nervous. With each day that it gets closer and closer, my anxiety rises and settles on my chest like a heavy dumbbell. You see, while Kyle and I are jet-setting around the world, our four-year-old will be home at home with Grammy.
It hurts my heart to think of leaving her, and my heart feels like it clenches up every time I think of it. When I booked the trip over a year ago, I was sure that I would be able to leave without guilt. After all, I was going on my bucket list vacation. Four days in Italy and then 13 days in Greece with a three-day wrap-up in Santorini. Swoon. But I can’t shake the feeling of being a bad mother.
How can I leave my baby for so long? How can I cross continents without her? Am I irresponsible for traveling during a pandemic? Am I selfish for not taking her with me? The thoughts are smothering as they swirl around in my head. Parent guilt is accurate, and it’s brutal.
So how can I go on my vacation and enjoy myself? Here are a few things I have to tell myself repeatedly at increasing intervals with every day that we get closer to the trip.
- I am a good mother, even if I need time away
- I deserve time away with my husband
- This trip is a dream come true, and I am worthy of that
- I have earned this trip
As I write them, I feel their power, and I hope that you do too. As parents, we are worthy. We deserve time together (and apart), and we earn the right to take time for ourselves.
Parent guilt, while internal, is also wildly external. When I tell people that we are leaving, they are always surprised that our daughter is not coming with us, and every time I watch their eyebrows shoot up with surprise, I feel their judgment lay over me like a wet blanket. But I know that we are making the right decision in my heart.
Our daughter wouldn’t appreciate the part of the world that we will see. It wouldn’t be her kind of trip, and honestly, if we brought her, we likely couldn’t afford the trip. The airplane tickets alone were astronomical (thank you Air Canada points).
So here I sit, repeating my mantras. I’m a good mom. I have earned this. I deserve time away, and my relationship with Kyle is worth every second away. As long as I keep reminding myself of this, I’ll find my joy and be able to relax enough to enjoy the trip.