Traveling for Work + Mommy Guilt

I try really hard to lead a guilt-free life when it comes to motherhood. It’s no easy task when constantly surrounded by images of woman having and doing it all. But, through nearly 10 years of parenting, plenty of self-doubt and lengthy conversations with other moms who are choosing their own paths through motherhood, I’ve learned that no one has their shit completely together. We all struggle with the what ifs of our decisions, the opportunity costs of the paths we take.

So, in that hard fought lesson, I’ve decided to forgive myself more and torture myself less. It’s not a perfect system, and I work at it all the time. But, I have to say, I’m a lot happier when I’m less judgmental of myself.

But, there’s one thing that I struggle with…EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Traveling for work. Who am I to be enjoying a comfy hotel bed when my husband is home with the kids? Why should I risk my life (I have a dramatic imagination) traveling cross-country for a business meeting, my kids need their mom? Why should I be eating a delicious gourmet meal when my husband is frantically trying to feed the kids, get homework done, put them to bed, etc, etc. The litany of guilt goes on and on…

My husband is an incredible dad, he is beyond capable of caring for the kids. So why do I feel the need to button up every last detail before I go?

My husband once called me while I was in California setting up a new store, and he said something that I play over and over in my mind whenever this guilt strikes. He said, “You’re brother’s here and we’re having so much fun and I finally realized something about you traveling. Being here with the kids, this is better. I get it, no matter how nice the hotel, how good the food, you’d rather be here. We’re good, don’t worry about us. We love you, we’re proud of you. Knock ’em dead.” Until that moment I’d always felt like everyone thought I was going on some posh vacation while they trudged through the everyday. I felt the need to downplay my excitement about projects I worked on, trips I took, people I met. But knowing that he knew that no matter how incredible the adventure, the best part of every one of my journeys is coming home, that has made all the difference.

So, while I still struggle with guilt about traveling, I’m working through it. Always trying to cut myself a bit more slack. And I try to remember to tell myself, if I have to be away from my family then I damn well better make the most is it!

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