My world turned upside down as soon as I become a mother. No matter how many books I read or how much advice I received from friends who were already parents, nothing prepared me for what I'd feel once my baby was placed in my arms. That love?
My opinions, my views, my thoughts on everything shifted the day I became a mother.
I became a mother, and with that came a world of new responsibility. The life I knew before—going out for drinks every night with my friends, getting my hair done at my leisure, spending hours at the bookstore, weekly dinners out with my husband, watching movies in a theatre once a week, frequent vacations to sunny destinations where the only thing I had to care about was how many bikinis I was brining with me—those days were behind me.
A recent article written by a popular Canadian author was brought to my attention by Ali today and has caused some debate because the author left her 10 week old baby to go on vacation. I'm not a person who judges other people, especially moms, because I know there are many things I can be judged for too, and as a mother, I am all about supporting one another in our parenting decisions, whatever they may be. I do, however, feel strongly about the bond that is shared between a new baby and his or her mother, and to me, that means putting solo vacations on hold, at least for the first year.
I roll one way with the way I parent my children, and others roll the other way, and that's great. I know many moms that I respect and look up to who do things totally differently than me. They do things their way, I do things my way, and we do some things the same. It's all good.
I feel blessed to have a huge support system around me, from my parents, to my in-laws, to my grandparents. They are my children's caregivers, they're at every soccer game, and they are the faces we see around the dinner table several times a week. They help me take care of my house, and they're my "village." Being Greek is wonderful, not only for the food, or the family support, but because throughout the years it has shown me how much family is valued and respected. I know this is not unique to Greek people, not at all; but I do equate being Greek to strong family ties.
And with that, major guilt issues, of course.
I was on a plane before the age of one, and have been on countless family vacations with my parents. My mom left my sister and me for the first time when I was 18 years old (I swear there was no house party, mom!) and even then, she felt guilty. Which is probably where I get my guilt issues from. (I know, therapy, anyone?) I left my children on an over night trip when my youngest was two years old, and I felt terrible about it. Yes, my boys were fine, and yes, I ended up having fun, but going away without my children isn't somethinng I do frequently, and it's not something I would have considered before they were out of diapers.
I think it is healthy to go away a couple of times a year without the kids, and I DO, (I've been to Miami and NYC and Toronto this year without them) and I'm sure as my boys get older, I'll be able to go away for longer than three nights, but for now, this is what works for us.
Plus, I love family vacations that include my children. I want them to enjoy themeslves on the beach, swim with me in the ocean, explore new museums, and visit restaurants I love. We're a package deal! I feel that if I were to take too many vacations (different from business trips) without my children it would be selfish of me.
Yes, I believe a mother should be happy, relaxed, and have the ablity to get a away for an afternoon of shopping, dinners out, and mini-vacations, once in a while. We need to keep our sanity, after all!
But that first year of your baby's life? It goes by in the blink of an eye. Too quickly, if you ask me. I blinked, and my boys were no longer babies. I cherished those early days where even going for coffee without them hurt my heart.
To each her own in this wonderful world of motherhood... let's just remember that before we know it, our babies will be in university and off discovering the world on their own and well, that's a whole other blog post where I'm going to need a box of Kleenex to get through!