By: Zara Maqbool
I am blessed to be a mother of three children. A teenager, pre-teen and a toddler, the apples of my life and the reason I breathe and smile. For the past thirteen years I have never traveled alone without my husband or kids, this thought never crossing my mind. How can I even imagine taking a vacation without them? Why is there even the need to have such a preposterous plan? A good mother needs to operate from the mommy mode at all times and it is selfish to even consider taking a time out.
Well to the disappointment of many I made a spontaneous plan with my friend to visit US for ten days before Trump decides to not let us in. I am lucky enough to have a progressive minded husband and in laws who totally encouraged me and supported my decision. Most people including my family very openly expressed their shock at my plan. My mom has actually blocked my phone number as she can’t cope with this bold and brazen act I have committed.
How can I take time off for ten days? The shaming varies from person to person and more or less it has managed to induce guilt in me. While I try researching on what an impact it will have on the mental health of my kids, apparently it’s not the end of the world and not a novel concept to many.
Is it really so awful to want to have a break from your kids? To just for a few days just be yourself, eating sleeping at your own will? Does that mean you love your children any less? I strongly feel we need to get rid of words such as good and bad out of our dictionary and be happy with just being. “good enough”
I am leaving my kids with their father, grandmother and house help who is more like family and where I feel a pang of excitement at roaming the streets of New York on my own I quickly let the feeling slide as over powering guilt takes its place.
I am like a pendulum these days swaying from one spectrum of feelings to another. While in the day I feel enthusiastic thinking about the trip, nighttime is another story. Stressed out and anxious, missing my babies already and wondering what in the world was I thinking?
I try not to get defensive when multiple people ask why I need to have fun without my family? I know I am a good mother and is it so wrong to want to take a few days off just for myself? To actually wake up and think and act on what I need and not incorporate my kids and husband in the equation?
I feel moms are taken by granted and a break like this can make the children appreciate what we do all day more and also give an idea to fathers what it is like to worry about tiny human beings day and night.
Again as a wave of guilt rides me as I write this, I want to say that while mother hood is the greatest high in this world a break like this feels like a trip to the moon.
So to calm my nerves I researched how I need to prepare the children and home for my travel. There seems so much to do. Lists on the fridge of their routines, medicines in case of emergency, activities planned for them for these ten days and what not. Once again rather than worrying about my packing I am just focusing on making the kids most comfortable in my absence. I am not proving myself to be mother Teresa here but just sharing the reality of what it is to be a mother.
While I write this I wonder if I will even have a good time with so much stress. To know that stay tuned for my next blog as I hop on the plane and take my first vacation ever!
Story first published: 18th February 2017