It’s been a little less than two weeks since I got home from Miami.
After my last blog post, my mom told me to get on an airplane the next day. I had never been away from my squeaklings for more than twelve hours. This would be huge. But, if I waited, I would talk myself out of it. My mom messaged me at around 5:30 PM. At 1:30 AM, I was gripping the armrest in my airplane seat.
I bawled the entire way to the airport. Haven asked if I was sad. Where she gets her feelings from, I don’t know…But I had to give myself a pep talk..pep yell…during the drive. Damon insisted that I go on the trip. He would be going to his parent’s house for a few days while I was gone. The trip would likely last around four days. I wasn’t going to see my kids for a few days. How would I do this?
I kissed them goodbye. The airport wasn’t busy, as most travelers weren’t boarding flights at 1:30 in the friggin morning.
Oh. My. Goodness. I slept till noon every day. I basked in eighty-degree sunshine. I am now a FIRM believer that sunshine and warm weather are the cures for all mental issues on Earth. Not once did I feel like crying. Not once did I feel depressed. Or anxious. At all. Maybe it was a change in scenery. Maybe it was the weather. Whatever it was; it helped.
Prior to this trip, I went against my own advice and dug into the internet, searching for justification. What kind of mom ditches her babies for four days to go lounge on a beach 2,000 miles away?
This one did.
- Being a parent is comparable to a mental health disorder. I had been on call every single day, nearly ever hour, for the last 2 1/2 years. My body had been fully invested in the creation of arms, lungs, brains, hearts, squishy baby booties, and eyeballs for 18 months of the last 3 years. I HAD GIVEN THIS MY FRICKIN’ ALL!!! You don’t get to take days off when small people demand things 24/7. In any other profession, this kind of work ethic is called being a “workaholic”. But when raising children, it’s called “Well derrrrr. That’s what you signed up for!” Bullshit. You haven’t taken a day off in 2 1/2 years at all??? Your boss would have security drag you outta the damn office. Being a mother is not a special calling. It’s a job. But unlike every other job, you’re treated like you ought to be hella grateful for the suffering. “NOT EVERYBODY HAS LEGS!! YOU SHOULD BE GRATEFUL THAT YOU CAN CLIMB INTO SEWERS!”- no one EVER. Did I just compare parenting to sewage work? We both handle crap…Imma call it good at that.
- Martyrdom only looks good on saints. Your tiny tots are not going to remember nursing. They will not remember the time that you dropped them while putting their pants on over your shoulder like the idiot that you are (I was kneeling on carpet…..Poor Haven). Your kids will be fine. Your kids will be fine. YOUR KIDS WILL BE FINE!! My kids were with their father. Yours could spend time with family. Your kids will be fine. I’m serious. Stop saying how guilty you feel. Stop saying that you “could never leave your kids”. Reread bullet number 1. You are not sacrificing your mental health for your children. You’re doing it because it’s been hammered into your brain by a bunch of losers that unless you are fully submerged in motherhood at all times that you are a bad person. Or that’s how you interpret it. Your mental health is more important than clinging to the notion that only mothers can be there for their children. Take this notion, find a toilet, and flush that down. Am I saying to abandon them forever? No. You’re going on vacation. Like normal human beings ought to.
- Babies grow up to be assholes. I don’t care how much Baby Einstein she/he watches. Your precious toddler will cut someone off in traffic. Your adorable little lump of three months will get married in Vegas on Mother’s Day. Your baby is going to do a keg stand one day surrounded by a cheering crowd of horny college students all carrying garden variety STDs. Hell, your baby might be manning the cash register at McDonald’s. Kids grow up to do their own friggin thing. DO NOT THROW ALL OF YOUR EGGS INTO ONE BASKET! Do not make your children the ONE THING that you ever accomplish and stake all esteem to! Why? Because kids don’t give a shit about your sacrifices. Kids don’t care how things affect their moms. Kids who do are the exception…or parents themselves usually. Don’t be that resentful woman who takes all of her children’s failures personally because they’re all that she’s ever put energy into. Don’t. Seriously. Don’t do that to yourself.
- Fine…Babies need functioning mothers. I was snapping every time that Haven asked me for anything. Hearing Ty cry did’t pull on my maternal heart-strings; it made me want to slash my wrists and go to the psych ward for a week. No joke. I literally considered this. Every. Day. prior to my trip. I was not the kind of mom that my small ones deserved. They deserved a mom who could get out of bed in the morning. They deserved a mom who could drive herself around. They deserved a mom who would read to them. Etc. ETC. I ditched them for four days because I love them. Now, I’m not losing my mind quite as often. I’m not freaking out constantly. Things are better.
- You need to remember what you feel like. Waking up and going to bed because I felt like it? Yeah….that hadn’t happened in years. Eating in peace? Going for a walk? Not having to plan my entire day around two people who don’t care at all about how their nonsensical logistics work?? I’d completely forgotten how that felt. Honestly, for the first day in Miami I had no clue what to do with myself. I took a nap without a fat baby busting the door open to nurse. I ate chocolate without a tantrumy toddler begging for pieces. Nobody was asking me to put on their Elsa dress. I got dressed in quiet. I slept till noon. My mom and I jogged to the grocery store in the Florida sunshine. We lounged on the beach among the bronze French Canadian retirees. I swam in the Atlantic Ocean. My grandpa took us out to restaurants and a movie. We shopped without people clinging to our legs. I did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Crazy. And therapeutic. One day, the babies won’t be around. One day, every day will be like that again. One day, it’ll be just me and Damon.
- My marriage is better. I didn’t miss my babies while I was gone. Maybe a bit here and there on the plane. But not really. I missed Damon a lot though. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. While I’m not fully healed yet, I’m much better than before my trip. Not being around a messy house did wonders for my attraction to him. Awwwww yeahhhh. He still has to support the crap out of me emotionally, but at least I can drive now.
- You’ll be more bold to take care of yourself. I didn’t wait months before getting help for my anxiety. I made a doctor’s appointment the day that I realized what was happening. I should have done that after Ty was born with my postpartum depression, but I didn’t. Now that I’m home from my trip, thinking about myself isn’t as hard. I’m no longer mentally caged by this notion that “Well, but they need me…” Damon takes care of me, as he always does. Having a supportive spouse makes a huge difference in pretty much everything. I’m more likely to ask him for what I need. I act more quickly now. I feel waayyyy less guilt than I did before. Things are getting better.
I’ve already booked my next trip. Going to Vegas in a month. 😀