One of the hardest things about traveling overnight weekly for my job is being away from home any additional nights during the week. Then it seems like I am gone for months.
I recently went on a 3-day yoga retreat a couple of hours from my home. I had already been away from home one night that week because of work and the night I got back, I had a school function to go to which kept me from tucking in the kiddies again. The next day, I left on my trip. I returned on Sunday only to leave for another overnight, for work, on Tuesday.
During the day I was focused on the kids but that was only before and after school. Missing bedtime means missing cuddles and quiet time with each kid. It is also my oldest child’s favorite time to chat and even though part of his motivation is to stay up as late possible, the conversations do get deep. So missing 5 bedtimes is huge. That’s not to say that I am hanging out for long periods of time every night that I tuck the kids in. I definitely spend more time with them at bedtime after a night or two away.
I do try to rationalize it: I need the time away to quiet my mind and rest. I will be more energized and available when I return. I need to work (and not just for the money). I can’t help that there is a school function on an evening in between, causing me to miss another tuck-in. Plus, the school thing is for them. All true but is not enough to stomp out the guilt meter.
I know everyone will be fine. It is I that has to deal with my feelings of guilt and loss. I talked to the kids about why I wanted to do a yoga workshop and how important it was to me. I also explained my need for rest and quiet time. They didn’t love it but they took it all in. I hate the feeling of losing out on any minute of their cute little young lives but I also can’t stand to be around 24/7.
One of the best parts about my leaving weekly and for a weekend is the time my husband has with the kids. One of the days I was gone, he took them to play mini-golf after soccer practice. Once there, they discovered a local high school football game and went to watch. That led them to invent a football-less football game of their own and they had a blast.
There is something about relegating yourself to a weekend that will be dedicated to the kids. The fact that you can plan nothing else but kiddie stuff takes pressure off of the get things done list.