I Have No Mommy Guilt for Attending BlogHer '12
I have absolutely, 100% no guilt leaving my kids behind to attend BlogHer '12 in New York City this week. None. Zilch. Nada. See ya, kiddos! Mommy (and Daddy!) will be back on Sunday night. Peace. We'll be dropping the boys with my parents on Tuesday afternoon and heading off to the Big Apple for a few days of fun, learning, eating, little sleep and general awesome. Our kids will have a few days of fun, learning, eating, little sleep and general awesome. It's win-win-win-win-win. All around.
I have problems when one parent tells another parent -- or, as per usual, a whole group of parents -- how to run their families. That's not my intention here, because I know how it rubs me the wrong way when someone makes a sweeping generalization and says it is the right or the wrong way to parent your children. Instead, I will tell you why I have no guilt, why leaving the kids behind works for us.
I want our kids to have memories with their grandparents. I grew up on the same farm as my paternal grandparents and, as such, I have many memories of growing up with them by my side. They helped shape and mold me into who I am today. I want the same thing for my children, though it is harder since we don't live on The Farm. We have to make a concerted effort to give the grandparents and grandkids time together, time to make those memories, to help mold those young hearts and minds. If we never left, there would be no one-on-one opportunity for the grandparents, for our kiddos. And so, every now and then, we make sure to leave them with one side or the other. As an added bonus, my parents taught my oldest son how to swim this summer, getting him past that last little breaking point of being able to do it -- something I couldn't seem to do. They also do things I wouldn't think to do, like stick smiley faces on your forehead. Grandparents? Are awesome.
My husband is a capable father. He's traipsing along to BlogHer again this year, but I have left the boys with him in the past to travel to BlogHer and other blog conferences. Because, GASP, he is their FATHER. He can play with them. Feed them. Read stories. Take them on errands. Make arrangements for them when he has to work. Put them to bed. And everything else. I don't have to leave meals in the freezer. I don't have to leave lots of instructions, other than maybe, "Hey, text me a photo now and then." (He just got an iPhone. Last week.) There is no guilt to be had in letting the boys have time together, without mom saying, "Enough fart jokes for today." I'm sure they're glad when Mommy McBuzzkillington leaves for a few days.
I'm a human being; time away from the kids is nice. I'm no martyr. I'll admit that my kids can drive me bonkers. I love them. I'd give my life for them. But by golly, they sure are noisy! A little bit of peace and quiet, even if it's in the midst of 4000 bloggers who talk as much as my kids, is nice. Mainly because I have yet to run into a blogger that either asks, "But why," every time I say something or can go on about Star Wars for four hours on an endless car ride. Of doom. If you are one of those people, I apologize if my eyes glaze over while we're talking at the conference, but oh my, I'm Star Wars-ed out right now! Try to catch me on Saturday night. I'm sure I'll have recovered by then and will be better able to give in depth answers as to whether I want to be Darth Vader or Darth Maul. As if there's any question.
I like my husband. Since he's coming with me this year, we'll also get some alone time. I really do like him. Enough to have made the two kids in question. So, you know, there's that.
Eventually they'll be old enough that they can tag along on events like these, see different parts of the country and meet exciting new people. Maybe talk their ears off about Star Wars, but probably not by then. (Or, who knows, maybe.) For now, I take what time I can get to recharge my battery, to learn new things, to kiss my husband, to eat a hot meal, to sparkle, to shake my groove thang.
I'm not trying to justify our time away. It's ours. We're taking it. The kids will be fine, being doted on by grandparents. We will miss them, but we'll also be a different kind of exhausted and fulfilled. When we return to them on Sunday night, there will be hugs and "I missed you's" and "what didja get me's." Five minutes will pass before someone starts talking about Star Wars and I'll say, "Oh my, that's very interesting. I did not know that about those droids." I'll kick back, with a smile on my face and thank my lucky stars.
Without telling you what to do, I'd like to tell you not to feel guilty either, whether you're leaving your kids with their dad, their grandparents, their aunt or uncle, or loving family friends. Whether you're bringing them with you or even not coming at all. I am sure you came to your decision the same way that I came to my decision; by knowing what works best for our family. Own your decision; don't let what others think make you feel guilty or "wrong." You are doing what is right, what is best. Good for you, good for your kids.
Oh, and by the way, if you need to find me at the conference, I'll be the one with the picture of my kids peeking out from behind a tree as the case on her iPhone. What? I said I didn't feel guilty. I didn't say i wouldn't miss them. See you there!
What about you? Do you feel guilty for leaving your kids behind for BlogHer '12 -- or any other vacation? How do you handle childcare for events, business trips or getaways? What are your personal rules for length of time distances? Have you ever been questioned by someone who thought you shouldn't leave your kids behind?