Recently I have had to take several short term but long distance trips without my children. As I would schedule each trip I would feel the onset of Mom Guilt almost immediately. Would they be okay? Would they miss me? All the questions would run through my mind on repeat from that first reservation through to the day I returned. I realized I had to figure out a way to leave behind the Mom Guilt, keep my children happy while I was gone and still enjoy myself along the way. It wasn’t until my most recent trip to New York that I found a few ways to help make this happen.
Leave Behind The Mom Guilt of Travel
This trip was going to be my longest time away to day – a full 5 days – and my children were working hard to make sure I realized how they felt about my leaving. The guilt was being piled on and I was struggling to find a way to stay above it. Then my youngest daughter walked up to me with a stroke of genius.
“Mommy why don’t you leave a list of things to do and how to do them while your gone? That way we won’t feel lost!”
A list? I am the queen of lists but somehow I had never thought of this. I sat down with each of my children and asked them what it was they missed most when I was gone. Here are a few things they came up with:
- When they can do things?
- How long they can do things?
- The rewards for being good.
Okay. I could handle this! I sat down and created the following lists:
- Snack List
- showing when and what snacks they could have throughout the day
- Activity List
- showing what activities they could do and for how long
- Rewards List
- showing what privileges each child would earn for doing certain chores and things assigned to them around the house
Once our lists were done we displayed them with fun magnets on the fridge where everyone could see them, The day I left we went over the lists once again and guess what…? The hugs and kisses were freely given and the Mommy Guilt was no where to be felt.
Each day when I called home instead of hearing whining and complaining about how they didn’t know this, couldn’t do this or whatever I heard proud reports of how well they followed the lists and the rewards they earned!
Those 5 days went by faster than any of my shorter trips and I owe it all to the ingenuity of a 6 year old!
How do you handle taking trips without your children?