Saturday, November 3, 2007

Mommy Dearest

Well, I leave on my trip Monday morning and here is what I've done to get ready for it:

1. Nothing

2. Worked myself into a guilty frenzy.

That's it. That's all I've done.

Item #1 I can and will do something about. I will make detailed lists of everything that is going on during the week so the FG can stay on track. I will do as much as possible ahead of time so there are hopefully no unforeseen domestic crises to deal with. (Or no more than usual anyway). I can have my packing done in ten minutes flat and have already made very good progress planning out my schedule in LA. It's all good.

Item #2 is the one that's killing me. I get the most horrendous guilt imaginable leaving my kids. The sick to your stomach kind. I can't even describe it properly. Words fail me. (Now having written that I'll spend about a thousand words proving myself wrong).

My children are 15, almost 12 and 10. These are the times I've been away from them:

To Alabama for a week when my grandmother died.

To Michigan for five days when my father died.

To California for a week when my mother broke her hip.

(are you sensing a theme?)

but also...

For two weeks when I was having to do a summer session of nursing school and the kids went back to California on the train with mom and Stu. I drove out to get them as soon as I was done.

For four days when Surfer Dude was a baby and my mom and Stu thought I was having a nervous breakdown so they sent the FG and I away on a Mexican cruise. And watched the kids to boot.

Various one or two night things - Bunco getaways, my trip to St. Louis this summer...short things. I've been in the hospital for kids being born and for one surgery. The FG and I came to Kansas with Sasquatch to scope out the moving situation while the other two stayed with my mom. There have also been the assorted grandparent overnighters and such where the kids have gone away from me.

I don't even think the FG and I have taken another trip just the two of us since we've had kids. Isn't that terrible? Oh wait, yes we did. In January 2004 he had a film in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. He was there for the entire festival and I flew out for the opening weekend of the film. (That was a fun trip, now that I think about it). But that's been it.

And the Film Geek? He's been all over the United States and Europe. He spent ten months teaching at the University of Michigan while I stayed in LA with three kids six and under. He's gone a lot. He's always been gone a lot. It's the nature of the business. As far as I can tell he's okay with it. The kids seem okay with it. It's what they know. For the most part I'm perfectly fine with it too, although the last trip through Europe really burned my ass. Because when you come right down to it I don't really want to be away from my kids. Even in Europe.

I don't know what my problem is. It's not like my husband can't handle it. Of course he can. It's not like my children can't handle it. Of course they can. It's not even that I can't handle it, because once I'm on my way I'll be fine. But the lead-up period may do me in. I even get like this (on a smaller scale) during multi-day work runs, so clearly I have issues. (I'm sure it doesn't help that I was scheduled for this entire weekend at work before this trip was planned and couldn't juggle it around. Or that next weekend after I get back there's a Bunco Birthday overnighter).

My catastrophic thinking goes haywire on me. I imagine anything and everything that can go wrong. When I was in Alabama when my grandmother died I couldn't reach the FG on the phone late one night because he was on the computer and we had dial up. I was beside myself needing verbal confirmation that my kids were sleeping peacefully in their beds and not trapped in some burning inferno. I didn't have access to a computer, so I called a friend in California and asked her to email my husband to call me ASAP so I could finally relax. Can you say neurotic?

I'm sure I'll be better once I'm actually on my way. (Please let me be better once I'm actually on my way). But to be safe, I'll add one more thing to my To Do List:

Remind mom to stock up on wine. Just in case I need it.


laurie said...

what can i tell you? they'll be fine. they'll all be fine. and maybe, just maybe, they'll appreciate you just a smidge more because of your absence.

we, however--we your blogging friends--have absolutely no clue what we're going to do without you!!!!!

Altaglow said...

Message received. Will toddle over to TJ's manana and refill the vino coffers.

Sweet Irene said...

I don't meet a person every day who is even more guilt ridden than I am. Relax RC, everything will be fine. You don't need to feel so bad, it isn't necessary at all. Just tell yourself: No catastrophic thinking!

ped crossing said...

While you are the glue that holds them together, they are big boys and will be just fine.

As I write this I experience the same guilt on the 4 occasions that I have been away from the boys and that has never been for longer than 2 nights. And Ducky and I have never had a vacation post kids. How sad is that?

It will be good. You will have fun. You will get great blogging material.

Anonymous said...

RC, you sound so much like me, that it is not even funny. David and I have not been on a trip without the kids, since we have had kids. It is sad. It is a goal of mine. I do know that they will be fine, you will be fine, but your right, it is the time before the trip that drives you crazy. Once you get there, are with friends, having fun, it will all be good. The blessing now is the cell phones, you can call and reach as often as you want, and I do it freqeuently, if I have to leave the girls with David. I just feel better. You will too. Think of it, sleeping in, no taking the dog out, no meals to fix, just time to focus on you. You'll get use to that quickly. The guys will rise to the responsibility. So take some deep breaths, stop the what if thinking and know it will be OK. You deserve this time, this fun trip. You have inspired me to take one too!! Really.
We will miss you here in the land of the blogging.

Mya said...

Maternal guilt - it's a bummer. We all feel it. Don't worry they'll cope. But will we?

Mya x

Akelamalu said...

You are NOT neurotic Correspondent - you're a MOTHER! It's what we do - WORRY!!!!

Can you get to a PC whilst you're away please I need my daily fix of COARC?

Flowerpot said...

I'm sure it'll all be fine but I'd be just the same. Take case or two of wine and all will be well!

Jen said...

You already said: "They'll be fine". Now we just have to work on getting you to be fine :) Ray and I rarely go out to eat alone, let alone go away alone. We've had two weekends to ourselves since TFYO was born. Once, for our first anniversary when she was just four months old. And once a couple of years ago, also for our anniversary, when TFYO was two. Both times we stayed at an in town hotel, and the grandparents took care of her.

You are not alone in feeling guilt for leaving your kids. My parents left me and my brother with whoever would have us. I missed them. So, it's okay to NOT want to be away from your kids. But do stock up on the wine. Drink some for me.

auntie barbie said...

What will we do without you for a whole week???
Have a wonderful time. Can't wait to hear about your trip

Kaycie said...

Wow. You're worse than I am.

That's saying something.

Devon said...

I agree with Laurie, I think the kids will appreciate you more if you aren't there for a week. My hubby is gone a lot, and me, never! My son told me yesterday that he wished I worked and daddy stayed home so that he could see daddy more. Being a stay at home mom isn't for the weak!!!

Potty Mummy said...

Guess what? It's OK to feel like this - it's called being a mother. I got a wave of guilt when I left the house for 2 hours this morning to get my hair cut. Jeez.

(Admittedly that was a lot to do with the fact that I had just raised my voice at Boy #1 for interrupting me AGAIN - oh, for the chance to finish a sentence - and was thinking that I really shouldn't have, but still.)

According to my mum, it never ends. It's called Responsibility - but it's OK to ignore your slave instincts every once in a while - really. It is. (If I can convince you, I may even convince myself).

Having said all that, Husband and I do get away without the kids on average 3 - 4 times a year (long weekends and such-like). Clearly I manage my guilt well...

Amy said...

Fights make it easier to leave. Pick a fight or two. True, the guilt gets worse, but you're happier to leave.

Have a great trip!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Blumming late again.
Everyone is right, blimey RC we are a wise and wonderful lot, your loyal fines.
Mr B and I have never had a night away from our kids as a couple. We rarely go out either, or at least not at the same time. (We plan on changing this.)

But Miss E loves nights at Granny's and I know she would be perfectly fine without me.

When we go to Joseph (again) on December 3rd we may stay a night in Brighton which will be weird as I've never had a night away from Miss M, but she'l be with her daddy and I know she'll be fine.

The boys will miss you, but they know you'll be back soon and that you'll bring prezzies, so they'll cope ok too.

Take a deep breath and look forward to your mum time. We have cell phones, email and MSM now. All will be fine.

Big hugs and will miss you loads. Take the camera and a notebook though, I bet there'll be blog fodder a plenty.

ciara said...

maternal guilt is a bitch! lol but i am the same way, too. i feel like it's a sin to actually ENJOY myself W/O the kids. i know they'll be fine, because they are usually w their dad when i do go somewhere, but still...

Diana said...

Heh. Sounds like us. My husband and I have been away from our kids one night in almost 9 years. We wouldn't have even done that but it was a gift from close friends: a night in a hotel and a night out. We checked out at about 7am and came home with donuts for everyone because we missed being with Colin (I was pregnant with Sara at the time).

They can drive us 'round the twist but we do love their company, don't we?

That said, take a deep breath and ENJOY THAT TRIP!

Linda said...

You're just a mom who loves a lot and loves deeply. It will all be OK.

Corey~living and loving said...

I am thinking of you! I hope you are feeling better. :)

Deb said...

Oh, good. I'm not alone.